Posted in Miscellany

Showing Girls Strength and Grace

At the end of last week, we had 2 special dinner guests. My daughters were star-struck. One could barely speak; the other requested signatures on a notebook, origami birds, and a length of fabric.

This is the way it came about. I was ordering tickets for Canadian Women’s Hockey day, and got to chatting with Lexie, the person organizing it. To my delight, she plays in the CWHL (Canadian Women’s Hockey League) on our own Toronto Furies. (In case you’ve forgotten, the Furies are the Greco-Roman goddesses of vengeance.)

One of her teammates, Tessa Bonhomme, is on Battle of the Blades this season, a Canadian tv show that pairs up a hockey player with a figure skater, the prize money going to charity. It’s not easy for someone used to battling a puck in full gear to leap into the air with no protection at all–a lot of bruising is involved.

As Lexie mentioned being new to Toronto and living not far from us I thought, Oh wouldn’t it be wonderful if my girls could meet her, and maybe she could use a home cooked meal. So, though my kids later thought I was crazy, I sent an email inviting her and a guest.

She accepted and brought another teammate. That is how we ended up having dinner with Alexandra (Lexie) Hoffmeyer, a smart quiet woman in her early 20’s who organizes Canadian Women’s Hockey Day, and 3 time Olympian Sami Jo Small, a smart gregarious woman in her mid 30’s.

My daughters got to have an evening with young women who are strong of body and mind, who use all their faculties in their chosen professions. We are privileged this way because Canada has viable women’s hockey, which ought to get more attention then it does yet. Though professional sports have far more to offer male athletes, it’s a start.

Unlike many male athletes, who are recruited directly from high school, Lexie and Sami Jo went to university. They are both delightful, interesting women. Lexie leans toward books and English, Sami Jo to math. Lexie was a spelling bee champ; Sami Jo became an engineer, though she is now a motivational speaker as well as running a hockey school.

Alexandra Hoffmeyer and Sami Jo Small (click to enlarge)

I was fascinated and heartened to find out that they and their friends socialize over board games. Interacting f2f and 3D–it’s not the picture of the texting generation that middle-aged adults usually have. How wonderful to sit around Sorry, Cranium, or Catch-Phrase. If that’s where my daughters are headed in a few years, I can get behind it. In fact, I think we should start practising now!

At the end of the evening, we took pictures. Lexie and Sami Jo posed with aplomb, my children sitting beside them, each with her own way of responding to an occasion they’ll long remember.

On the way out, Sami Jo paused to talk about her husband’s experiences on the Canadian sledge hockey team. Athletes have to learn to focus on the process, she explained, because Olympics, championships, and final games are only a small part of that. Those are moments, often uncontrollable, which can be triumphant or disappointing. Even when triumphant, they can be spoiled by circumstances around the event. Media coverage can turn on them just as easily as it can praise. So it’s important to know that it’s the journey that matters.

I can relate to that. The same is true for writers–for everyone in fact.

However, I can tell you with great pleasure that the Toronto Furies (who I’m now following on Twitter) won in Boston this weekend, 2-1.



Lilian is the author of Web of Angels, a novel about a mom with DID (multiple personalities). She's also the author of the historical novels, The River Midnight and The Singing Fire, about secrets, friendship and motherhood in 19th century Poland and London.

4 thoughts on “Showing Girls Strength and Grace

  1. What a special evening it must have been! Weren’t you terrified that the dinner would turn out wrong? I’m always a bit scared when I cook for other people (but I am a wimp!). I’ll bet your girls and your guest enjoyed it just as much as each other.

    1. I wasn’t worried about that because A was cooking! My role in the evening was cleaning, buying flowers, and making everyone feel at home. That was what I was anxious about. 🙂 I had complete confidence that everyone would enjoy the meal!

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