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 in Vancouver Tournament 2007 | May 31, 2007·11:39 PM