Tonight. Ice Hockey. Hanley Rink. 7PM. Bring beer, canned and cold. There’s little else that needs to be said. Or is there?
To those of you who don’t obsess about getting a tiny puck in a net while skating on ice, let me back up a little bit. Tonight is Co-Ed Hockey’s Championship game. Nine teams have been battling out since late November. Two have made it to the top: Property Management and my team, the Buck.
A few words about my team. We’re great. Let that be said. But for the Buck, being great is less about our skill on the ice and more about our enthusiasm while playing. Our chutzpah. We have cheers that center around male genitalia. We pound each other’s helmets and scream “good stuff” to each other when we manage to stay upright during a shift. We dress in costume for big games (think super hero for tonight) and drink lots of beer together after our games (and sometimes before).
But, to be honest, we played terribly all year. We were second from the bottom going into play-offs. Yet, somehow, against all odds, we won our last three games and made it to the championships.
Perhaps, you’re thinking to yourself that you have better things to do with your Friday evening than to watch grown men and women pack themselves in gear that smells worse than the bathrooms on most buses and chase each other on the ice. I used to feel the same.
For years, my husband, Andy, played Co-Ed hockey and would come home reeking of beer and raving about the game. “You should play,” he’d say and try to mess with me and slip into bed without showering. I’d stick my leg across the bed, blocking him. “No way,” I’d say. I didn’t get it. Hockey was on Friday and Sunday nights. I’d have to get a babysitter. It seemed like a lot of work.
After years of his stories on the ice, though, something in me caved. I’d grown up playing field hockey and lacrosse. As a kid, I played hockey in the streets with my brothers. I’d gone to all of their games and to Andy’s games. Why shouldn’t I try it out?
Now I’m into my second year of hockey and am completely obsessed. This year, I signed up for the women’s team, in addition to co-ed, so I could have even more ice time. Last week, when I got a goal, I was so pumped, I slapped every single hand on my team. With the grin that was plastered across my face for the rest of the game, you would have thought I’d won the Nobel Peace Prize.
There’s something about the game that is all encompassing. When I’m out on the ice, I don’t think about any other part of my life—job, house, carpool. I have to admit, I don’t even think about my kids. I just think about that puck and trying to position myself correctly. There’s something incredibly liberating about that. No phone. No email. Just play.
And at this level of hockey, there’s also so much possibility. There’s the possibility that you could fall on your ass when there’s no one else around. There’s the possibility that you could get a goal. And there’s the possibility, that you could win a championship after losing almost every game during the regular season. Dreams can happen. Come check us out tonight. We need every voice yelling “good stuff” when we win another round.
Thanks, Elyse Rothschild and Grace Engbring, hockey stars, for the photos.