I’m taking hockey classes. Two classes down… many classes to go. Not surprisingly, I’m the worst one in class (again).
In the first class, one of my fellow classmates seemed to take pity upon me. He tried to be encouraging, pointing out that he and another classmate had been taking classes for a few months – and one classmate for two years. He told me I’d get better over time. I have to admit, I let him think this was the first time I’ve taken hockey classes. It isn’t. I took them for a couple months last year. He doesn’t need to know that.
Some of the drills were familiar from the other classes I’d taken. Skating around the ice – dropping to one knee, then the other knee (for those I tend to drop to both knees, spin around and fall). Some drills were new – like “Superman dives”. Superman dives are just cruel, in my opinion. I don’t know if I should be grateful that I’m female and have extra “padding” for flailing down to my chest on the ice – or if that just causes more wind to be knocked out of me.
When the instructor gave us a water break, I went up to introduce myself and ask a question. He asked me to fasten my helmet properly. He pointed to my one strap, flying free. I told him “No.” This was met with an awkward pause, so I explained “I do not know how.” I’d never figured out where that third strap went. He said it’s a chin strap, that goes under the CHIN, and it keeps the helmet on my head if it loosens when I fall. I still couldn’t figure out my strap. He finally took pity on me and adjusted the strap and fastened it for me. This led to the entire class getting a lecture on “how to wear hockey equipment properly” – with me as the illustration of what NOT to do. For example, your skates should be laced tightly – NOT loosely like THIS (pointing to my skates).
I only had one major wipe out in class. I had lots of crash-and-burns, don’t get me wrong, but only one where everyone stopped and gasped and waited to see if my brains and blood would ooze out on the ice. I was chasing after the puck in scrimmage when I realized I was about to crash violently into a classmate (and teammate, and fellow female). I tried to stop, pulling myself backwards, and fell backwards, smacking the back of my head on the ice. Yes, it hurt. A lot. I did get up and keep playing – eventually.
Those kind of injuries don’t get much sympathy off the ice – unless someone feels the back of your head for a lump, they don’t even know you’re hurt. I was joking with a coworker that I needed to lose a front tooth or something very “hockey like”. Ironically, a few days later, I was rushing to take the cats to the veterinarian when I managed to smack my head right on the corner of the door jamb. Ow. It took me a moment to realize there was blood. A LOT of blood. Blood was gushing down my face, through my fingers… it was everywhere. It’s true, what they say on crime shows – head wounds bleed profusely. I want to tell everyone it was a high-sticking injury, that sounds a lot cooler than “I’m a total clutz and ran into a door.” It left an impressive gash on my forehead.
My second hockey class didn’t go much better than the first, but at least I was on time. For scrimmage, I was teamed up with two young guys that were really good and I told them on our first break not to worry about being nice and passing the puck to me – I was only capable of falling on the ice and getting into people’s way. I try to focus on getting into the way of opposing teammates rather than my own.
I did find out something interesting. Apparently, I’m capable of making up new hockey rules and no one seemed to question this. It started when I managed to get possession of the puck behind the opposing team’s net. Players quickly descended upon me. I said “You can’t steal the puck from the little old lady!!!” They all stopped. I slowly maneuvered myself and the puck around the net, while they just stayed back and watched – passed it to one of my teammates and he scored a goal. COOL! This rule is going to work well for me! I also decided little old ladies (that is, ME) do not have to follow the off-sides rule. No one seemed to question this, either.