By: Robert Martini
As is the case with most red-blooded males that grow up in Canada, as a boy, I dreamt of nothing but playing hockey. I was privileged enough to get to do that for a long time. I have scored goals, earned assists, and much to the dismay of my mother, Elizabeth, even engaged in the odd round of rough-housing. Hockey has provided me with some of my fondest memories. I just never thought one of them would come during a street hockey game on a basketball court in Cebu, Philippines.
At one point during our game with the kids from the Pandoo Club, a health and education center run by Pandoo Foundation in Cebu, I had the bright yellow, fuzzy tennis ball on my stick, and saw a young boy standing in front of the net. I had seen this play out hundreds of times since I started playing around age four. Three simple steps. Pass. Shoot. Score.
As the young boy smacked the ball past the goaltender and into the makeshift net, a look of absolute elation came across his face. If one of my university teammates had dedicated as much of their effort to a high five as this shoeless young boy did, they probably would have ripped my arm off.
To see the game that I love bring so much joy to someone that grew up so differently than I did, and to see a game so far removed from a place like the Philippines be an outlet for kids to be active and healthy was incredibly gratifying for me. I just am thankful that life allows me to share these moments with others, even if it’s a scenario that my wild imagination could never dream up!