A Christmas Surprise
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Student Life

A Christmas Surprise

My Dad gave my brothers and I a present that is truly priceless this year.

A Christmas Surprise
Shannon Barker

Growing up, kids have hopes, dreams, and aspirations, many of which that don’t end up coming true. However, that has never stopped us from dreaming. My brothers and I grew up playing ice hockey and our collective dream was to be in the National Hockey League (myself being the first girl ever, of course). As we got older, that dream faded and eventually dissipated when my brothers moved out and I went to college to play lacrosse. What stayed with us, through out all of the changes, was our shared love of hockey.

My oldest brother brought his wife and 6-month old daughter home from England to spend Christmas here in the states and my other brother brought his girlfriend from their apartment in New York City to celebrate the holidays with our family. I was the last to arrive home, coming from Virginia, and before I dismounted the plane at JFK, I turned my phone off airplane mode and checked my notifications. I went through Snapchat, seeing I had one from my brother. Opening it, I saw a quick picture of my front yard, but I couldn’t quite make out what he was showing. The caption, however, said it all: “front-yard rink”. It took a second, but my brain started trying to figure out what he meant by that, because there was no way it could be taken literally, right? No, of course not. He’s just joking like he usually does. The front yard must just be really icy or something. Yeah, that’s right. NOT.

So after I met my parents by the baggage claim and we started making our way to the car, I posed the question, out of nowhere, to my Dad. “So what’s this about a rink in the front yard?” And the look on his face made my heart fall, just a little. The beans had been spilled. The cat was out of the bag. He demanded to know how I knew and I told him my brother was the culprit, but it didn’t really matter anymore; I knew. So he explained it all: he built my brothers and I a rink in our front yard so we could all play together everyday while we’re home like we’ve dreamed of since before I could even walk (I was dragged in a sled on the ice before I took my first steps). This was the best surprise I think we’ve ever had, and it was totally and completely unexpected. Building a rink in our yard for the winter has always been something we’ve talked about, but it’s never gone beyond looking up how we could actually do it on the Internet. I don’t think my parents realized how happy, no, how ecstatic, a simple rectangle of ice held up by a few two-by-fours and a sheet of plastic would make (nearly) three adults.

Every true hockey player knows that behind a great player, is the pond in his backyard or the rink his Father built him. So now when you hear our names in the NHL and NWHL (wow, have the times changed) drafts next season, you’ll know it’s all thanks to the rink our Dad built us in the front yard.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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