May 31, 2007
Game 1: Weekend Fling

It actually took me a while to remember the name of this team; they had a logo that looked like something off an 18-wheeler's mudflap—only with horns and a tail—so several of my teammates started calling them the Red Devils. Anyway, I showed up at the rink about an hour early, ankle taped but still unsure of whether I'd be able to skate. I ran into Marie in front of the locker room assignment board, trying to remember what our team's name was. I said hi and explained the ankle situation; she looked a bit alarmed and said, "if it hurts at all, I wouldn't skate on it. I did that, re-injured it, and was out for 6 months." Somehow I managed to remain mildly optimistic after getting this news, even though my ankle *did* hurt (I'd say it was about a three).

I got into my hockey gear, being sure to lace my skates as tightly as possible, to wrap stick tape around the left one, and to tape my shinpads (which I wear over my skate tongues) tightly at the bottom. Once I did that, the pain disappeared—it was the best splinting system I'd come across since the injury!

When I stepped out on the ice, I found that I didn't have as much mobility because of all the layers of tape (especially the one at skin level, which went up to the bottom of my calf), but I could still turn and stop fairly well—and more importantly, without pain. At the end of the warmup, I could feel my ankle, but I'd say the pain level was between 0 and 1 (I was still smiling).

The actual game is pretty much a blur of thinking about my ankle, going tentatively into the corners, and getting our asses kicked by an opponent that was clearly a level above us. I don't think it's particularly obvious in this video (which I shot during one of the two or three times we were actually in their end), but as Lolly put it, none of them had any trouble skating, none of them were confused about positioning (two hallmarks of the Rec level), and she recognized a few skaters from B-level leagues.

Yes, that's me saying "oh, crap" at the end
(from the bench, where I was shooting this rather shaky video)
On the ice for us are YaYa (37, C), Michele (50, LW), Joann (6, RW), Clarice (7, LD), and Spammer (10, RD).

I played Left Wing on a line with Lolly at Center and Deanna at Right; I believe the second line was Joan (LW), Marie (C), and Nat (RW); and the third was Michele (LW), YaYa (C), and Joann (RW). I know Michele played Left Wing, because I got confused the first time she tried to change for me (she usually plays Right :). Mucky and Ima formed one of the D pairs; Clarice (who usually plays goalie, I think) and Spammer were the other; and Rocky played goal. It should be obvious that Mucky, Ima, Yaya, and Spammer aren't their real names, but at this point I hadn't memorized their real names, so I just went by their name bars.

YaYa Mucky Ima Pornstar Spammer
YaYa Mucky Ima Pornstar Spammer, Originally uploaded by yaya37ap

I don't think it was as clear to the Flingers that they were in the wrong division as it was to us; I think they just thought we were one of the weaker teams in the bracket. (We were actually about average). I heard a couple of them whine *I* want to score a goal now! when a player who'd already scored did so again. As someone who's played on a team that routinely beat other teams by multi-goal margins, I can't really fault the Fling for sending three skaters hard after a loose puck when they were up 6-0—I probably would have done the same thing, as being first to the puck is a super-high priority. (Now that I think of it, though, the two or three times we were up by *that* big a margin, we specifically *didn't* try to be first to the puck. Instead we let our opponents get it, and then tried to pressure them just enough to make it interesting. Our goal at that point was to build their confidence without being sloppy ourselves or giving up the game.)

The good news was that the Fling weren't dirty at all. I got shoved once or twice in front of the net (and once *not* in front of the net), but it wasn't like the shover did any damage. The mood on the ice was pretty good, probably because the Fling were having such a great time scoring on us, and because so many of us were just happy to skate. As Joan put it, "hey, I'M PLAYING HOCKEY!" Who could ask for more?

As for my ankle, at the end of the first period the pain was about a 1; at the end of the second it was about a 3; and at the end of the third period it was about a 4. I was seriously looking forward to taking my skates off (and *not* looking forward to the walk back to the locker room). I took the tape off when I got back to the hotel, showered, and then iced the ankle while I slept. I tweaked it a couple times during the night trying to flip over, but getting through the first game gave me confidence that I could at least the first period of the second.

