Yesterday tickets became available for Naomi and I to attend the Dallas Stars' opening pre-season game. They defeated the St. Louis Blues 6 to 5. It wasn't pretty. Some of the goals that St. Louis scored appeared preventable, and we hope Goaltender Marty Turco finds his grove really soon. Steve Ott was up to his usual shenanigans, fighting with an opposing player early on; but the passion with which he plays is still inspiring. Turco was replaced in the second period by Goalkeeper Mike Smith, who who held the Blues to only one more goal the rest of the game as the Stars continued to score. It was a thrill!
The Stars also debuted their new jerseys last night (new design and all black for home games). I do not care for them as much. I liked that their previous jersey design was in the shape of a star all over the shirt. Their distinction is gone now, with the shirts more closely resembling the rest of the NHL teams' jersey design. I suppose it will grow on me over time.
Quite possibly one of the more refreshing aspects of attending the hockey game was that it is fun that has no immediate correlation to other aspects of life. Oh given time I suppose I'll find a deeper meaning behind much of what I saw and experienced. But for now, it was fun with friends cheering on my team, cheering with the crowd and refreshment away from more heavy responsibilities.
If I were to classify the refreshing aspect of it, I imagine it would fit into the category of "sabbath." The principle of Sabbath is not merely a day set aside for the Lord in the Old Testament; and it most certainly is not merely Sunday at church, though it can include it. Sabbath is the manner in which one sets aside normal work to enjoy the goodness and blessings of God. This could be demonstrated by special days in the OT, but also had "sabbath" feasts and "sabbath" years in the Old Testament as well. Those that are legalistic about keeping "the sabbath" would do well to testify about that last time they skipped work for an entire year, trusting God to provide for their needs in the meantime. No, Sabbath is much more. So much more in fact that the writer of Hebrews will eventually tell us that only Christ can provide true Sabbath rest.
In light of the above mentioned purpose of Sabbath (setting aside routine work to enjoy the goodness and blessings of God), Dallas Stars hockey is a means by which "sabbath" is entered into, at least for me. I enjoyed the fun of a competitive sport in which players exert the precision, pace and passion of an intense contest. I enjoyed fulfilling company with friends and allowed the daily guard to drop. I did indeed experience an aspect of "sabbath" at American Airlines Center, and ironically was blessed with greater peace while the fights broke out on the ice.