Relearning the moves
It’s a good thing that I don’t take myself too seriously. Unfortunately, my teammates probably don’t, either. I really shouldn’t divulge any of this, but it is so pathetic that I thought it might get money for finishing school, or at least balance class at the senior center.
Two days prior to my first hockey practice (in about 15 years), I was on my road bike, and couldn’t get my left foot unclipped at a stop sign. So, still attached to my bike, I did the slow motion fall to the asphalt, in front of the car that was waiting behind me.
The next day, I was walking into the courtyard at Hunter Creek and checking a cell phone message when I was rudely and abruptly stopped by a concrete pillar. Just some nicks on my left hand, requiring Band-Aids under my hard-as-wood hockey gloves, and a couple more Band-Aids for knee and elbow scrapes from the pavement. … So with some ibuprofen for a mildly wrenched left shoulder, I was off to the ice rink on practice day!
In the locker room, I deftly taped my shin pads to my skin (missing straps), and then my big green hockey leggings (socks?) to my skin above, because someone must have borrowed my garter belt. I couldn’t get the darn suspenders hooked on to my padded pants, so I had to keep hitching them up during practice, which was really annoying.
I made a mental note to replace the ragged tape dragging off the end of my stick and the duct tape on my glove fingers. But I was delighted with the fine protection my helmet offered when I periodically slammed to the ice on my back, trying to skate backward. And my shoulder pads are thankfully designed for ladies’ breast protection as well, making face-plants completely painless. While down there, I couldn’t help but reflect on a bumper sticker I saw recently: “Gravity: It’s the Law.”
Midworkout and gasping, I tried to take a swig from my water bottle without removing my helmet, as it was difficult to find and deal with the chin strap snap. But it got stuck in my wire face guard. I had to work it free without anyone noticing. Later, upon a veteran’s advice to use the (skilled) technique of squirting it through the “cage” into your mouth, I got a large amount of water down my neck and inside my jersey, but none in my mouth.
Practice finally ended, thank you God. I wobbled off the rink to the locker room and began unlayering. I stuffed my hockey duffle with sweaty gear and strode (almost) through the doorway, but my bag was too wide and jerked me backward. I am pleased to report that I did not fall down.
Finally, and successfully exiting the Ice Garden, a smirking kid (“whipper-snapper”?) handed me a little flyer, which could have referred to my skill level ” but, in fact, it was a sports equipment cleaning service advertising in bold letters: IT STINKS!
Watch out you young smart-mouth Mother Puckers, I’m ready for YOU!
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