While I was young I spent a lot of time outdoors. This meant I got dirty, a lot. Not just your average run of the mill grass stains on the knee area of your jeans dirty. More like, hey look mom! I jumped into a pile of what we thought was dirt but was manure, dirty.
I and my two brothers, Chris and Bryan (we call him Moe) were always trying something new which meant one of us would be hospitalized or injured for at least a day. We’d say things like ‘I bet we could jump over that!’ or ‘how about we sled off the roof!’ and ‘let’s cut some branches out of that tree so we can climb higher to jump down onto the trampoline’.
Other activities included ‘one pump’ bee-bee gun wars (without eye protection, yes what were we thinking!) and shooting bottle rockets at each other leaving black burns and small fires all over our yard and occasionally our pants.
Now, when a group of boys gets together things tend to get a little violent, especially if parents aren’t around. So we didn’t just play hockey. We called it ‘full contact’ Ice hockey. What did this mean? Well after about six games four of us were in stitches, and one boy who begged his father to let him come (I think his dad was an English teacher and he was familiar with Lord of the Flies) was sent home with a long gash down his nose.
That was the end of full contact ice hockey. We still played roller hockey in the summer and we would go back and skate occasionally but that was the one of the few times the reality of life set in and we all realized that we could get hurt. That is, until the next boy said, ‘Hey I have my license. Why don’t we pull you on a skateboard behind my car!’