Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Gardens and Barns (and Happy Father’s Day!)

There are a few definitions of “garden” out there. One that I have found is: “a planned space set aside for the display and enjoyment of forms of nature.” Another is “a piece of ground or other space used as a recreation area.” The early versions of the word (circa 1300) can be traced to words that mean “enclosure.”

Armed with that knowledge, here is some solid logic for you…the backyard rink is a garden because it is:
  • A planned space set aside for the display and enjoyment of forms of nature. (Ice is a form of nature.)
  • A piece of ground or other space used as a recreation area. (Duh!)
  • Enclosed. (Either by boards, snow banks or land.)
The comparisons don’t stop there. Here is a picture from August 2005:
This man looks like he is working on a garden, and the point of this blog post is that he most certainly is. Now, this is no ordinary man, and this is no ordinary garden. This is the Rink Guru breaking ground on what would become my backyard rink.

Just as gardeners enjoy the appearance of a carefully tended flower or vegetable garden, I like the looks of a backyard rink. A smooth ice surface with snow banks around it and some kids skating on it makes for a very picturesque winter scene, and it is of course quintessentially Canadian. I’ll bet that over the years you have received at least one Christmas card showing something like this.

There are even some people who think great big arenas can be called gardens...I’m talking about Boston, Madison Square and Maple Leaf. Of course, these facilities have also been called “barns.” Whether it’s the local little arena with two rows of wooden benches or Montreal’s Bell Centre, hockey people call these places “barns.” I recently heard an NHL player in the playoffs say, “we came into their barn facing elimination,” which is proof that top hockey people are still using that term.

The Guru’s legendary backyard rink was in fact beside an honest-to-goodness barn…or at least next to where the barn used to be. (My memory is a little sketchy - either because it was so long ago or because I played too many backyard hockey games with no helmet.) What a wonderful opportunity to name a rink the “Barn Gardens!” I’ll have to settle for dubbing my rink the “Brook Garden” since it is next to a brook and, despite my best efforts, we actually spent more time skating on the brook this past winter than on the rink.

Building a backyard rink is a hobby that requires lots of work but has great rewards…just like gardening. So, here’s a special Happy Father’s Day wish to the Rink Guru, and to all the other Dads who know what it is like to stand outside in sub-zero temperatures watching water pour from a hose!

No comments:

Post a Comment