My boys start hockey on Saturday. Last night, when I got home, they were cavorting about in the living room with all their pads on, their helmets. My wife had, presciently, forbidden them from bringing the sticks into the house. They were, nonetheless, alight with the prospect of becoming hockey players.
I don’t really know how this happened. I grew up in Alabama, where football is religion, and hockey is something on a channel you don’t pay for. My own father, who is Welsh, only ever played soccer, and I had that from him. The magic of the ball dancing on his foot caught my imagination and lead me to a lifetime love affair with what some call “the beautiful game.”
The bike, an awkward confluence of triangles and circles, performs this trick all on its own. In one moment you are rolling down a paved strip, a parent’s steadying hand gripping the back of your seat, and then you are flying. It’s an epiphany of movement beyond the fragile processing capacity of your young mind, and if you’re here, on RKP, reading these words, you were probably hooked in that moment.
We write about that epiphany a lot, and we glorify it, and it’s a moment and experience worthy of glorification. We ride and ride and chase that feeling of first flight, and even close approximations are worth the chase.
Of course, it’s everything that comes after that’s important. It’s how we fill our lives with the love of motion, either on a bike or on a pair of hockey skates, that leads to fitness and community and experience, the things you learn from and the things that inspire you, the way the movement informs your thinking and shapes your world view.
My boys can hardly skate. They are only just at the wobbly beginning, but as I sat there watching them dismantle the living room, I thought about the lives in front of them and wondered what things would succeed in capturing their burgeoning imaginations. I smiled because I know how good whatever it is will be when it flowers inside them, how much magic can be in that moment, and in everything that comes after.