Sunday, November 09, 2008

Hockey is best kind

("best kind" = "great" in Newfoundland-speak)

So beyond writing papers that bore me stiff, I've started playing ice hockey here. One of my professors organizes people who aren't superstar players to get together and play just for fun. As he puts it, if you can skate backwards, you're too good to play with them. He invited students from our class out to get some more players. I've wanted to play hockey for years but always had the problem of finding people my age who weren't overly good, since I'm no good myself. So this seemed like a chance.

Now, if I hadn't known some guys from my class were going to be there, I probably wouldn't have gone on my own since I really lack confidence in my hockey ability (and rightly so). As it was, one friend, Andrew, convinced me to give it a try, and so I got Patrick, a fellow I've been going out with, to go with me to the used-sports equipment store to help me buy basic stuff like shin guards and gloves and a stick (I saved some money because I can fit into the large boys' size equipment - hooray for being small!). Patrick gave me his old helmet which was on the small side for him, and I already had my own skates.

To set the scene for you, it was 12 men of all ages and me. They all had full hockey gear - shoulder pads, big jerseys and padded pants, you know all that stuff that makes a person look even bigger. I wore my fencing breeches and a long-sleeved shirt, both of which added no volume, so I imagine I looked pretty tiny. One fellow told me my gear looked "old-school", like a picture of his grandfather playing hockey back in the day when they wore actual sweaters, slim-fitting pants and no padding.

I had a great time and have been back another two times for the same. I'm definitely one of the poorer players, but as the only girl I'm probably going to slide by on that fact for quite a while. We're playing non-contact which is actually a problem for me because I can't stop all that well, so I've occasionally checked someone because I couldn't change direction in time, which the fellows find pretty funny (one buddy has called me the "enforcer" of the group). Although when I've run into someone and fallen down as a result (being the lighter of the two bodies in a collision, it's sort of bound to happen), the fellows usually apologize to me profusely which I'm trying to train them out of by hopping to my feet as quick as possible and telling them not to worry.

So that's my fun new thing, and maybe if I keep at it for a few years now I might actually get better!

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