21 June 2000
Bought $312 worth of hockey equipment last night and grinned all the way home. The outfitting process was amusing; the guys at East West Hockey kept handing me stuff in size Small or Xtra Small because to them I seemed "skinny". Obviously they don't know the first thing about hips. They were more realistic about the size jersey I would need to fit over my shoulder pads: XL. They suggested I practice putting on all the gear before showing up at the rink for my first beginner clinic (something I'd planned to do anyway, with help from another female hockey player).

When I got home my roommate was awake and her door was open, so I held up my purchases and announced that I would be modeling everything for her within a matter of minutes. Might as well start practicing right away! I was happy to find that dressing took less than 10 minutes (with the list of steps in front of me and the memory of watching a friend do it, I found it easy). Skates on feet and stick in hand, I marched over to my roommate's doorway. She started laughing immediately. I wasn't offended; I was feeling rather giddy myself. "You look HUGE!" she exclaimed. We chatted for a few minutes about the strangeness of shooting left when you're a righty, and then I took my helmet off. "Oh my god," she exclaimed. "Your head looks like a pea!"

After standing around in full gear for about five minutes, I could understand why it was probably a good thing that ice rinks are so cold. Aside from keeping the ice from melting, it also keeps the players from overheating. All that stuff is HOT!

East West logo
knee bruises

23 June 2000
Went skating at the Ice Chalet in San Mateo for the second night in a row. It's a great rink and usually not too crowded, but last night there was a church group full of rowdy, squealing and shrieking 8-12 year-olds. I managed to stick it out for over an hour, but I left with a splitting headache.

Tonight was a bit quieter, but no less crowded; a birthday party for the 4-8 year-old set was the event of the evening. Less shrieking, but a lot more falling—I was dodging flailing little people all night. Somehow I still managed to find enough space to practice skating backwards. I've got forwards (and even crossovers) down pretty well, but I totally suck going backwards. Usually I freak out and lose my balance and end up looking like one of the flailing 4 year-olds. Last Saturday I actually fell and smacked my face on the ice (though it was my knee that ended up with the enormous bruise). Tonight I planned ahead and brought my gloves, knee pads, hockey socks, hockey jock, and a pair of loose khaki shorts. I figured with the knee pads on I wouldn't be as afraid of falling, and therefore might make more progress.

Whether it was the knee pads that did the trick or just the cumulative ice time, I did manage to go backwards for longer stretches, and I finally figured out how to look over my shoulder without losing my balance (I even got going pretty fast a couple times). That's when I discovered that not knowing how to stop was kind of a problem. Being able to look over your shoulder and see that someone's in your path is all well and good, but you've also got to know what to do with that information. I didn't. When going forward I can swerve, and over time I can slow down, but I can't seem to do either when going backwards. I'm not too worried about it; I figure I'll get better with more practice. And hopefully, hockey stops aren't that far off: my first beginner clinic is on Monday. I can't wait!

hockey blog home | previous | next