I did it: I pulled the trigger and signed up for the HNA summer league in Philadelphia. At first I was thinking that it would be a nuisance to travel 45 minutes to Oaks and Warminster (the only two rinks in operation last summer) for games, but after getting on the ice for the first time since getting pregnant—at an open skate at UPenn—I was psyched to play hockey again. I'm still not sure I would have signed up if Al hadn't encouraged me to do it, so thanks to Al for the push.SERIAL NUMBER GAME Red Alert2
We (or I—Al just watched) went skating again this past Sunday, and I found I had even more moves than last week, though fewer edges. (Al got my skates sharpened for me when he went to his game in Warminster that night, so hopefully next week will be better). I can't wait to get back on the ice *with my gear on*, although I fear that with the extra 10 lbs. of baby weight I'm still carrying around, my hockey jock (and perhpas other gear) won't fit. God, I hope I can get my shoulder pads on over these enormous boobs...
The summer season starts in June, and with any luck, I'll have the Vancouver tournament as a pre-season warm up. I *love* that tournament, and I have every intention of going if we can get a Spitfire team together. So far there haven't been many replies to Michele's request for players on the Spitfire mailing list; I'm hoping that the few women who did respond will be able to grab a couple friends to bring. If you're interested in playing with us (we play in the lowest bracket), comment on this post and I'll hook you up with Michele for more info.
I went to my first practice with the Galaxy last night out in Oaks. (Did I mention that the league director placed me on the Galaxy, which is Al's team in the Fall/Winter?) Weirdly, I wasn't particularly nervous; now that I think of it, I wasn't nervous (for perhaps the first time ever) in Vancouver, either, so it's not just that I got the jitters out of my system up in Canada. Maybe it's that after taking so much time off, I'm more relaxed on the ice? Maybe motherhood has mellowed me? I'm not sure.
Anyway, I skated fine. Didn't do anything hugely impressive, and only had a few minor embarrassments. Since our captain, Mattias, couldn't make it, Fred (the assistant captain) ran the practice. We did two drills, horseshoe and 2-on-1, and then scrimmaged "to get used to playing like a team." The horseshoe drill went pretty well, but the 2-on-1 was pretty half-hearted (or maybe that was just me); I got the feeling nobody really knew what we were doing (or rather, why we were doing it).
The scrimmage was fun, though I'm not sure it really got us used to playing like a team. I made a mental note halfway through it that "drills are no indication of skills." What I meant was that the very players who weren't very good at either drill were actually much better when it came to playing. I then realized that what these guys were good at were two things that I suck at—namely, protecting the puck and dekeing (how do you spell deke-ing, anyway?)—which are more individual skills than team skills. So this should be an interesting season... I wonder if anyone will pass?
Speaking of passing, I had one nice moment when I managed to knock Fred off the puck (perhaps because he was tired or because I'd lulled him into complacency with my hitherto underwhelming puck-stealing skills) with a good forecheck, and then managed to pass to the fellow (Alan, I think) I saw streaking into the zone out of the corner of my eye. He caught the puck as he came through the slot, shot, and scored. I heard someone whoop, "THAT'S how it's done!" I said to Alan afterwards, "that's what I'm *always* looking for: someone coming through the slot." Seriously guys, I'm an assist machine. I love nothing better than to dig the puck out of the corner and zing it into the slot. Be there or be square. :)