Monday night in Potsdam. Time for the players to lace up their skates and get out onto the ice. Clarkson versus St. Lawrence? Nope. Senators versus Sabres? Nope. (And probably not for a long long time, sorry hockey fans.) Just a local pickup game with a bunch of over-the-hill faculty and staff from Clarkson.
I started playing hockey much like I started luging and riding, to late in life to do anything by enjoy it as a fun activity that gets me working out (The Whalers are definitely not scouting me.). And much like luge and riding I’m not the best out there. Heck, of the three I am the “worst” at hockey (Here worst is a relative thing. We always have new people in the luge club, and so I am a midpack competitor there. And I will ride with any of you all. We can see who quits first ;)) Three years ago I was asked to join this league. I had a pair of skates that were 20 years old when I bought them 10 years ago and no equipment. I couldn’t skate backwards, and I never skated with a stick. But there I was on the ice, skating away. The day after my first game? Well I couldn’t walk. I was so sore.
Our league is a pretty even combination of Americans and Canadians. Most of the guys played when they were kids. One or two played a little college. (I played chess and Dungeons and Dragons.) But its a good group to play with. They are patient. They pass the puck (even when I
probably might not control it). And three years later, I’m better. I can skate backwards. I can even switch between forwards and backwards when I skate (I remember at the end of last year defending a 3-on-1. The guy in the middle with the puck thought he was just going to go past me, well cause it was me. I switched from forward to backward, swept my stick and poked the puck away, yeah me!). I have a carbon composite stick (they tell me it will allow me to shoot harder, still doubting that, but who can turn down carbon fiber!) I still don’t score a lot, but I do score sometimes. I try to carry the puck and not pass it right away when I get it. Sometimes I make a good pass. And most importantly my equipment matches.
This year hockey is especially important. It’s a way for me to maintain a base level of fitness through the long dark winter. And its a way for me to do that away from my bike.
Regardless, I have fun. I smile when I am done (once or twice it was a grimace rather than a smile). And I am always drenched when I am done for the night.
Yes, Monday night in Potsdam is a night for comic relief. Come on by Cheel Arena and watch. It’s either very funny or very painful depending on how much you love the sport.