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Come Out And Play submitted 2009.05.12 03:28 PM by Fallen viewed 1926 times

"This was written for a contest elsewhere. I find myself thinking of how real this is to me as my son gets ready to go away to school this fall."
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In the bottom of his hockey bag there are three rolls of tape. One is partially used from the last time the stick needed a new cover.

"Along the bottom edge first then wrap from tip to heel to reduce drag on the ice."

The other two are unopened and will most likely stay that way for a long time. They are basic black as he has long outgrown the gimmicky colors. The zebra stripes, the skull and crossbones design and even the pink that they all used after that other kid scored a hat trick in a tournament.

"Another trophy for the shelf."

These three sit silently now that the season is over. Down at the bottom of the bag, next to a few old pairs of laces that have long since snapped, yet never thrown away. Sharing space with skates whose blades are slowly forming a light film of rust.

"Wipe the blades off before you put them away."

The tape and the gear sit quietly waiting in the bag they have always called home. The bag that now sits on the back porch, no longer being dragged in and out of trunks or shoved into busses. On the porch next to sticks that wait to one day fire a slap shot toward a net.

"Keep it a few feet off the ice, not too high, not too low."

This equipment, a pile of plastic and foam, which was once his protector and defined him, is left behind. This unworn armor and quiet weapons sit and unknowingly join a silent brotherhood of catcher's mitts with drying palms and half deflated basketballs.

Seasons come to an end, leagues become outgrown, and children go off to college. When they go they leave behind memories of seven A.M practices, parents who cheered them on, and the things that shared their playtime.

Things like these three rolls of tape that quietly wait for the chance that they might once again come out and play.

rating: 6

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