Back before kids, it was hockey all the time. I met my husband while learning to play. The only way to get better was to go skating, play pickup and be on as many teams as possible to get maximum ice time. Our weekends were crazy, driving from one rink to another and hoping that the gear would dry on the way.
Now, if we are lucky, we play together once or twice a month. It’s definitely what we prefer. We’ve been on the same line for thirteen years now. He at center and me on right wing. When one of us is not there, it just isn’t the same. Our left wing has been with us just along. When all three of us are actually on the ice at the same time, it is a thing of beauty.
Sometimes I question my sanity for still playing hockey. Last night was one of those nights. Thankfully it was an early game , though I often prefer games after the kids’ bedtimes to ease the guilt of taking time for myself. It was a close game when one of my teammates [another gal] took an intentional hit and went down. Mind you, this is beer league, aka non-checking league. She came off the ice a bit shaken. She had hit her head and her tailbone. The game continued much in the same vein.
I play co-ed hockey for a reason [a lot less drama and cliques], and the game is just more intense. However, I am not playing to get hurt. Most of the folks on the ice have jobs and families. I was a bit more cautious for the rest of the game, still trying to make plays but trying to avoid unnecessary contact. To me the only bad night of hockey is the one that ends up in the emergency room.
Driving home, after a quick beer, it was clear to me why I still play, even at the risk of injury. Hockey makes me feel alive. The hour on the ice is a chance to be me. It represents who I have become–someone willing to learn to play at the age of thirty-three and start writing a new chapter in her life. I was newly divorced, looking to meet someone who liked hockey. If it wasn’t for hockey and the San Jose Sharks, I wouldn’t have three kids and a dog named Zamboni.
With that, I’ll leave you with my hockey and relationship wisdom for the day.
P.S. I may just skip the 11:30pm game on Friday–my husband can play that one.