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back in the game

Sunday, 16 January 2011
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Tonight I played my first hockey game in…I have no idea how many years. Four? Five, maybe? Anyway…I learned a few things from the experience.

  1. I am way out of shape.
  2. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been skating since you could walk; if you haven’t been on the ice in two years, you get rusty.
  3. The hockey player I am in the fantasyland in my head is still far, far better than the hockey player I am on this plane of reality.
  4. I am equally as useless on defence as I am at forward.
  5. I love this game.

I found the Connecticut Hockey League quite by accident—George & I were downtown with the kids the weekend after we moved here and a woman from Western New York noticed Julia’s Sabres shirt & stopped us to talk. Her husband mentioned that he played in a hockey league & I got the info from him and got in touch with the guy who runs the league and Robert’s your father’s brother—here I am, playing hockey again.

I did not have a good night. And I don’t want to say I don’t care—I was swearing at myself up and down the ice all night—but…I’m looking forward to my next game. My team seems like a genuinely good group of guys (and two other girls) and as far as I can tell they mean it when they say, “Sure, we want to win, but we’re here to have fun.”

This is a pretty big change from my first experience playing. I wanted to look forward to my next game every week, but I was so anxious I ended up dreading it. I’d never played before, and I skated—as one friend who played on another team in the same league put it—“like a figure skater.” (What can I say? It’s what I did for years and years; the best compliment I got during that time was when the same friend noted one day that I was skating like a hockey player.) There was a steep learning curve there—I have difficulty with team sports in that I’m so afraid of screwing up and pissing off my teammates that I inevitably end up screwing up and pissing off my teammates—and my teammates there were not the type to say, “Oh, no worries—good try.”

It feels different this time. Hopefully getting better won’t be such an uphill climb, and it’ll be more a matter of remembering things I knew a few years ago and getting comfortable enough out there to execute things the way I know I should. I like to think busting my ass on the ice makes up somewhat for not being the most skilled player—OK, let’s be realistic, being one of the least skilled players—out there. But right now, I can’t wait to get back out there next Sunday.

me, playing hockey (badly), circa 2002

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