Imagine getting a call informing you that your home rink was flooded and everything inside it was destroyed. No skates, no sticks, no nets, no zamboni, no hope of it opening for a very long time. Imagine your home filled with water up to the second floor as you climb up to the roof with a trash bag filled with all of the important things you grabbed in a hurry.
You sit on the roof and sweat, then shiver as night falls waiting for help as you look at all of your neighbors doing the exact same thing. Sitting, wondering, worrying if this nightmare will ever end. You look down at what was once your driveway and your hockey net is floating away along with your computer, your television, and your iPod. Everything that was part of your life was swept away with high winds, heavy rain, a high tide and a flood that never ended. Your school is destroyed, the mall will probably not open for 6 months, forget about the movie theatre, and it's in the next county.
The authorities finally arrive but they tell you that you must get in a boat, then on a bus and ride 7 hours, across a few states to sleep in a football stadium or a hockey rink. You share your temporary home with 25,000 other people and stand in line for hours just for a bottle of water or to simply go to the bathroom. You have no idea how the Red Sox are doing or if the Patriots won or that the NHL and the Bruins are back. At this point you don't really care. Life has just cross checked you like you've never been hit before. You think about all that is important to you and how silly it ever was to get so torqued up over lack of ice time, scoring goals or a referee's call. You say to yourself "if I ever get out of here, back home and on a pair of skates I'll be so grateful for the opportunity that I'll be the best teammate ever. I'll be the most coachable kid in the league and I'll have the utmost respect for all of the officials. I'll also be eternally thankful to the kids who read about my plight and took up a collection for me and my family so that we were able to get back on our feet, back home and eventually play the game we love."
For the victims of Hurricane Katrina this is real and they continue to need our help. Sports have always been a bridge between, social, economic and ethnic islands. As we get set to enjoy another season, lets not forget those whose season has been swept away.