Updated: Dec 26, 2018
Sports, especially girls hockey, curling and even pickleball, play a pivotal role in several poignant stories about my late son, Adam Prashaw, in Soar, Adam, Soar.
In his still Rebecca Adam years, the minor seizures that appeared at the age of five dissipated by 10 when she announced she wanted to play hockey in Kanata. She loved being the keeper for the Nepean Hotspurs Soccer Club. Why was I surprised then, when after the first hockey practice, she walked out of the dressing room hauling the heavy goalie pads?
She clued in to the fact that the goalie crease is where the action is. It may have been a friendly house league level of play, but Rebecca Adam was fiercely competitive. She wanted to stop every shot for her Kanata teammates. She was not happy when she allowed a goal. By the time she was a teen and a good height for her age, she filled up most of the net when she wore all the goalie equipment. Despite her size, she was agile, shooting a leg out or doing the splits for a spectacular save. Sitting in the stands, we could hear her shouting encouragement at her teammates. She was flat on the ice as much as on her skates, scrambling from post to post or on her back, lifting a goalie pad in the air to block a sure goal.
Life was pitch perfect between the pipes. My Adam enjoyed playing more than watching sports except when his idol, Carey Price, was in the nets for Montreal Canadiens. His apartment was a mix of Batman and Habs swag. Adam's last birthday would be with me at Jack Astor's bar, Adam in his Price jersey, I wearing Ottawa Senators colours.
"....I played sports and coached baseball, but I was instantly smitten by girls’ hockey, certainly this house league version in Ottawa in which we immersed ourselves. Once, Rebecca stopped forty shots in a heartbreaking 2–1 loss. I headed to the dressing room, wondering how the girls were handling the defeat. I heard hooting and hollering, laughing, comments about the ref, about a boy, about the parents in the stands. The girls were oblivious to the loss. Did they know that they had lost? I wasn’t sure. Some didn’t seem to know the final score. Regardless, they were over it. And Rebecca was in the middle of the dressing room taking off the goalie pads, regaling everyone with a funny story from the game..." (Chapter 2, A "No Brainer")
Unknown to anyone at the time, what was learned in the goalie crease would tutor my kid for life’s later adversities when the epilepsy returned with a vengeance and he kept getting up off the canvas. Dave Henderson, father to Canada's star golfer, Brooke Henderson, and a goalie himself, tells the story of Brooke learning her grit and nerves of steel on the putting green from when she was goalie for the Smith Falls Cubs. The pressure of the game on the goalie's shoulders. The physical and mental stamina carrying the pads and team to and from the arena. Here's one of my kid's many Facebook posts that appear in the book
Bekkaa December 12, 2009
"First of many hockey games this weekend+monday tonight! lol : this should be fun! "
Curling was the sport of choice for Adam's sister, Lauren Mann. Adam was so proud of Lauren making it to the Scotties national championship in Moose Jaw, skip for Team Quebec. Not happy with a rookie 4-7 record that year, Lauren was headed to the provincial championship final on that "cruel weekend" in January 2016 when the call came on her brother's drowning. Lauren had to leave the team. They lost. But there was unfinished business for Lauren as she returned as third on Eve Bélisle's rink for the 2017 Scotties in St. Catharines. They ran off 7 straight wins for a 7-4 finish, good enough for playoffs in almost every Scotties but that year, given the tough field.
" At the 2017 Scotties, a few journalists will tell the remarkable story of Lauren’s curling, her brother Adam, and heart recipient John Dickhout, who, with his wife, Lynn, joins us in St. Catharines for the Scotties Tournament of Hearts. Lauren tells CBC reporter Devin Heroux that the pain is still very real: “The positive I was able to take out of it was really focusing on the curling. Because I know I didn’t want to live the rest of my life saying I never came back to the Scotties because of that." (Chapter 19, Fragments)
In an exceptional two-minute video that airs nationally. TSN shows John cheering in the stands for Quebec, “the two families close, brought together by a man [Adam] he never met, who will always be a part of him.” The video ends with Lauren throwing a stone that slides across the heart symbol on the ice. TSN’s Vic Rauter reports that our family is willing to share the story to encourage organ donation, “to help some other John." Pass the kleenex!
Pickleball? Well, that's in the book, California and Ottawa stories, okay? Pre-orders are at www.rickprashaw.com or your favourite other book places online ($22). Dundurn Press publishes Soar, Adam, Soar on Feb. 2 in Canada and Feb. 26 in the United States. I have added on my author site four more reviews by Tomson Highway, Colleen Humbert, Kat Powderly and Jennifer Ball. Eight events confirmed are there too for the start of a book tour.
Christmas can be a tough time for my kindred friends mourning the permanent loss of loved ones. Yet gratitude continues to surprise me too, May everyone discover life's true blessings in these holidays. #transgender #epilepsy #beadonor #girlshockey