By Connor Jones
On a cold Sunday morning in November, Grandpa and Grandma Jones pick Kel and I up from our house in Montrose.
Our cousin Kaylee is in the back seat, and us two dweebs join her. We had a semi-final tournament game in Castlegar at the Pioneer rink.
Kayl was on our team, and Grandpa was head coach.
Since my Mom and my Dad couldn’t come watch us play, Mom sent us with a couple blue Gatorades as a treat. We never had Gatorade, ever, and you’ll know why in a few sentences.
My Mom always told us when we begged her, “You don’t need that crap, it’s just sugar.”
Now that I had one, I was protecting it like it was the Holy Grail.
I thought my teammates were going to steal it, or somebody would spill it.
I left it underneath the bench near my boots, hidden so nobody could touch or see it. Being eight years old, I was much more focused on the Gatorade than the hockey game occurring in 20 minutes.
It was all I could think about and I couldn’t wait to drink it on the bench. Kel was treating his drink normally and had already sucked down half of it.
I was saving mine for when I really needed it, like between shifts or something, or after I scored a goal. Of course, I was thinking I would become super human after a sip, exactly like off of Space Jam and, ‘Mike’s Special Stuff.’
We hit the ice and I can barely leave my Gatorade on the bench to warm up with the team. I’m just hanging out near the blue line in case anyone comes by and takes it.
Gramps barks at me, “Connor, go skate around, warm up!”
I listen to him, but keep my eyes peeled on our bench just in case he or some stranger walks by and attempts to drink it.
The first period is going by as well as you thought it would. I’ve never changed faster, skated harder towards the bench, and been less focused on the game itself.
I take a careful tiny sip every time I get back. It’s about half gone after the first period.
As I start the second, I take a little longer shift, remembering that I am in a somewhat important game.
When I skate back to the bench this time my holy grail is empty.
I go nuts, “Ahhh!” I roar as I stomp around. “Who drank my Gatorade!” I also yell at the top of my lungs.
My Grandpa looks at me like what in the hell. “What are you doing?”
“Somebody! Drank… My Gatorade!”
I was going berserk, walking up and down the bench with the empty bottle waving it in my teammates faces like a sword.
I miss my next shift and only four players went out there.
Gramps was trying to coach and also control his crazy grandson.
“Connor! What are you doing?” He yells at me again.
“Somebody! Drank it!” I sputter back.
“Who cares, get out there!” He shouts at me and waves towards the ice.
“No!” I scream as I walk past him, he must have thought to himself, ‘Jesus, this kid will never be a hockey player.’
I walk past the other teams’ bench, onto the cement and into our locker room.
I just sit there and cry, after about one minute I realize what I’ve done and cry even harder. Mom is going to kill me.
No one looked or talked to me after the game and the car ride home was a quiet one. No ACDC or Beach Boys on the stereo like usual.
I barely let the van stop when we pull into our drive way as I zing the sliding door open and run straight to my room, crying once again.
Mom was pretty calm for once, and she said I should write a letter to my Grandpa to say sorry. I did, and he still has it. I apologized and said I’d never leave the ice ever again.
My goodness, the lesson? Could be a few. I’d like to keep it simple though, don’t ever leave the ice. Unless you get thrown or kicked out. Then you can go.