Jonas Milton began playing ice hockey in the Washington Coliseum at age 8 -- then one of a handful of blacks in that sport.
He went on to become the fourth black professional playing in the Eastern Hockey League.
He is now 30 and a private housing consultant. But two evenings a week he is a volunteer at the Fort Dupont ice rink in Anacostia. He coaches 25 kids between the ages of 8 and 17.
"I have hopes for every one of them," he says. "But I wish there were hundreds more. Ice hockey is beautiful, and it is a way to release your frustrations. You have to concentrate: watch the puck, the play, yourself. You have to depend on your body and wit. It's a fast game, and there is no time to think about your anxieties."
But ice hockey is expensive. Milton paid $210 for his skates; the rest of his equipment cost over $200. "I'd like to see people donate equipment," he says. He would like black kids to get on the ice instead of "watching TV or listening to crazy music, disrupting their minds."
The rink is sparkling; the brilliant white of the ice and the silvery white of the ceiling reflect each other. The players whiz by at 40 miles per hour; their sticks give off sparks. It's a space-age sport with a hint of magic.
Milton says he can hardly wait to put his 3-year-old daughter on the ice. "I am concerned about the future," he says. He is troubled that kids waste time, talent, opportunity. "Playing hockey is an education," he says. "To be successful you have got to touch each other, take care of each other, care for each other." He is proud that he coaches an integrated group. "We've got to work as a team," he says.