The weather dude predicted that a big storm was coming in yesterday, lots of wind with rain starting around 9 pm. Figured that the wind would cancel stick time at Iceland, but got an email from Joe around 3:30 saying it was on. Three of the guys from Blue Thunder were planning to be there.
When we arrived they were still pulling back the tarps that protect the ice during the day. As we were getting geared up, two of the BT guys showed up. One of them made a point of greeting Keith, completely ignoring me. Yeah, okay, I was only there for half the class, you don’t really know me, but a “hello” might have been nice. There were also two guys from the current class and a kid. The third BT member, Wes, arrived as we were getting finished up. He did say hello to me, which I expected as we had been “introduced” when he high sticked me once in a class scrimmage. 😉
I moved rinkside and stretched while the Zamboni worked. By the time it was done, everyone except Wes was ready to go. As soon as the snow was shoveled they were out on the ice. Personally I thought it was still a bit wet, but whatever.
I didn’t sleep all that well the night before, so I was a bit tired as I hit the ice. Worse yet, my bitch switch gets quite a bit more sensitive when I’m tired. Which I’m going to blame for what happened next.
The others were busy shoveling pucks at the net as Keith and I worked up and down the boards passing to each other, one skating forward and the other skating backward.
We then set up at the opposite end of the ice from the goal and practiced passing from board to board. And that’s when I started to get irritated. I understand that during a game I’m going to have to be able to pass tape to tape even with other players in the way, but at a stick time I’d consider myself to be incredibly rude if I skated right between two people who are obviously working on passing to each other – even more so if they are set up at the extreme end of the rink, away from where everyone else is.
After that, we joined the masses for some passing/shooting runs at the goal, and my irritation level continued to rise. If I’m skating away from the goal after a run at it, I do it along the boards so that I’m not skating through the next person or pair’s path as they make a run. Apparently not everybody thinks this is a good idea, as several of them skated right between us – both away from and toward the goal – as we were making our run.
Stopped to clear the pucks out of the goal several times. It was interesting to see that the kid, while being sure to pick up and shoot any puck he came across, didn’t once make an effort to retrieve any of the pucks he shot.
The rest of them decided to work on one timers. They took all but two pucks and completely took over the majority of the ice. Neither of us are ready for one timers, so we grabbed a couple of cones, set them up at the extreme other end of the ice and decided to practice tight turns around them.
There were only 8 of us on the ice. While the rink is smaller than regulation size, there should have been plenty of room for all of us to work on whatever we wanted without feeling like we were in the way (or getting taken out by someone). There was no reason for any of them to need to skate between the cones, and yet I repeatedly had to slow down to avoid a collision. I guess I kind of expected it from the kid – consideration for others generally isn’t high on the list of things young boys are thinking about. But the adults…
My irritation level was getting very, very close to activating the bitch switch. I got a wild hair and decided to make a run at the goal, right through their drill. Missed my shot, skated off to the board and was waiting for them to make their next pass before I skated back to the other end. As I was standing there patiently waiting, the next guy fired the puck right toward me. Not at my stick, not at my skates, no, he elevated it so it wizzed past me, a few inches away, at about waist level.
Bitch switch activated. Lucky for them, I don’t usually explode when it turns on. Instead, I retreat and let it out by making snarky remarks under my breath. I skated over to Keith and let him know that I was done and why, then went to the benches at the extreme end of the rink and sat down. Drank some water in the hopes that my irritation level would drop – both skydiving and backpacking have taught me that when I get bitchy, it can mean that I’m getting dehydrated. It may have been working, as I was thinking about getting back out there and doing some stationary puck handling practice.
That thought went right out the window when one of the other guys skated over and TOOK THE LAST REMAINING PUCK with him back down to their group. Oh yeah. Now I’m REALLY fucking done! Iceland provides pucks for stick time; did we not pay the same amount as they did for the privilege of using them?
Sat there and stewed while Keith finished wearing himself out around the cones. After five or so minutes, he was done too. We gathered our stuff and headed for the gate, politely timing it so that we wouldn’t interrupt their drill. Not that they noticed or appreciated it.
We were only a few miles from the rink when it started to rain. I know it was wrong of me to be glad they weren’t going to get the full two hours in. But I was.
It’s now the next morning and, as you can probably tell, I’m still a bit miffed. I’m not going to let it sour me on playing hockey, but for the moment it has soured me a bit on some hockey players. I did learn a valuable lesson – the risk of injury is not the only reason to not skate when you are tired.
On a happier note, this morning I found a website with a bunch of articles by a female hockey player/coach – http://www.totalfemalehockey.com Lots of great stuff there on conditioning and strength training for women.