Friday, March 20, 2009

Number 40

Playing pee-wee hockey is a rite of passage for most of my male cousins. Matt, 24, has played competitive hockey since he was seven years old. Today he plays up to six times a week in a local New Jersey league.

At the age of 16, he was drafted to Guelph, Canada to play while living with a host family. After high school, he moved to Winston Salem, North Carolina where he played with a semi-professional league for three years.

Hockey runs deep within my cousin and the rest of the family. My family has dreamed of producing a great atheletic player since he was a baby. His father named him Matt Vincent Puntureri so his initials would be MVP. Now laced up in shiny new skates and gloves, Matt's dream to take another tentative step into playing major league hockey is almost a reality. There is talk about him being drafted to play in Germany or The Netherlands over the summer.

Skates scraping on ice is a sound innate to my family, but not to me. I'm brushing up on the rules and tactics of the game before watching him play on Sunday. From what I'm told drinking lumpy hot chocolate and the smell of cheap hot dogs smothered in warm ketchup also part of the fervor. Especially when its enjoyed among my dutiful aunts, uncles, and cousins who will be shivering and cheering in the stands next to me.