Oh yeah, and the final score of this first game was 7-0. Sorry we couldn't score any goals for you, Rocky!

YaYa! smash (deanna): right wing on my line
rocky after the first game

Posted by Lori at 11:39 PM

May 28, 2007
One Second

I'm pretty sure this clip was a total accident, but I like it because it shows me skating relatively fast. It's only one second long, so watch closely! (And I assure you that I maintained that speed for longer than one second.)

Posted by Lori at 12:35 AM | Comments (1)

May 27, 2007
Game On

Well, we've played three games so far, and by the time I get to write about them I'll probably have them all confused in my head. I'm traveling with Al and the Beaner this time, which means that instead of writing and uploading photos between games, I'm doing my best to carry some of the parenting load. Luckily I took some video (and Ann, our bench coach, got some of the third game, too), so I'll have that to jog my memory.

The big news in the meantime is: I can skate! The ankle taping + tight skate lacing + skate taping + shinpad taping is supporting my ankle well enough that I can turn, stop, and skate (almost) as usual. I'm a little less agile because of the extra stiffness all that tape adds, but I'm not playing badly at all. Woo!

Posted by Lori at 1:22 AM

May 25, 2007
Hopeful in Vancouver

We're in Vancouver now for my 6th Vancouver Tournament. Whether I'll actually be able to skate or not is still a mystery; I haven't been on the ice since I sprained my ankle, and the past couple days have brought more tweaks and pain than the speedy healing I was hoping for, so we'll see. I just finished taping my ankle for the second time today (the first time was a practice run to get the hang of it and test how tight the tape should be) according to these instructions, and I've put the flexible brace on over my sock. If the combination of tape, sock, and brace (and either a velcro strap or some hockey tape around my skate) don't do it, nothing will.

Posted by Lori at 7:24 PM | Comments (2)

May 03, 2007
The Brick Wall Known As Jill, And The Risks Inherent in Hitting It

This past Monday was one of only two that are not already claimed by Al for his hockey games this season, so I had my bag all packed and ready to go to NE Skatezone for the women's Monday night pickup there. Of course I forgot my cell phone, but I figured Al knew when to expect me home, and if anything came up, someone else would have one.

I think about 10 of us showed up, so we skated four-on-four with one sub each until we were all so tired that everyone wanted to go out at once. We drank some water and caught our breath, and someone proposed going half-ice instead of full. I don't mind half-ice as long as the net stays in its usual position (I had a great time playing a half-ice scrimmage in which the zone had to be cleared to the red line on change of possession at practice once); this allows *me* to play my position normally and not get too confused. I know many would disagree and say that it's much *more* confusing to figure out when clearing the zone is necessary, but for me it's easier than trying to find space to skate when the nets are placed on opposing boards at one end of the ice.

In any case, the latter is how the half-ice 3-on-3 game was configured on Monday. I think it was on my second or third shift in, when I was really feeling disoriented by the small skating area—with my long skating stride, I'm like a 747 in the sense that I need a *lot* of runway in which to really get up to speed—I decided to heck with getting up to speed: I'd try for quickness instead. Al and I are always talking about the difference between speed and quickness, and how I tend to have more of the former than the latter (even if I don't appear very speedy from the sidelines). Now seemed like the moment for quickness.

One of my opponents got the puck on her stick and was just getting it together to skate with it, and I saw an opportunity to steal it right off her stick. (Never mind that had this manuever worked, I probably would not have had enough room to get a shot off anyway; I was more interested in trying the move for its own sake, to break up the monotony of missed passes and skating around in tight little circles.) So anyway, I dove forward with the intent of skating through the gap between the puck carrier and the teammate standing a couple feet from her, and taking the puck with me.

Next thing I knew, my left foot had planted (I could feel the toe of the blade stick in the ice) while my body spun off to the right. My shoulder had hit something, and I think I got sandwiched between the two opponents while my left foot stayed behind. What I'm most sure of in those brief seconds is that my ankle bent in a direction is was not supposed to go—a vision of one of those bendy figures kids play with totally popped into my head as I went down—and that I screamed. I wasn't sure at first whether I'd broken a bone or just sprained my ankle, but as I lay there on the ice trying to breathe, it occurred to me that I hadn't heard or felt any snapping. This boded well for the sprain theory, so after a few minutes I let my colleagues carry me off the ice and apply an icepack to my ankle while I sat behind the bench.


