My story began when I was in high school. Now I will stop you before you think I grew up on skates. Far from it. The reason I say it began is that is generally the first I heard about it as far as I can remember. I know that may sound strange to you but just so you know I did not have my early years in Canada. I don’t recall ever having even gone skating until I was a teenager. I have to admit I was lousy at it for sure the first time and petrified! I apparently do not have the natural balance it takes for that. If you ask who knew? I didn’t until that moment but, I soon found that out.
Back to the story. I learned a little bit about hockey watching the local junior team where I lived, as all of my friends wanted to go and watch the games. I was interested as to what all of the rules and what have you were but didn’t learn those for a few years until I started time-keeping for my boy-friend soon to be husband’s team. Being the curious person that I am, as many of you may know, I asked question after question to find out the intricacies of the game. I started playing a little bit of road hockey with friends and soon to be family around that time but was better at watching than playing as my reflexes did not really help me to improve. I didn’t really have the type needed to be very good at that type of sport, haha.
A number of years later while living here in the fair city of Clearwater, I decided to try to see if I could learn the game a bit better by getting out on the ice with some mixed games and the local team for women. I soon realized that it was a good thing that it was really fun because I would never, ever, be a professional. I pretty much accepted the fact and generally puttered slowly around there on the ice. Still somewhat petrified every stride I took during practices even, but, I found that wearing hockey gear did cushion the falls. I tried forward and loved goal-tending since I didn’t have to skate far or fast, although, I had to be helped up a few times, and pulled a groin muscle! I was still having fun though!
The year I got new skates with slightly smaller length blades, unbeknownst to me, because of the junior size (small feet) is the year I quit actually playing the game. The skates were a gift from well-meaning family that thought my lousy skating abilities were because of my lousy skates. Heh heh. It was not that! Well, when I fell face first, luckily wearing a helmet, three times in a row I unlaced my skates for good. I have no doubt there are at least a few others out there who have had similar experiences, we can’t all be pros.
I still go to watch hockey, and if I could skate better probably would have tried coaching at some point, if I could have gotten on the ice without hurting myself. Hockey is after all our game! No matter what you do during the game, if it be watching, playing, time keeping, or being an official, I have found that it seems to draw you in to the enthusiasm of the sport. I will forever continue to be an armchair hockey player and fan, as will most Canadians.
It doesn’t make us love the sport any less!
Let’s hope one of “our” teams is ready and able for the run for the Cup!