6 February 2001
We got our asses handed to us on a platter last night in our game against Excite2—we lost 8-1. Normally I don't care whether we win or lose—I enjoy the skill and speed of Monday night games so much that I come off the ice having forgotten to check the scoreboard. I'm starting to take things too seriously.

Luckily, Sean, a friend of Al's and my teammate on Thursdays (and the guy who taught me what offsides was in my very first pickup game, incidentally) had come to watch last night, and he e-mailed me this morning to say how cool he thought the game was. I realized that he was seeing what I used to see. He didn't think, "god, Lori sucked." He didn't say, "too bad you lost." He said, "Great game last night - very exciting. I'm going to see if I can play in that league."

I really needed that perspective. I spent the time after the game and this morning stewing over a missed opportunity I had on a mini-breakaway, and it was really eating me. To put a positive spin on it, I had managed to distract a defenseman who was bringing the puck out enough that he left it behind him without noticing. I picked it up on the edge of the faceoff circle and briefly considered trying to knock it in from there, but figured (a) I didn't have enough power, and (b) I couldn't hear the guy right on me, so I must have time to skate. I started skating toward the net, trying to figure out when to shoot, when suddenly it was too late. I was too close. I tried to knock it in but hit the side of the net instead.

I was pretty freakin' disappointed. The crushing thing, though, was that my teammates didn't seem disappointed at all. It was like they expected me not to be able to do anything. I talked to Al about it tonight, and I think I've got the self-flagelation out of my system. At least, I hope I do. Anyway, Sean's e-mail really helped remind me that even though I want to get better and help support my team, I need to forgive myself for screwing up and just have fun, enjoy the thrill of flying around the ice, of carrying the puck (even if it's just for a few feet), of making a great pass, of breaking one up. COME OFF THE ICE SMILING, OR IT'S NOT WORTH PLAYING. Jason said that. Or maybe it was Louis...

Speaking of Jason, he wasn't there last night. Don't know if he would have made much difference, but at least he would have been able to match some of Darren's speed and agility. That guy is truly excellent. As Lars, who was watching from the lounge, said, "that number 77 is a joy to watch." I replied, "yeah, from up here. It's not such a joy when you're on the ice with him." Or maybe that's why we get smoked by him so much—we're all mesmerized by his dead-on passes through the tiniest of gaps, his fluid skating, and his speed, and we're caught staring.

Well, we'll have a chance to redeem ourselves on Sunday morning: that's when our make-up game against Excite2 is scheduled (from back when the Zamboni broke). It's incredibly early for us tech types—8am!—but maybe the diminished turnout will work in our favor. I'm looking forward to the rematch.

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