Sorry for the long silence here; I'd intended to post right after the first practice of the NEW SEASON(!), but as those of you who read my avocado8 blog have probably figured out, I've been in the middle of a perfect storm of responsibilities and demands on my time. Whether those things led to the downward spiral in the self-confidence department or whether that downward spiral was just part of the storm, I have no idea; all I know is that it's been a struggle lately. The good news is that hockey—and, I suspect, writing about it—pulled me out of my last major depression (in 2000), so I have every incentive to play and to write about it here.
Despite walking/running in the mornings for over a month and feeling like I was in decent shape cardiovascularly, I found myself out of hockey shape when I took the ice for our first practice on September 24. I felt a big sluggish, and the quickness I'd started to see the first signs of at the end of last season was completely absent. I could get a bit of speed going now and then, however, which was nice.
It was great to see so many women come out to play, several for the first time. We'll be having two squads this year—a UWHL C team, which will consist mostly of players from last year's UWHL D team, and a non-league developmental team—and we're sharing the practice ice to save a little dosh. We did a few drills all together, and then we split up roughly into our squads (which weren't actually decided at that point; the split was based more on whether you wanted to work on basic skating and hockey skills or slightly more advanced team drills).
I actually missed the second practice because I had to fly to Chicago for MAX (and I'm missing the fourth practice tonight because I'm in Chicago again at the moment, on my way to San Francisco), but I was there for a UWHL C/MAWHL C scrimmage on Saturday the 6th (my 5th wedding anniversary, as it happens). I was still in a bit of a fog mentally after a rough week, but that sort of fit with the ice conditions, as you can see:
I don't think I've ever been so hot in my life while on the ice. Since we only had 7 players on one bench and 8 on the other (we mixed up to the teams), we took breaks every 10-15 minutes or so to get a little extra air. Some women laid down on the ice to cool off; I skated in slow circles just to keep the cool air circulating through my gear. It was nuts (of course, the weather outside was the reason; it was in the the high 80s, which is insane.)
Anyway, in addition to fog, the video features Shelly carrying the puck into the zone, passing, and then forechecking; and Nielle, our goalie, skating out. Here's the proof that the skater in the red socks at the end really was Nielle:
I'm hoping that (a) I'll have some photos and videos to post from our first league game shortly, and (b) that the trip to San Francisco helped clear my head enough that I'll be back to my old self both on and off the ice by Monday. Stay tuned.