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In hockey, as in life, there are nine things that keep you safe.  Actually, in life there are probably way more than nine things that keep you safe.  Or less, if you’re trying to be pithy.  Which I am.  But the in _________, as in life cliché was too much for me to resist.  Sue me, I’m weak.  The hockey part is true though.  In hockey, there are nine things which keep me safe.  You’d think this would lead me to love these nine things.  And you’d be right 2.5/9 of the time [OK, fine, it’s actually more like 3/9 of the time, but then I’d have to reduce it to 1/3, and that’s math, and math is hard.  Plus, 2.5/9 sounds much cooler than 1/3.  Because ninths are cooler than thirds.  Don’t ask me why; that’s just the way it is.].  1/9 of the time, you’d be wrong.  Dead wrong.  So very, very dead wrong.  Because, you see, 1/9 of the time, I have the hate.  The deep hate.  The abiding hate.  The deep, abiding hate.  Hate so deep and abiding it’s like flaming, flames, flames on the side of my face <insert Madeline Kahn, Mrs. White voice here> [What?  Uh, it’s from Clue.  Who hasn’t seen Clue?  Ah.  People who aren’t old.  Right.  That’s . . . valid.  I guess.  Moving on.]  Hate.  I has it.


The other 5/, fine, 5.5/9 of the time?  Ambivalence.  I mean, I’m grateful, but still, ambivalent.  Gratefully ambivalent?  Ambivalently grateful?  Whatever.  Allow me to explain.  [You don’t want an explanation?  Then don’t click.  Idjit.]


In which I talk, totally appropriately, about my equipmentCollapse )


Current Mood:
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A disturbing trend has begun to permeate my Sundays.  Two games, two rinks, two hours between start times.  “But,” you say “the title here was *three* up, goalie down, what’s with this *two* nonsense?”  Seriously, people, a little patience, a little respect for pace and storytelling and . . . fine!  I did two games at the first rink, but that’s not the . . .what . . .because they asked me to, and I’m kind of a slut for ice time.  What?  Who are they?  And what do I mean by “kind of?”  You know what?  I’m not going to dignify that second one with a response.  As for the first one, well, for that I’m going to need to delve a bit into my hockey circumstances



My Hockey CircumstancesCollapse )


Current Location:
The big chair
Current Mood:
accomplished accomplished
Current Music:
Nicky coughing
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Dear Vesa Toskala,

Thank you so much for ruining my life.  I know, I know, you didn't mean to do it; you thought you were being kind; really, things are better this way.  I'm not buying it.  You knew what you were doing when you loaned that stick to Goalie Coach Made of Awesome.  You knew he'd loan it to me for 5, blissful moments when I could actually handle the puck.  You knew I'd ask where he got it, and he'd say, all off-hand-like, "Oh, Toskala loaned it to me, then left it behind when he moved to Toronto."  And I'd say "Oh, well, where can I get one?"  And he'd say "Well, it's just a standard DiPietro Itech, but I think Toskala did some stuff to it."  And I'd say "What stuff?"  And he'd say "I don't know.  Stuff."  And I'd go and get a basic DiPietro Itech and it wouldn't be the same, and I'd be unable to handle the puck, which wouldn't be so bad if it weren't for those few, glorious moments when everything was perfect. 

So, here are your choices:

1) You can play so brilliantly in Toronto that Itech will give in and market your stick to the hoi polloi (or at least to me).  Granted,  this one's a given, but Itech can be stupid, so it could take us some time.  Which brings us to

2)  You can give up this whole NHL thing, move into a tent in my backyard, and spend your time doctoring sticks for me.   Frankly, I think it's only fair.  After all, you're the reason I'm suffering in the first place.   As an added bonus, I'm thinking that, come winter, I could even clear out some space in the garage should your tent get cold.

I leave the choice entirely up to you.  I know you'll do the right thing, which is why I'm taking tomorrow off to build a windbreak in the east cornor of the yard.  I believe we have many years of happy co-existence ahead of us, but, until then
No love,

Current Location:
Current Mood:
cranky cranky
Current Music:
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Today I break free from the vicious circle in which I have trapped myself.  

"Vicious?"  you say.  "A circle?" you ask.  Yes.  You see, my friends, it goes like this.

Stage 1: Oooooh, that was cool.  I should post it on Thwam so I can remember it, even after being hit in the head by many, many pucks.

Stage 2: Oh.  Wait.  No.  I promised I'd finish writing about the class.

Stage 3: But, but, but the class was so long ago I can barely remember it, let alone write an interesting (even to me) summary.

Stage 4: Very well, then.  I shall do nothing.

Stage 5: Hey, you know what I should do today?  Play hockey.

Return to Stage 1.  

"Wow."  you say "That is vicious."  "Yes."  I reply.  "And also a circle."  But today, I am breaking out!  What, you might wonder, has freed me from this inept spiral?  What, indeed!  I have gotten new pads.

