Hockey and science: Danger or family fun?I spent last weekend with a group young boys intent on two things: Winning their hockey tournament and getting to the grocery store to buy baking soda and vinegar.
By: Jill Pertler, Superior Telegram
I spent last weekend with a group young boys intent on two things: Winning their hockey tournament and getting to the grocery store to buy baking soda and vinegar. I don’t know what makes a mother worry more, having a group of 12-year-olds with large sticks barreling into each other within the confines of a hockey arena or creating their own brand of science experiment.
Both activities might be cause for alarm; but if done right, they are chock full of opportunity. What mom wants to deny her child opportunities?
Hockey: It’s rough. It’s violent. The skates, helmet and all those pads cost a lot of money. People can get hurt. I’ve seen fighting, swearing and even thrown punches – and that’s just the parents.
So, why would a mom (or dad) let their child play the sport? There are the pat answers: Teamwork, good sportsmanship, athleticism, health and wellness, but all those good reasons are beside the point.
Hockey gives parents an excuse to get out during the long cold winter. It lets us rent hotel rooms and spend money and the weekend in a cold, icy location. It allows us to visit places a stone’s throw from Canada. It teaches us the financial benefits of the early bird restaurant specials in small towns where we are holed up for two-and-a-half days.
Most important, hockey – like any other sport – allows us to live vicariously through our kids; isn’t that what it’s all about, really?
All kidding aside (and you know I am kidding, right?) Hockey brings families together to have fun. That’s the part that really works for me. I am all about fun – as long as it doesn’t include any broken bones.
Science experiments, however, are another story. I always thought science was a non-controversial topic. Every school I’ve ever visited sanctions science as a legitimate area of learning. It is part of an accepted curriculum. I figured no parent could object to science.
Shows you how naive I am. The parents accompanying their children on this particular hockey weekend didn’t like the idea of kids mixing substances together with combustible results.
Of course, it didn’t help matters that my kid was the one of the main culprits and was in charge of providing mixing instructions to the group. He has a variety of “recipes” compiled from school projects and the Discovery channel, which have lead to extensive at-home science experiments. Combining baking soda and vinegar is just the beginning. We’ve dabbled in Mentos and Coke as well as harsher concoctions that perhaps it’s best not to mention here.
I found out last weekend one family’s science experiment is another person’s explosive. Parents were upset (and rightly so) that their kids were making bombs. I would have been too, if I’d ever thought about it that way when we were conducting lots and lots of science experiments (that I guess might have technically been bombs) at home.
Science can be a double-edged sword. It has its benefits – knowledge, problem-solving and dramatic chemical reactions. It can also be fraught with risk – a felony conviction for making bombs. I think we’d all agree it’s good to avoid felonies.
Still, at my house, our various science experiments have brought us together as a family to have fun. That’s the part that works for me. I am all about having fun – as long as it doesn’t include any jail time.
Hockey and science – to be or not to be? That is the (big) question, and one you better answer for yourself.
At my house we like to live life on the wild side. We’ve been known to mix Mentos and Coke on a regular Tuesday afternoon just minutes before leaving for hockey practice. I wouldn’t recommend that sort of dangerous lifestyle to anyone. But for us, it works.
Jill Pertler is a syndicated columnist and award winning freelance writer. She appreciates your comments and can be reached at email@example.com.