By: Joey Battaino
Many people look at junior hockey as a game. A sport, played by 16-20 year old men from all around the world. The truth is, it's a lifestyle. This goes for the coaches (who most likely played junior hockey themselves) all the way to the bus driver. When you're a fan of the game, you choose to watch the sport. You like it, so of course you want to watch. When you work in the game, it seems like hockey chooses you. It's your calling. That's how I feel about the game. I feel like I was put on this earth to describe the action on the ice to as many people as there are that want to hear it. It's almost a spiritual feeling when you walk in that rink, whether at home or on the road, and you feel it. There's just something in that rarefied air that says something unbelievable is going to happen here tonight. Something that you've never seen before, and may never see again. That's the beauty of the game. You're guaranteed that the exact same thing that happened one night, will not happen the next. No goal is scored the same. No fight ends with the same amount of bloodshed. No shot ever comes off the stick the exact same way. The lifestyle is hard to understand for people who don't work in hockey. Missed birthdays and holidays, time spent on the bus, sometimes for hours at a time. Distance away from your loved ones. It can certainly take a toll.
How do you explain it?
I don't because I can't even begin to try.
People ask me all the time if it's worth it. I always say, "Is it worth it to chase your dream?"