4 October 2000
I felt *so tough* tonight. Not sure what got into me... Maybe it was the thrill of finally being one of the more coordinated people at the beginner clinic? During the scrimmage I fought like a maniac for the puck, especially along the boards. My passes are still kind of weak, but I'm getting good at close-in play. Yay!

I think some of my confidence tonight came from the passing and shooting drills we worked on before the scrimmage; I scored twice on the goalie in my first three tries. We also did a fun relay-race drill that got us skating quickly while practicing stickhandling.

Since Shaun's been away (maybe for good?), the clinics have been less organized and less satisfying (last week's made me downright pissed), but we got a little bit of skill work in tonight. I think the fact that class attendance exploded at the same time Shaun left compounded the problem. New instructors with less-booming voices don't seem equipped to deal with 30 unruly adults ranging in skill level from barely iceworthy to "I'm ready for the NHL" hotdogger.

The Night Owl B season starts tomorrow night (yay!!). I know I'm on yellow this time around, but I don't know my jersey number yet. I guess I'll find out when I get to the rink tomorrow night. My team has late game tomorrow, and so does my Division C team on Monday night. We finally got 6 teams fleshed out for that league: Inktomi, Exite@Home1, Excite@Home2, BlueMartini, Net Appliance, and The Hoffman Agency. I'll be playing for Hoffman. This is going to be GREAT!

My new jersey. I'm #2!

5 October 2000
It's actually the wee hours of October 6, but since I haven't been to bed yet, I still consider it Thursday. I figure I might as well stay up to write about our game; I drank so much Gatorade that I have to get up to pee every 10 minutes anyway.

As usual, I had SO MUCH FUN playing! I've still got to work on a *lot* of things, but I think it's starting to come together for me. I really feel like I'm in the game most of the time, and some of what I'm doing is *actually working*! Like tonight, I managed to backcheck the puck carrier well enough that she couldn't see that one of her teammates was in the zone, and they were called for offsides.

I also managed to steal the puck a couple times when forechecking, mostly just by being in the way (I actually caught a puck in the ribs on one occasion; luckily, it wasn't a hard shot). Pat was the real body blocker, though—he managed to dive in front of the net at least three times to stop a shot. Way to take one for the team, Pat!!

I was a complete maniac on the bench, yelling to my teammates on the ice non-stop. GET OUT! TAKE HIM ON! KEEP IT IN! MAN ON! SHOOT!!! I wasn't as good about yelling when *I* was on the ice. One time I passed around the back of the net to where Gary had been... but no longer was. I should have shouted a heads-up before I sent the puck around. My one on-ice shouting experiment ("SHOOT IT AROUND THE BOARDS!") only served to confuse my teammate, who passed the puck to me instead of the open man on the other side. Oh well.

John B. (who's also captain of my Monday-night team) was playing LD on one of my shifts, and he tipped me off before the faceoff that he'd always pass up the boards—so be on the lookout. Unfortunately, I haven't gotten the hang of figuring out the puck speed. One time I skated past it, and at least twice it blew by me. The latter is what usually happens, and I thought I just wasn't good at receiving passes. Now I can see that it's just a matter of judging the puck speed and being at the right spot at the right time. Gary tells me that raquetball helps hone this skill, though with all the hockey games, who has time for raquetball?

Al practicing his slapshots.
It's probably obvious from the photos that he's on red team this season.
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