We met at the corner rink, came from every neighbourhood, and represented every age, size, ability, and pocketbook. If we could, we brought extra gear for others so that no one went without, and when they called,
“Sticks in the middle!”
We all surrendered our sticks, sliding them to the middle of the ice. One of the bigger kids separated the sticks, and you followed your stick to one side of the ice or the other.
If you wanted to play, all you had to do was put your stick in the middle.
There are no pictures of this inclusive phenomenon because, at the time, it wasn’t considered a way to think about the rights of every player; it was just the way we did it.
The story brings tears to my husband’s eyes, because, as he recalls,
It never mattered … when you were the little kid or when you were the big kid, we just knew everyone belonged there.
Who I have become was determined on cold mornings at the rink.
Maybe it is time to put our sticks in the middle again and make space for everyone to play.