Hit the Ice
SEPTEMBER 30, 2007
One hour to go and I can't focus on anything else. I've been waiting all summer to get back on the ice and play. It's kind of an affliction. It's hockey!
Always wear a helmet, kids!
Five years ago I was invited to join a group playing pick-up hockey once a week. I was thrilled at the chance to play again, but I only played entry-year level hockey as a kid and my skill set was almost nil. I was completely terrified once the slap shots started ringing off the boards during warm up. They sounded like gunshots, and any one of them could drop you. I didn't even have a wrist shot that I could deliver with any speed or accuracy. Every week going to the rink I would say 'thisiscrazy, thisiscrazy....yeaaah this IS crazyyyy!'
I've come a long way since then, thanks to the patience of the guys I play with. I always consider a game successful if I make a good pass or set up a nice assist. I also hover around the net a lot and pick up garbage goals. The pratfalls don't come quite as often now and I don't run into my teammates any more. (well, hardly ever). I do give it my best shot.
This is not competitive hockey- it's just a bunch of guys who are self employed and can goof off on a Monday afternoon. We have a mix of authors, musicians and artists, a handful of retirees, bartenders, brewers and tradesmen.
There is a moment or two every game where you get fed the perfect pass or a lucky bounce hits your stick and there is no one between you and the goalie. Time seems to slow and everything gets focused. Forehand or backhand, short side or stick side, better decide quick! Succeed or fail, it is intense and life-affirming. Not so crazy after all.