I know, I know, not even four weeks in and I’m recycling titles, but trust me on this, it’s worth it.
One thing I did not expect to be doing in my third week of Hockey was to be playing in a game.
It was Mom’s idea. Drop in games are full of heroes who think they are the second coming of Sidney Crosby and for the rookies ice-time is few and far between. We had two goalies (and a back-up) and 22 willing, if not entirely able bodies, we were going to hit the ice.
A short skills session was the first order of the day, including my first drills with a puck! Wow, he’s a slippery little sucker! That little palette of dark matter proved more elusive than the Higgs Boson. I chased it, cursed it, cajoled it and eventually corralled it.
I even managed to get it in the goal.
In a drill.
There was a goalie there though!!
It’s a lot tougher to keep that little bugger on my tape on the ice than it is on the melamine in my garage.
But that’s not what you want to hear about is it?
I chickened out and hit the bench first, already intimidated by the fact my fellow newbies seemed to know how to actually play the positions on ice. Rules I’d taken care of with the wonderful university of YouTube earlier in the day and was thrilled to realise I actually understood the offside rule.
Icing, no, still don’t get it, does anyone?
Our British Import took the role of coach and assigned us all positions as we came off the bench. I ended up on Defense, “Hang back, skate backwards,” he told me. The hang back part I can handle, skating backwards? Well let’s just say we haven’t covered that yet.
I managed to fall flat on my face about halfway through my second shift, which lead to our erstwhile Referee, (the incognito Coach Intenso), getting a fit of the giggles.
I told him to shut up and chased him down the ice with my stick.
Surprisingly, this was not what ended me up in the penalty box, but more about that later.
The kids took the ice with us, (two of our Atom aged munchkins making up one player on the ice.) Jay and her friend Eee, were a like pair of persistent buzzing bees for the yellow team. They swarmed me on the boards at one point and objected loudly when I called them midgets and explained that if I fell over I may kill one or both of them. Needless to say they ended up with the puck.
I actually managed to get stick to puck on more than one occasion, sometimes things are easier when you don’t think about them, or more accurately, when you don’t have time to think about them.
All up the game was full of laughs, lots of clumsiness, a few flashes of idiot savant brilliance and one penalty.
I got sent to the box.
Those who may be reading this who remember my basketball career will be thinking this is no surprise. I spent more than a few games paying the price for opening my mouth to the refs one too many times, and perhaps a few weeks on the sidelines after some of my more physical adventures.
That being said, this was soft by anyone’s standard.
Skill levels being what they are it was inevitable that an errant stick would catch the skate of one of my fellow players. This series of articles being what they are perhaps it was also inevitable that the referee would blow the whistle and drag me to the box for the requisite two minutes.
I may have then offered to find said referee’s Seeing Eye dog and perhaps suggest that his eyes had been painted on by an artist of little skill.
Of course he just laughed.
So did my team.
So did the other team.
I’m more than happy to be a pawn for your amusement, and at that point I may have also been more than a little grateful for the chance to sit down.
Thanks to Mum’s husband there is photographic evidence of the event, which I can share with you now.
But this photo is much more important. Here we are, in our green and yellow battle armour, exhausted, satisfied and united in our rookie hockey glory.
Photo Credits @ Brian Galdes