So yes, I'm behind in hockeyblogging. Yadda yadda yadda, what else is new? Instead of listing all the things I haven't written about yet and still hope to get to, I'll just jump in out of order and say that I played my first game on Al's team last night.
Al has been playing on this team at the Igloo in Mt. Laurel, NJ for a few seasons now (one of which coincided, and often conflicted, with my Freeze practices during the fall and winter). Most of the guys from that team decided to join an over-30 league with an abbreviated late-summer season in between spring league and the main fall/winter season, and I asked if I could share a spot with Al. (We can play in the same games and pay a $20 sub fee if we want to, but I'm not sure we will; sub fee + sitter is expensive.)
This particular league is so small (originally 3 teams, now 4) that I ended up playing the same team in the second game of the season that Al played in the first game. There were apparently some differences between the two games, however; while the opposing team was just as fast and experienced as in the first game, they had fewer players, and we had a few more ringers. As a consequence, we won the second game by an overtime goal, where as the first game was a loss.
This was my first game since a tournament in April, and my second time on the ice since then, and as was to be expected, I was rusty. I thought I improved over the course of the game, spazzing less (DUDE, SKATE WITH THE PUCK INSTEAD OF DUMPING IT FORWARD!), making and catching a couple decent passes, and mixing it up with my check, but the first period was kind of awful. I was reminded of how slow I seem when playing with mixed-level men.
If I did nothing to help the team except provide a rest for the ringers, playing last night did make me want to play again. I didn't find it nearly as angst-inducing as I might once have to know that I was among the weakest players on the ice, and I'm eager to get back out there just to get in a comfortable groove, build my confidence back up, and mabye even make a move or two. I know from playing at pickups and the aforementioned tournament that I can beat goalies if I can just get in there and get a shot off. I did also wish that I were already back practicing with the Freeze, though, because I could use some reminders about what to do in certain situations, and practice doing it.