For years, my friend Steve would ask, when did you stop caring, as I let in another goal during pick-up hockey.
Steve, it was probably as an 11-or-12-year-old when I went to Quebec City to play in the Quebec International Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament.
Fellow Brantford, Ontario (that’s in Canada) native, Wayne Gretzky had dazzled the crowds in Quebec a couple of years earlier, so we showed up to a professional ice rink packed with thousands of fans expecting Gretzky-magic from the Brantford boys.
I was awful. I started in goal, let in four goals in two periods, got pulled, and we ended up losing 6-o in our first game. Tournament over.
I didn’t care.
The train ride, the staying with the people who spoke some weird version of French, drunk parents quaffing roadside liquor shots in -20C weather as we went down the fancy snow slide outside the fancy hotel, it was all great, and I decided I wasn’t going to make the NHL after all.
The Quebec Produce Marketing Association has signed on as an official sponsor the tourney this year, to highlight the role of fresh fruits and vegetables in an active lifestyle, which is great, but I’m not sure anyone will care.