I had the most fun playing hockey last night that I’ve had in a long time. So much fun, in fact, that I don’t even mind, too much, the soreness now gathering in my legs.
For those of you that don’t know, I play in an adult ice hockey league Saturday mornings and Sunday nights. When I say mornings and nights, I mean 6:30 AM Saturday mornings and 9:00 PM nights. It can surely be difficult to muster motivation to get to the ice rink at those crazy times, but last night I’m really glad I did, because last night I got to skate on the same line as two of my friends.
When I say friends, I’m talking friends with a capital f, the ones I’ve known since I was a kid and grew up with. The same ones who played street hockey with me on summer nights until the sun went down. And if the sun went down and the game went into overtime we’d keep playing, using the headlights of our cars (or the cars borrowed from our parents) for artificial light until somebody scored a goal to end the game. These are the same guys who would trek with me a mile or so into the woods through the snow just to play a little puck on the the choppy ice of the pond, or as we called it The Icehouse.
We didn’t have a real ice rink or real hockey team in my little hometown of Houtzdale. We didn’t even have a school soccer team (don’t get me started). So we played on the street or on the crappy sheet of ice in the woods, our Stanley Cup not a piece of metal, but the rush you get from competing against and with your friends.
And here we are playing in an organized league, on real ice, against and with guys that were actually taught to skate, and shoot, and didn’t have to figure out the rules from watching games on television. Sometimes it shows, and other times I think we hold our own. Times like last night.
The “Houtzdale Line” did pretty well last night. In fact, we scored all four of our team’s goals in our 4-4 tie against one of the better teams in the league. More than that, though, it was just a lot of fun. Even better, we didn’t have to walk a mile to get to the game.