"Only" ice hockey
Jääkiekko ja meidän näkövinkkelistä katsotuna tietysti juuri SaiPa herättää suuria tunteita ja aina silloin tällöin joku osaa pukea nuo tunteet sanoiksi. SaiPa sai kuluvalla viikolla hienon kirjeen, jonka seura jakoi Facebookissa. Jotta suurempi keltamusta joukkio saa nauttia kirjoituksen tuomista tunnetiloista julkaisemme saman kirjoituksen englanniksi käännettynä.
Hi boys …more specifically Our Boys!
Having once again seen everything here at work during these grey November days, it occured to me to write you a letter. To give you a glimpse of yourselves and the whole team that is SaiPa from the other side of the plexi glass. Don't ever let anyone downplay your hobby, your job – It's not ”just hockey”, just guys chasing a black piece of rubber or whatever naysayers might claim. It never is.
You see, I work at a hospital. Another grey, rainy autumn is behind us. I have again seen and experienced a lot, both the joys and sorrows of life, death included...Most of all the will to survive and the will to win, to keep on living. Maybe it's not immediately apparent what this has to do with you, Our Boys.
It has a lot to do with you.
You guys live and take part in many moments within the walls of so many buildings. The hospital is one of those buildings. I've seen so many instances where the relatives and friends of our patients have brought in all kinds of gadgets or contraptions, so that they could watch the game together on a screen, because coming to Kisapuisto in person has not been possible. I've had so many conversations during late night shifts or the earliest morning shifts about how last night's game went, everything that happened...stories from many years ago, tales from SaiPa's past and present.
Unbridled joy for great triumphs, for giving it all you've got, ”it's the little things” like some would say. But for a lot of people, for example in our building, it's definitely not a little thing.
To momentarily forget the sickness, the pain, the sorrow, the fear and live in the moment by your side and stand firmly behind Our Boys until the end. ”Once in yellow and black, always in yellow and black” means a lot. It's not just words in the wind. Even though I'm still fairly young, working as a nurse has made me see this with my own eyes. You're also in our break room chats during the lunches and cups of coffee. We nurses keep the conversation going amongst ourselves as well.
A job as mentally taxing as this requires an ultimate relaxant during our free time, and what could be better than game day. The great feeling after a hard day's labor when you can let your proverbial hair down, go for a jog and get ready for the game...filled with anticipation. The trip to Kisapuisto with the kids and their friends is such fun, every time. All of the butterflies in their stomachs! Of course as far we adults are concerned, we have to get to the hall ridiculously early just so that the kids could get their spots by the ”box” in the standing room fan section. It's always so important for them to get there near ice level so that they could see the players up close. We might get a bit cold while we wait for the opening puck drop but it's worth it to see the smiles and the intensity of living in the moment with the little ones before the game starts.
Ice hockey. SaiPa. What else would you need at that age? The joy that sports can bring, the role models and idols that they can look up to, the dreams they might have of one day being on the other side of the plexi glass...To be like Our Boys are right now.
One of the definite highlights comes at the end of the game when you salute the crowd. The kids are waiting with shinging eyes for the handshakes to be done with so you'd skate over to say hi and lift your sticks...Maybe their favourite player happens to wave right by the spot they're in. The happiness knows no bounds at that point. ”I'm SURE he saw me there!” On the drive home there's no chance we sitting up front get to say a word, because the hooting and hollering on the back seat is constant!
Naturally we watch all the away games on the television, often with some of the neighbours' kids sitting in line on the sofa as well. At times they seem so frustrated, when someone points out that it doesn't look like there are SaiPa fans in the away arena tonight. ”They're not feeling like no one is cheering for them, right?” ”That's not fair, all those fans of the other team are yelling so loudly and SaiPa doesn't have anyone there!” It's such a crisis for the little guys to feel that you have to play without your home crowd! But that's where I've felt what I hope you feel as well: Wherever you happen to be playing, your home crowd is always with you, one way or another. Even if we can't physically be there to cheer or beat a drum, we'll stand behind you until the end.
Thousands and thousands of us are there, some at home, some in a hospital, behind the screens rooting you towards victory!
For some those are the first memories they have of their earliest childhood years. For some they may be among the last moments before they pass on. Either way, they are just as valuable. You make and give us those moments.
So before each away game begins...
Close your eyes and ears from the world around you...
Imagine you're at Kisapuisto...
Hear the roar of your crowd...
Feel its love and belief in you...
Feel the hunger of the kids watching the game who want to become hockey players...
Remember that you're never alone. Never.
Play on the road as you would at home, because the faces roaring at Kisapuisto will be the same ones behind those screens.
Our slogan, ”Aina tukena” (”Always supporting”, you get the idea)...Such slogans have received true meaning during the years. Our Boys. Our indeed. SaiPa is honestly one of the few things that brings people together with such force in the city of Lappeenranta.
I'm wondering if I should sign this letter with my own name...or with the names of my kids, or my patients...But I understand that the message doesn't need a single signature. This is on behalf of us all.
~ WE LOVE YOU ALL