Rubado column: Parents and hockey skates
This is a column written by Jared Rubado about the holiday season and the importance of family. This is column does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Tribune, Focus or Wadena PJ.
I got a chance to be part of a really cool project our newspaper put together.
We published our annual “Women 360” magazine in early December. I don’t venture out of sports all that often, but I also don’t turn down opportunities to interview members of the Bettcher family.
Kim Bettcher is one of a handful of impactful women in our community who were featured this year. I got a chance to dive into what her role is at the Detroit Lakes Community and Cultural Center and the Laker Booster Club. Kim is a brilliant ambassador for so many things that can be tied into what I cover in the local sports scene, and our community is lucky to have people like her.
Among the many important things she said in our interview, one thing stuck out to me that I’ve been thinking about during the holiday season. She spoke about what it means for people to be encouraged to try new things. Whether it was her kids getting a chance to play a myriad of different sports or finding ways to bring people in the community together through the DLCCC, it was a message that resonated with me because of my family.
My mom grew up in Joliet, IL, about a half hour from Chicago. My dad has been in northern Minnesota for most of his life. He grew up in a big family in Grand Rapids before meeting my mom at Winona State University.
They moved to Brainerd for my mom’s teaching job in the 1990s. They’ve lived in the same little house on the south side of town my whole life.
My mom likes to tell me the story of when I got my first pair of hockey skates for Christmas. I was two years old, and all I wanted was a pair of skates. Hockey has been part of my family long before I was born. My dad and his brothers played in Grand Rapids. I used to watch my dad coach my cousins growing up. Some of my first sports memories are watching the Minnesota Wild make it to the Western Conference Finals in 2003, and my closest friends came from playing hockey through high school.
It all started with a pair of skates.
Growing up, I wasn’t forced to play. I was encouraged to try new things. If I wanted to try soccer, my mom bought me new shin guards. When I was old enough to try tackle football, my parents would make sure I had the equipment to give it a shot. I tried everything, and my parents made sacrifices to give that luxury to my sister and me.
I see sports differently now than I did when I was younger. The older I get, the less I remember about the times I actually played. I don’t remember the last time I played in a baseball game or wore a football helmet. I can’t remember the score of my last hockey game.
What I do remember are the people around me and how they made me feel, and I’m lucky enough to say that my parents were two of the best. Their willingness to let me try new things is the foundation for everything I’ve done as a sports writer, and I wouldn’t be writing this today without it. I don’t have kids of my own, but I have two amazing parents who got me a pair of skates for Christmas.