Nielle gave me three Advil, and I tied the icepack around my skate with the bandana I'd been wearing on my head. I then borrowed a cell phone (gah! the one time I forgot mine, of course I needed one) and called Al to tell him what had happened while encouraging everyone else to continue skating. It was obvious that I couldn't drive home (my car is a stick), and we only have the one car, so Al couldn't come get me. Jill—who, it turned out, was the brick wall I'd hit while trying to thread the needle—had a plan: Someone would drive my car back to Al, who would throw "little Al" in the car and drive back up to ferry me to the hospital. It probably isn't necessary to mention at this point that Jill does not have kids.

Nielle had a better idea: She would drive me in my car and Shelly would drive Nielle's car to the nearest ER. I kinda just wanted to go home, but Nielle convinced me that an x-ray was a better idea. I relayed the revised plan to Al via the borrowed cellphone and then, when everyone else was almost finished playing and I was thoroughly chilled, I hopped back to the locker room to get as undressed as I could. I took off one skate and kneepad, my shoulder pads, and my elbow pads, but I left my pants, socks, and jersey on for warmth. (At this point it didn't occur to me that the ER would be hot as holy hell, or even that it wouldn't be nearly as chilly as the rink had been.)

Somewhere along the line Shelly realized that we were going to the ER and not directly to my house; I said, "don't worry; if the wait is long, we'll just order a pizza." The wait *did* turn out to be long. The waiting room was MOBBED—which, depending on whom you asked, was either highly unusual or totally normal for a Monday night. They "fast-tracked" me at triage, but apart from a bout of hysterical tears during the x-ray, I apparently seemed far too cheerful to be seriously injured, and thus was ignored for four hours. After a little over an hour, Shelly announced, "I was promised pizza." I replied, "and I was serious about that! Let's order one." Shelly was skeptical that anyone would deliver to the ER, but the lady sitting in front of us said, "there's menus over there," so Shelly grabbed one and ordered. We snarfed down a slice each, heartily wished beer delivery was an option, too (especially since no one would give me painkillers of any sort, including Tylenol or Advil), and returned to our discussions of hockey, dating, driving, sneaker fashion, the benefits and drawbacks of marriage, more hockey, and random other things.

Around 2am I was finally shown back to the actual ER bays, where we waited another 20 minutes for god knows what. What I was waiting for turned out to be what amounted to a wham-bam-thank-you-m'am from an ER doc who announced that she didn't see anything on the x-ray "so rest, ice, compressionelevationbearweightasyoucanseeyougoodbye." After another 10 minutes a nurse came to wrap my ankle with an ACE bandage, give me a prescription for Naprosyn (which I can't take because it makes me dizzy), and give me a pair of crutches. When she said I couldn't use them on stairs I tried to refuse them (because my house is nothing *but* stairs), but Shelly, Nielle, and the orderly all talked me out of that nonsense. Thank god they did, because I would not have been able to get around at all for the past three days without them.

We finally pulled into the driveway behind our house at 3:30am, and then Shelly and Nielle went on to their respective houses in Nielle's car (I'm still trying to figure out how to send them some beer for their above-and-beyond stint in the ER) while Al pulled ours into the garage and I tried to figure out how to get up the stairs to the bedroom (I ended up crawling because I didn't have enough leg strength left to hop anymore). You can read about the next two days' worth of adventures in hopping on avocado8 (though I refrained from mentioning the very rough night I had on Tuesday, when Al was away in Chicago, the Beaner woke up screaming at 1:30am, and the stress of not being able to be picked up by Mommy caused a Pull-Up leak where normally there is no wetness at all). Meanwhile, I can now put some weight on my left foot, though turning even just a little bit is out of the question. Still, it's a start, and I have high hopes that the ankle will be sufficiently healed for me to fully participate in the Vancouver Tournament, which is now a mere 3 weeks away. Wooooo!

Posted by Lori at 5:03 PM | Comments (3)