I was reminded of the little things yesterday. I was playing some hallway-hockey with a little buddy of mine and he was putting a few past me like the sieve that I am, when I became puzzled by one of his repeated actions. After he scored he would reach up for what I assumed was a high five. However, when I would extended my hand to reciprocate he would remonstrate by drawing his hand away, frowning and saying “Helmet.” After this happened a few times I asked him if he wanted me to wear a helmet to be the goalie? “No.” Did he want to wear a helmet? “No.” After a couple more goals, repeated gestures on his part, and me continuing to misunderstand, he threw in “We scored: helmet!” and thus I caught on. After scoring I was to lean over so that he could pat me on the top of my head (or imaginary helmet) and give it a little ruffle, just like the hockey players on TV. Of course! How could I have been so obtuse and miss the most important part of our game: not the scoring, but the proper celebration of a goal with a helmet tap. Never mind that we were technically on opposite teams, we were both needed for the goal celebration to be a success. As soon as I had caught on, he was insisting on it with every goal, and I was having a great laugh.
That night, when I was on the ice in an adult-league game, a line-mate scored a nice goal – top corner. I skated over to him as he put out his glove for a little congratulatory fist tap. I paid no attention to his glove, reached up, and ruffled his helmet.