Hockey Time

I played hockey yesterday. Assuming you can call skating around by yourself and slapping the puck around hockey.

Someone asked the other day if a hockey season didn’t happen would anyone notice. In the culture at large the answer seems to be no, and in my personal life I haven’t noticed that much either. But there is something strangely lacking, something not quite right.

I wore my Red Wings jersey the other day for the first time in a long time (though the reasons why are longer and much more mundane), and it felt weird to be thinking about hockey and talking about hockey when hockey just isn’t happening. Lousy, greedy, millionaire athletes and owners. Bah.

But getting out on the ice and skating again felt amazing. Not “Chariots of Fire” playing in my head amazing, but just good. Chest burning, eyes watering, legs pumping good. It was 0 degrees out, the sun was shining, and the sky was that perfect color of blue–not a cloud in sight. The wind was calm and the ice was smooth. The rink was empty and when I slapped the puck and it crashed into the boards it echoed and I almost wished I lived closer to the rink so I could hear that thump of the puck on the boards from my house.

I stink at hockey. I have to keep my eye on the puck the whole time I have it, which means I can’t aim when I shoot, I can’t watch where I’m going, I can’t do much good. I learned how to rollerskate in a rink where you skated counter-clockwise 90% of the time, which means I can build up a lot of speed when I turn counter-clockwise, but I have no balance whatsoever when I’m turning clockwise. It makes for an awkward skating style where I’d rather turn left even if it’s the long way around.

Feeling the frozen January air in my lungs felt so good. I keep thinking I should get out to the rink more often, just to skate some laps and shoot some pucks and get a fair amount of exercise for once in my life. It seems like 20 minutes of January exercise should be worth double.

The other day Abby talked about what she’d like to accomplish by the time she’s 50, and while I’m not brave enough to make such a list, I think one item on that list would be to play hockey on some type of organized team. I can’t afford the equipment, I wouldn’t have the stamina for a whole game, and one check into the boards and I’d fold like a paper airplane. But I’d love to give it a shot.

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