Friday, December 21, 2007

A Canadian tradition that is becoming more of a memory

Roy MacGregor has penned (well most likely it was done on a word processing program) a farewell of sorts to a fine Canadian tradition, the backyard rink.

Featuring perhaps the most famous of backyard rink architects of our times, Walter Gretzky as his central figure of the finely crafted article, the one time dream of almost every Canadian child seems to be more of a curiosity these days, victim to warmer temperatures more than anything else.

Gretzky's fabled backyard rink has been featured before, Dr. David Suzuki once had plans to feature it as part of his program of information on global warming, the premise being that today there may never be another Gretzky learning his craft on a backyard rink.

It's a theme that MacGregor expands on the Gretky Coliseum and recounts other rinks that have served their time as incubators of a Canadian dream.

The cold bite of a cloudless night almost within sight with each story that he weaves into his essay.

There are still a few holdouts across the land, tireless in their preparation, dedicated in their maintenance. Fewer and fewer in numbers, perhaps victims of a more regimented schedule for our youth.

There are now too many diversions for the young, besides school, hockey or basketball practices, computer and video games and all the other things that can sidetrack a young mind. The quaint idea of spending hour upon hour on a backyard rink, skating, skating and skating some more seems rather steeped in the past.

When you read the MacGregor article: When backyard dreams melt, you realize that we're losing an important part of how we deal with our winters, a once upon a time place where family and friends would make the best of the cold and snowy northern climes.

Times change, but with fond memories of my own backyard rink still somewhere in the back of my mind, sometimes the change is not always for the better.

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