Love of my life

Yesterday was St Valentine’s Day and Hubbie and I exchanged cards like we always did. After he left for work, I turned on TV and saw a women’s ice hockey match on the screen.

I used to look forward to every winter Olympic game, especially ice hockey games because I played the sport as a hobby. However this Olympic Game in Pyeongchang, I am not so sure. The reason for my hesitation is not because this game is riddled with too much of the political nuances but because of the heartache I feel every time I watch an ice hockey match. In some way, I could say that ice hockey was love of my life. It wasn’t just a mere hobby but the sport was my obsession.

Of course, my Hubbie is always the most important love of my life and because of his blessing and support, I could enjoy this beautiful sport for a long time.

What a fun, what a joy it was…

Two seasons ago, I decided to give up the sport and it was not easy. Even though I knew I was becoming too old for this amazing but also demanding game, the reality was hard to swollow.

Despite the doubts crept into my head every time I found myself not being able to keep up during training – ‘Am I too old for this?’ ‘Will I bust my knee if I go on too hard?’ ‘Will the coach give me less ice time because I look tired?’, I wanted to carry on as long as possible. It is true that the sport did help prolonging my “youth”. I enjoyed being a part of the team and my teammates’ friendship and encouragement was another reason why I wanted to hang on to the sport. A youthful atmosphere of the changing room helped me to fool myself that I was younger than what I really was, and it was addictive.

The thing I still regret about my behaviour towards the end of my player career was how jealous I was to some of my teammates. Without fully understanding what I was becoming of, I complained to the coach incessantly about my place in the game and the team. I must have been such a pain in the butt.

It is a cruel blow but the decision time arrives eventually to anyone who plays competitive team sports. If you can no longer keep up with the play and your teammates physically, the time is up. It really doesn’t matter how much you love the sport because the writing is on the wall.

Since that June, my hockey sticks have been shut away in a cupboard for good but I do miss ice hockey and thinking about it still gives me a tight chest. It feels like if I am mourning for a lost love. Remembering how great I felt sprinting down the ice and chasing a puck. It was a pure joy!

Now, I ponder if I will ever find another love like ice hockey. Is there any activity which can ignite my passion like the game could? I am really not sure…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

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