How should I start this off? Cancer sucks? Cancer bites? Cancer is horrible? There are many other choice words I could use, but then this post would be deemed rated ‘R’. Either way, you or someone you know has probably experienced some of the effects of cancer. Whether it be surviving or succumbing to this terrible disease it affects millions of people each year both directly and indirectly.
Before I even get into the meat and potatoes of this post, let me tell you, cancer has had a great impact on me personally. Like most people it has impacted it is rarely in a positive manner. Even though the disease sucks, one positive thing has come from it. An ability to gather people together for a common cause, helping those who are literally in the fight for their lives.
I have had the opportunity to blend two things in my life, cancer and hockey together in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Annually on a weekend in mid-April people come together to play hockey and support the fight against cancer. Even though there are tears shed, it is by far the most fun I have ever had in my experience with the sport of hockey.
Not only are the founders great people, but their story and their passion to create something bigger than themselves has driven many people involved in the hockey world to continue to come back. Over the course of the years, the tournament, aptly called ‘Hockey for Life,’ has raised thousands of dollars for families fighting cancer and the American Cancer Society.
This tournament has touched many lives, not just those fighting cancer, but the hockey players it draws. I have met several great people through this tournament and have created friendships that have lasted years. I have been on winning teams and losing teams, but in the end it really is a fun weekend. Every year the anticipation builds, comes to a climax when we see old friends and catch up over a few brews and some quality hockey. Then you feel a sense of sadness when the weekend comes to a close and you travel back home. The entire trip home all you can think of is the anticipation for the following year’s tournament.
Everything about the weekend is done professionally, from the choice in rinks, to silent auction items, everything is done first class. There is obviously a lot that goes on behind the scenes that makes this weekend special. I was fortunate enough to attend for 7 straight years. Last year was my first year that I was unable to make it and I am not sure how this year will fare with some recent (to be announced in a later blog post) changes in my personal life.
Maybe you cannot make either, but go to the website, check it out and at the very least, spread the word about this great event. If you feel inclined, make a donation. Who knows, maybe this will resonate with you and you will start your own version of ‘Hockey for Life’ in your town.
To put it more simply than I could in an entire blog post, here is an excerpt from the website:
You have to be there to “get it.” This event is truly remarkable, and you really have to come and take part in it to understand it. I have never been a part of a sports team or any sporting event that is as unique and as awesome as this one. Thanks to my brothers and sisters that have been part of this event – you all have made this what it is! Thank you for all of your support, love for others, and love of the best sport ever created…