Wait!  Where are you going.  Dude, this is cool. Seriously.  See.
Current Location:
Current Mood:
ditzy ditzy
Current Music:
Guster, I Spy
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In which DB Schwein is a big meanie-head, Wha Wa is inspirational, and I thwam.  On purpose.

Once more we descend into Ninth Circle.  I tell you, it’s been a few weeks since I’d visited here, and I’d convinced myself it couldn’t be as bad as I remember.  Turns out, it could be.  The screams of the little ones doomed to skate forever in this unrelenting pit of fluorescence echo up the stairs.  Oh, wait, that’s just the youth hockey game that happens before our class.  Still, it’s appropriate.

I’m slightly closer to on-time today, but not so close that there’s space for me in the locker room.  I didn’t want to climb those stairs anyway.  So there. 

Aside: at the moment, I’m sitting on the floor attempting to watch Supernatural (which is Craptastic and, like Goalie Coach, Made of Awesome).  Sadly, my viewing pleasure has been severely dampened by DB Schwein, Goalie Enforcer, who has smacked me on the back of the head, shouting “type, wench.”  Apparently, one mulligan is all I get to call.  DB Schwein, Goalie Enforcer is a big meanie.

So, where was I?  Oh, yes.  I didn’t want to climb the stairs anyway.  Once again, I’m still changing when Wha Wa begins his speech.  Not entirely my fault, there isn’t much room here.  While there are fewer goalies, there are a full 40 people in the class.  Now, Supernatural informs me that 40 is the number of death, so I begin to worry.  Then again, Supernatural also informs me that you can fix almost anything by covering it with salt and burning it.  So, would be net-crashers?  You have been warned.

The pre-show talk has two major points.
1) The practical:   when doing a hockey stop, it’s important to keep your foot flat on the ice.  Don’t roll your ankle or try to go to one edge or the other.  Dig in the outside edge and you’ll go over forwards.  Dig in the inside edge and, uh, something else bad happens.  I don’t know, I was strapping my pads at that point.  Hey, the strap that goes under my right skate is really hard to buckle.
2) The inspirational: go hard.  Do everything as hard as you can, as fast as you can.  Fall down.  Fall down a lot.  If you’re not falling, you’re not trying.  If you already know the thing we’re learning; work on doing it perfectly.  Practice makes what? 

Us: Perfect!

Wha Wa: No!  Permanent.  Only perfect practice makes perfect.  All practice makes permanent. 

I really want to make a cheesy joke here, but actually, that’s kinds cool.  Stupid Wha Wa and his stupid, actually helpful twists on old clichés.  Onto the ice!



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In which Wha Wa mixes it up a bit, Little Lord Jim takes unauthorized shots, and I thwam slightly less that you might expect.


This time around could not have started more differently than the last one.  Last time, I was the first one there, and walked into an empty locker-room.  This time, I could not find many things, had to go back home many time, and may actually have been the last person there.  There was no space for me in the locker room – I had to dress out in the lobby, which was fine, ‘cause Wha Wa was ready to start the pre-show talk.  One thing hasn’t changed, though – I’m still the slowest dresser in the history of the world.  Seriously folks, civilizations rise and fall in the time it takes me to buckle my pads.  Fortunately, Wha Wa has a lot to say.  Also fortunately, I’ve heard most of it, so I can dress and listen at the same time.  He gives us the “hockey is awesome and also something you can play ‘til you’re seriously old, and you’re going to love it” which sounds a little hokey, but is actually seriously awesome and a little inspiring.  Every time he gives the speech, I picture myself 70 years old, hair all white, tottering along on my skates, making wicked saves and just being generally awesome.  It’s a great image.  I’ll be Granny the Goalie.  Children will fear glove hand and after I stop their slapshots, I shall give them a lemon drop to make them feel better. 


Anyhoo, Wha Wa then moves on to the co-ed locker room speech.  “We are a team.  We dress together.  Get over it.”  I remember it from last time.  This time, however, he goes into a bit more detail.  There’s a lot about “thinking through what you wear and what you should put on before you get to the rink.”  Huh.  I wonder if someone was flashing their wiggly bits before I got there.  Wha Wa also points out that this is usually a much bigger problem for the gentlemen (pre-dressing, not wiggly bits.  I have no comment on how the gentlemen feel about wiggly bits).  He’s right.  Women who play sports have been playing on co-ed teams every since they can remember.  In college, I was on the men’s fencing team for a year, ‘cause the women’s team didn’t have the weapon I wanted.  We had separate dressing rooms, but only one armory.  Yeah, I know, it’s not the same thing, but the point remains.  In general, women show up expecting to be the minority, and the thought that there may only be one locker room does occur to us.  Finally, we get the speech about being on time.  Shut up, I’m almost dressed.



Current Mood:
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In which I tie up a few loose ends.


