Sunday, May 18, 2014

Wounded Warriors

On Saturday, May 17, Armed Forces Day, the USA Hockey's Warrior Sled Hockey team competed against the USA Women’s sled Hockey team.

The USA Hockey's Warrior Ice Hockey Program doesn't have an affiliation with the Wounded Warriors Project, but nonetheless is a program staffed by officers and coaches who are all unpaid volunteers who enjoy the satisfaction of giving back to the heroes who suffered severe sacrifices in the line of duty in service to our country.
On Friday night my grandson Mike was invited to play with the Wounded Warrior Sled Hockey for the Saturday and Sunday games at the Flyers Skate Zone in Voorhees. What an awesome opportunity this was for him to experience, not only to play with adult sled players, but to play side by side with the Wounded Warriors.

Heroes' Welcome
As he arrived at the ice rink, in the lobby was a receiving line throughout the lobby from the door to the ice, called the Hero’s Welcome, manned by Warriors' Watch Riders.

The Grammy in me wants to effusively wax on about how much Mike amazes us every time he breeches another plateau in his journey, and he has again this year - the kid, that sixteen years ago, doctors and therapists said he might not ever walk, talk or see after his head injury. While Mike's journey, is truly a testament to faith, persistence and a united warrior-like group effort to not accept what ‘might’ be, this piece should be about the Warriors who sacrificed in service to their country.

They signed up for their service, but they sure didn’t sign up for the life altering damage to their bodies and minds so many have suffered with little or no supportive and wraparound services they and their families found were lacking upon return home.

Last month, I wrote about the USA Disabled Hockey festival held in Marlborough, MA, and briefly mentioned the Wounded Warriors Standing amputee team, where they had a one armed goalie. The Wounded Warrior Sled Hockey team also played at the festival, and some team members also participated in the Sochi Paralympics on the USA team.   By the way, the USA men’s team took the Gold Medal, over Russia (silver) and Canada (bronze), just sayin’, worthy opponents, but the USA prevailed and were the first sled hockey team to win back-to-back Gold Medals.
2014 USA Paralympic Sled Hockey Gold Medal team
As exciting as it is for Mike to be honored being invited to play this weekend, and he did understand the magnitude of such an invitation, the basis of this site is stories about “The life we claim we didn’t sign up.” While nobody signs up for a disability or different ability, it happens. What happens after that is what we must focus on and craft the process of moving on with life, even if it is the one we didn't sign up for.
Please visit these sites. Thank our people in the military for their service and sacrifice.
Roundup of the weekend's games:
  • Game 1 - 5-3, Women's team
  • Game 2 - 4-3, Women's team
  • Game 3 - 3-1, Warriors.
Wounded Warriors & USA Hockey Women's Sled Hockey teams.

Sunday, May 11, 2014


I was once asked,  ‘What’s your greatest accomplishment? What are you most proud of?”
My immediate response was, “my marriage”.  The person asking the question responded, “Wow, your face really lights up when you say that.”

I never really looked at my marriage as an “accomplishment”, but in the grand scheme of things, compared to what some other people experience in marriage, we have been very lucky and blessed that ours seems to have been relatively effortless. It’s not that there have never been bumps in the road and rough patches where you look at one another and think quietly but smarmily to yourself, ”GAWD, I can’t stand that you are breathing the same air as me.” That is the reality of what happens when you live with someone. A person can not share a bed and a bathroom with the same person seven days a week for years and expect to always think they are the best thing to come along since unlimited texting.  We’re only human. And let’s be honest, only one of us is scrubbing the toilet and shower!

There is some personal sacrifice in every relationship and a great marriage is no exception. The ‘rough’ patches were brief and ended up being the glue that we didn’t know we needed at the time. Stuff happens, time might heal, but moving forward as a team and a united front is one of hallmarks of our marriage. It hasn’t been hard.
We were children when we got married. At 18 what could we possibly have known what life had ahead for us? What did we know about real life? When it’s said, “ignorance is bliss” I think it was our ignorance that became our bliss. 

On another occasion, a friend whose marriage was coming apart and soon ended asked, “Don’t you wonder just how long it’s going to last?” Well, no, it never really crossed my mind that being married was on some kind of time clock.

Without knowing it early on, we nurtured our marriage like a family member. We ‘took care’ of each other and each other’s feelings. We were blessed with good health for the first thirty years and when illness paid us a couple visits, we took turns in stepping up and taking over the other’s role of caretaker, without pause.

Marriage is never a 50/50 proposition. If you’re lucky it can be 60/40. Sometimes, you get the 60. Sometimes, you give the 60. Then there are the times when it is 90/10, hopefully those times are few and far between, but it happens. Nobody is exempt.
With our 41st anniversary right under our noses, we both expressed that saying we’re married for forty-one years sounds a lot longer than it feels.
Awesome, and feels like 50/50!