Lighting The Lamp

“Lighting the lamp” is a hockey term, it refers to the red light behind the goal that is lit when a goal is scored. Every hockey fan knows what it means and knows it’s a good thing.

Last night around 7, during our “Halloween Candy Hangover Hockey” event at the Glendale rink, I noticed a kid quietly hanging out at the edge of the action. He was five or six, and was watching the inline hockey intently.

“Hey man, do you want to play?”, I asked him.

He didn’t answer, but he also neither ran nor looked away.

I pushed a little, “Do you want to play some hockey? We’ve got a stick for you, it’s no problem.”

He still didn’t answer, but looked ready to give it a shot. We approached him and handed him a too big but as close as we could get stick. Being that he was a little kid, unaccompanied by an adult after dark in a public park, we asked:

“Are your parents here? Do they know where you are?”

“Yes,” he answered to both questions.

His folks were nowhere in sight, but may have been in the area.

We have currently set up shop for our hockey development project in Glendale’s (AZ) Bonsall Park. The park is a common resting place for homeless people in the area. Our kid was wearing worn but warm and mostly clean clothes and wasn’t wearing a “homeless” sign, but it doesn’t really matter where he lives.

So we got him set up with a stick and took him out on the rink between games to take some shots on one of the goalies.

He took three shots on the goalie. Our goalie made two incredible saves, his third shot hit the post.

The fourth shot went in, and that’s when the lamp lit. It wasn’t the goal light, though, it was the kid’s face. He looked like he won a million dollars, maybe two million.

It was time to start the next game, so we made sure to invite him back. We told him to be sure to bring his parents, and we’d see if we could set him up with hockey gear. He pointed at another kid’s skates. “Sure, we’ll see if we can get you some skates,” we told him.

That’s when the lamp lit again.

After the little guy left the rink, he shot the puck around with our youngest son for another half hour or so until our son was due back on the rink. He left without a further word after he put his stick back where it belonged.

I hope we see him again and I hope he brings his folks. I wish we’d gotten his name or at least taken a photo.