Daniel Kligerman

Walking the Earth

Magical February Night

Downtown Toronto on a February night can be a magical place.”Car!” yells the goalie, squinting into the yellow cab’s headlights. He kicks the well-used shin pad out of the path of the snow-crunching tires, and then returns it to its proper place as goal post marker.

They say kids aren’t playing street hockey anymore. Too many distractions: TV, the internet, video games. Such a shame, they say, lips pursed, head shaking.

Stumbling out of the familiar bar–so homely that last call and closing time are always a surprise–someone kicks a chunk of ice into the restless street. It takes three crisp bounces, stops, and begs to be set into motion again.

Instantly, the game begins.

Although they joke about their spontaneous game of shinny being a rip-off of a beer commercial, they somehow feel the authenticity of what is taking place. People wearily walking down the street hear the slap of sticks, the shouting
and laughing, and can’t help but smile as they realize what has happened.

Eventually, the magic fades, and the game disperses. A police cruiser passes by, and the officers suspiciously eye the players, looking for signs of unruliness.

Maybe kids are still playing street hockey after all. You just have to know where to look.

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