Thursday, January 24, 2013

7 Hours until the Puck Drops!

Yes, I’m a grown adult and the NHL will never come calling.  I’m fortunate though to lace up the skates several times per week to play hockey.  This is no small feat.  You find out what is most important in life when things are taken away from you.  There was a time when I physically couldn't skate.  Today I can skate so I will skate while I can!

It was 3 years ago this month that I started playing ice hockey for the first time in my life.  A good friend whom I’d played softball with told me that if I could learn to play hockey the way I play shortstop, I might be really good at hockey.

My ego bought this line of hot air three years ago but 3 years later, I can tell you that being a good shortstop has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with being good at hockey.  For Tim, he won that conversation because I consumed his complement and went to Play It Again Sports to buy a bunch of used smelly equipment to start my journey.  I've never once regretted this journey.

This journey has resulted in fitness, relationships and a healthy adrenaline rush every time my Red team puts a puck in the net.  Scoring goals never gets old.

Hockey likely saved my life in September of 2010 so I’m forever grateful to Tim for talking me into starting hockey.  The first three month of my hockey career were painful, mentally tough and massively damaging to the ego. It is hard enough to breathe at 6,000, 8,000 and 8,500' where I live and play hockey. Hockey played at high elevation takes the simple act of breathing to another level.

I had never watched hockey on TV.  When I first started, I learned the rules by way of hearing the referee’s whistle blow in my proximity.  I would turn to the ref and ask what was wrong.  He would look at me as if I were brain dead and would explain what I’d done.  I took a mental note every time this happened and I soon knew the rules.  Tim's promise to have his guys teach me the rules didn't happen so I had to learn the hard way.

Thursday night is my favorite night of the week because I get to skate with my buddy Gary.  Gary and I have skated on the Red team at Colorado College for 3 years now.  This past summer, I skated with Gary on Sunday nights in a fast-paced adult pick-up hockey setting where we worked on our passing from June through August. On the weekends, we meet at the frozen pond for pond hockey.

Gary is the good looking guy on the left in this picture.

When Gary is there, our passing is phenomenal and we score goals.  Please take this in stride if you've played hockey your entire life like some guys I play with have.  We’re talking about an adult novice hockey league where the average age on my team is easily 40 years old. 

When Gary and I are on the ice together, we don’t have to speak, we just know where the other guy is and we know where the puck needs to go next.  We've had nights where I've scored 3 goals and all three assists came from Gary.  Other nights, Gary gets all the goals and I get the assists.  Other nights, we don’t score but our passing causes others on our team to score.  We care about winning and we're not concerned about who gets the goals.

I can always come up with business topics to write about but on Thursdays in particular, I feel like a little kid.  The closer the clock gets to our game time and the time when the puck drops, the more excited I am to be alive.

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