Ever since the special inaugural season of the Vegas Golden Knights hockey team ended just a few months ago, my four older boys have been quite obsessed with the sport. They’ve played football and soccer but lately have taken up to ice skating with hopes to play some hockey here soon.
Like many Saturday nights these days, I took them to the free skate at the Las Vegas Ice Center. It’s quite a deal! They have their own skates so it’s only $8 for two hours of skating. My older boys are 15, 13, 11, and 10. Even though none of them are very vocal about their interest in girls, I know they have interests. And on Friday and Saturday nights, they turn the lights down and put on the strobe lights and lasers and mirror ball. Pretty sure that’s all part of their motivation to go.
Tonight it was particularly busy, so I didn’t get a lot of time to zero in on my boys because I kept losing them in the crowd. Maybe with winter and Christmas around the corner, people are feeling the vibe of ice skating. It didn’t used to be this busy.
So I had to just observe people in general, which is something I often enjoy doing anyway. I just find it relaxing to watch people and try to figure out their story and what may be going on in their life. Because my filter lately is kind of tinted with the newfound energy for helping men restore their masculinity, I watched the men and boys, just to check in and see what masculinity looks like at the local ice skating rink on a Saturday night.
Here are a few of the ALPHA things that I saw:
There were 6 year old boys that you can tell have been skating a long time. Maybe they have a Polish or Scandinavian last name. Their dads are probably extreme hockey fans, even former players. They zip around so fast that they create perceived-but-never-real danger for other people, snaking in front of the slower kids using the plastic walker-looking thing to skate behind. These little short little zipsters zooming around on their skates being little badasses going a hundred miles an hour were so impressive. It seems these boys felt so sure of themselves, proud of their abilities and they were living purely in the moment.
The teenagers were often bunched up in groups of three to an awkward five. Most of these guys were just following along. Listening to the others. Trying hard to look like they had important stuff going on with their phones. Texting instead of talking. Looking down instead of laughing. The ALPHA kids in this age were also speeding around; testing their hard stops. Learning new moves, sometimes alone. Laughing at each other, even when they fell. Helping people up. Going slow for their less-experienced friends. They all seemed to be pretty intentional about what they were wearing and how they looked. One kid had on some huge gloves. At first I thought he looked like a pansy who’s mom sent him with these gloves to keep his hands warm. They I saw his speed up and do all kinds of fancy moves. Those gloves were armor. He stood out. He got attention. But acted as if he didn’t even notice or care. Some kids were there in these tight jogger pants that I thought looked like the boy version of yoga pants. Other kids in jeans. Practical, warm, thicker. Some of these boys were obviously interested in the girls there, trying not to look foolish but laughing at themselves when they did. The ones who were smiling were talking to girls. Wonder which came first?
The older dudes. Most of these were dads. Some were there helping their children learn to skate. Others were there with their woman, skating around hand in hand…but slow; talking to each other, probably about important life decisions and where they stand at home. Some were there in the bleachers, waiting for their kids, hoping for a clear shot for another epic photo. They smiled at them and coached them when they came around to the entrance to take a break off the ice. Other dads were there helping the smallest of kids, maybe even 3 years old. They were feeding them. Buying the pizza slices and M&M’s for half time.
But part of me sees that every dude there was an ALPHA. Why? Because he showed up. He went there, having made a decision to do something instead of nothing. Strapping metal blades to his feet to move himself across ice. For fun. That’s pretty badass, if you ask me.
Take Home Points:
- Practice until you’re fearless.
- Mess up until you’re not afraid of it.
- Be proud of your abilities.
- Live purely in the moment.
- Go fast.
- Learn new moves.
- Don’t be afraid to go it alone.
- Help people when they fall.
- Look good.
- Teach others.
- Protect them.
- Feed them.
- Be their biggest fan.
Gentlemen, there are opportunities everywhere. Get up and put your damn pants on. Get out there. Even if your injured knees make you afraid like me, just go. Just go spend time with people in your life who DO want to go around and around in a circle listening to Coldplay and Drake. There’s an opportunity tomorrow and the next day and the one after that. Seize those moments, bro. Alpha up.