Local Family Skates & Stays Together
By Mark Hayes & Alicia Reese
Special to BSW
You’ve probably heard that “a family that eats together, stays together.” For one Bellevue family, add to that saying, “skates together.” Not only does the Ford/Reese/Hayes family spend birthdays, holidays and Sunday dinners together, but also Saturdays together playing BLAST Roller Hockey!
BLAST Roller Hockey is the newly revised Bellevue branch of Youth Incorporated Inline Hockey, located at McPherson Drive on the outdoor rink in the front of the BSAA baseball and softball field facility. Perhaps one of the best kept secrets in West Nashville, this affordable, fun and competitive sport proved addictive to parents and kids alike as each family member in the Ford/Reese/Hayes clan began to recruit the others.
John and Christy Ford threw the spark that ignited a family fire three years ago. Driving by the outdoor skate rink multiple times, the Fords and their oldest son Charlie were curious about the facility and learning to skate and play hockey. They signed up Charlie, now 13, for the league.
Since then, the three other Ford children, Hazel, Oscar and Hugo, have joined the league. With all four kids in the league, Christy Ford says, “They’ve had a blast playing with their cousins and meeting new friends. It really has felt like a family.” Most of the Ford kids play other sports too, but they are all quick to say that hockey is their favorite. Oscar Ford, 9, agrees, “It’s really fun. I personally like to play goalie.” Hazel Ford, age 10, says she likes the league because “we pretty much know everybody” and it is her favorite sport, beating out soccer and basketball.
After many testimonials from the Ford family, John’s sister and brother-in-law, Alicia and Jamie Reese, followed the lead. They signed up two of their daughters, Emma and Amelia, for the co-ed inline hockey league. Already participants in the Bellevue softball league next door, the Reese daughters have thrived in BLAST Roller Hockey. Amelia Reese, age 10, says playing with her sister and cousins is fun “because you get to spend more time with them.” Hazel Ford, pleased that her cousins have now joined, says “I like it when there is a line of all family members.”
Even those family members joining a season or two later than the Fords, seemed to pick up the sport quickly, whether they knew how to skate or not. Catching onto the contagious fun of the family sport, Christy’s sister and brother-in-law, Dawn and Mark Hayes, signed up their three sons, Hank, Ike and Roy.
For the Hayes family, Hank Hayes, age 9, learned to play first, which led to family skate sessions at Brentwood Skate Center and skating in the driveway. The younger siblings, Ike and Roy, age 6 and 5 at the time, picked the skating part up quickly as a result. Once a hockey stick and a puck were added, the kids were hooked.
Mark Hayes coached his three sons and two nephews on a 10U team last fall. “I played a lot of sports growing up but never played hockey. As a parent it is by far my favorite sport. Roller hockey is very fun to watch and the kids just love skating so it is great exercise for them. Plus it is a lot more affordable than ice hockey,” Mark says.
When asked why the Hayes boys like roller hockey better than other sports, Ike, age 7, said “I like being on wheels and going fast”. Hank and Roy agreed. Hank Hayes not only likes playing with his cousins but likes the fun nicknames. When he scores a goal the scorekeeper announces “goal scored by ‘Hank the Tank Hayes’”.
I n combination, nine siblings and cousins play from the three families. The kids range from ages 6 to 13 years old. Although age divisions prevent all nine of them from playing together, last spring five family members were on the “Goalbusters” 10U team that won the league. Last Spring the 8U travel team had Oscar Ford playing goalie, Hazel Ford and Amelia Reese playing defense, and Hank Hayes and Hugo Ford, age 8, playing offense. This past fall, five cousins and siblings represented the “Chilli Beans” 13U team, making it to the league finals.
Team practices are held weekly within the league, but it’s not uncommon for John Ford to shoot out a group text that reads “Family practice in 1 hour”. Having nine players in the family makes quick work of organizing a scrimmage.
To kids or parents interested in BLAST Roller Hockey, Oscar Ford, age 9, encourages the curious to give it a try, “You should come out here on Saturdays and Sundays…they have free skating and scrimmages.”
Roy Hayes, age 6, said for those who have not played before, “Get skates for your birthday and try it out”.
For more information about BLAST Roller Hockey, visit www.youthinchockey.com