On Sunday I played my first hockey game. Over the summer I slowly accumulated a full set of gear from free and cheap sources with the goal of playing for real somehow, somewhere. With help from the director of the city's sports division, I got accepted as a sub in the local "organized no-check pick-up" league. After nearly a year since my first lesson with the kids' class, blade finally met ice. And then quickly, breezers, shoulder pads, helmet, and blood met ice.
I got my shit rocked - there is no other way to put it - three times. The reality is that my spatial awareness and ability to stop on a dime are mutually exclusive right now. Don't even ask about those combined with stick handling. But the reality is also that my rink-mates' remain somewhat mutually exclusive as well.
The first time: I was coming across center ice looking right to watch for a breakout from a defensive play and so was someone else and we ran smack, stomach-to-stomach into each other - except I'm about 9 inches shorter. All I saw was the crest on his jersey as I face planted into...honestly, his beer belly....and then, of course, nothing but lights. His head snapped forward and between his visored helmet (no cage) and the top of my helmet, his nose got destroyed. There was a fu manchu worth of blood.
The second time: I ran into the back of my teammate as he backed up suddenly.
And the third: I got boarded by another teammate who didn't see me there.
Somewhere my parents are reading this and my mother is hyperventilating. But these are not malevolent guys. They're just full-grown men with 30-60 pound advantages on me. May the physics be never in my favor.
Maybe I should have prioritized equipment that I actually had to pay for.