I would like to take a moment to be as serious as I’ll ever be in this space.  In weeks past I have (and in weeks to come, I will) mocked certain individuals: Wha Wa Coach, who’s indistinct voice leads me to slink back into the second group so I can make the first group demonstrate what we’re supposed to be doing; Little Lord Jim, who never met a skater he wouldn’t abandon in order to take shots on the goalies; even Goalie Coach Who Is Made Of Awesome, though not very much ‘cause he’s made of AWESOME.  Despite all this, I would hate to leave anyone with the impression that these gentlemen are, in any way deserving of this mockery, when, in fact, the opposite is true.  All of these guys rock.  Seriously.


Wha Wa Coach has a day job that, I’m sure, takes up plenty of his time and energy.  Still, he hauls himself out to Elysian Ice or Ninth Circle faithfully every Sunday to teach a group of adults how to play hockey.  None of his students will ever make it in the NHL.  When you’re taking a beginner class as an adult, that ship has sailed.  This job won’t make him rich or earn him a shout-out at the ESPYs.  Doesn’t matter.  He shows up ready to work every Sunday, and, along with hockey fundamentals, he works to instill in us a passion for this game we’re learning.  His love of the game is palpable, and he goes to great lengths to share it.  Every member of the class has his email address, and no question – no matter how simple or stupid – goes unanswered.  Years after you’ve left the class, you can still email him, and he’ll still answer.  How cool is that?


Little Lord Jim likewise shows up every Sunday, and for all the grief we (I) give him about scooting off and shooting on the goalies, he is the one who’s always willing to stop and answer a question or fix a piece of equipment.  While Wha Wa has to keep the whole class moving, Little Lord Jim can, and will, take the time to answer individual questions.  Not only that, but he manages to help with the most basic issues without ever making the asker (me) feel stupid (even when I am).


Goalie Coach Who Is Made Of Awesome.  What can I say here?  He got the call mid-way through the class, and he so rose to the occasion.  His enthusiasm never waned, no matter how badly his students (me) performed.


This whole hockey thing is much harder than it looks, but every bit as fun as I imagined it would be.  Without this class and these guys, I never would have picked it up, and all the mocking before or after doesn’t change that.  Thanks guys.  You rock.

Current Mood:
grateful grateful
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In which I call a mulligan.


Ok, so some of you may have noticed that I’m falling behind.  Way behind.  Way, way, waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay behind.  There is no excuse for this, except for the fact that I am a lazy schlub who would rather sleep than write.  But while I was falling behind, a thing happened.  The class ended.  And, at the end of said class, there were three goalies (Other Other goalie having proved himself too good for us and moved on to a higher level in the league) and two teams.  The grand master of the league declared that goalies one and two would be put on the teams, and goalie three would take the class again (for free!) and become the goalie of the new class’ team.  Oooooo, I said.  Pick me!  PICK ME!  He picked me.  And so, my friends, it all begins again.


“But wait” you say “what happened in the rest of the first round of classes?”  You really want to know?  Fine.  Thwam happened.  What?  That’s not enough for you.  Fine.  I’ll give the three line description for each class.  You want more details than that?  Leave a comment.  I’ll get back to you.  Honest.





That’s all folks!  Tune in next week when we return to class one, and I re-attempt to learn to skate.

Current Mood:
embarrassed embarrassed
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In which only two goalies show up, the patron saint of actors and hockey players attends, and I refuse to leave my knees.


Ninth Circle.  Home of the stairs of pain, the stairs of doom, and the flashing of five year olds. 

Other Goalie is sick.  Other Other Goalie is traveling.  Not So Other As Other Other Goalie But Otherer Than Other Goalie Goalie and I are left alone to uphold goalie honor.  We shall do our best.


As if this weren’t enough pressure, Maria Nicolette Arvan Robinson Greer, patron saint of actors and hockey players (but only when they don’t do both at the same time, thus avoiding any association with Ribeiro, Mike or Avery, Sean) came to watch practice.  And she brought a camera.  Excellent.  And so it begins


Current Mood:
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In which goalie coach is still made of awesome and we all take shots


Elysian Ice is the happiest place on earth, and I am glad to be here again.  As always, I get there early, because, as I’ve said before, I dress slowly.  Unlike always, I got there without a stick.  This is not helpful.  Goalies need sticks.  Have you watched an NHL game where the goalie loses his stick?  He looks sad.  Bereft.  Almost like a piece of his soul has been ripped from his hand.  That’s how I felt, except not quite so strongly, because, dude, it’s just a stick.  Fortunately for me, Not So Other As Other Other Goalie But Otherer Than Other Goalie Goalie really hates his sticks.  You see, Not So Other As Other Other Goalie But Otherer Than Other Goalie Goalie is tall, and his sticks are short.  This is not a winning combination.  So he decides he wants to run to the local hockey shop and buy a new stick.  Then I can use his other one.  The hockey shop is 10 minutes away.  My house is 30.  This is a good thing.  30 minutes later (what, you thought he was just going to grab the first stick he saw?  Not So Other As Other Other Goalie But Otherer Than Other Goalie Goalie is stick picky.  He likes ‘em big and shiny.) we’re back at the rink.  This is less time than I like to have to get dressed, but at least now I have a stick for



Current Mood:
excited excited
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