It’s cold here today–or really, “cold,” as anyone north of Tampa would be quick to point out. Enough of a change in temperature to require different sartorial decisions, anyway. So, since it’s Friday and it’s a hockey weekend and I’m a slack-ass dresser anyways, I figured there was no harm wearing my team jacket to the office.
Just now it dawned on me that all morning I’ve been strutting around like a high school student in a letterman’s jacket. The narrative in my head immediately switched from my own point of view–ie “My coworkers will respect my athletic status”–to my coworkers’ probable point of view–something like, “Aw…she’s special and childlike.”
Seriously, it took me three hours to realize I looked like I was trying to channel 10th grade game day in your standard office setting. Other people have networking events tonight; I? Am totally going out for milkshakes after the game, geometry homework be damned.
Well, I’m recruiting fans. Getting in the mood. Whatever.
The weather suits the sport, at least. Gets me amped. Besides, as happens with so many other tournaments, going from freezing rink conditions to 90 degrees and humid outside always feels like a Modern-Dance Ode to the Upper Respiratory Infection.
So yeah, yay hockey. The locker room socialization and beer gatherings and general off-the-ice shenanigans are always a huge draw–that’s where you can count on the soul-soothing magic happening. But in the right mindset, that’s not what I’m looking forward to.
After the party it’s the after party…
In the right mindset, my brain keeps going to the feel of my skates cutting through the ice; I repeatedly dream of a backwards crossover, my left outside edge cutting deep underneath me and cranking into acceleration. (And really, I should keep dreaming, ’cause I am not a practitioner of game-ready backwards skating.) I think about eyes up the ice, seeing a linemate streaking and sending a perfect pass through traffic–the way the puck rolls off my stick for a good, really hard pass. (Probably not much different than my wrist shot, just more accurate.) Other visions, a bit less frequent, include one-timers–the almost painful crack of hitting a moving puck with force, against its own momentum–elevated backhands, breakaway moves, even bracing myself in the corner against a crush of players, two hands against the boards, trying to corral the puck with my feet.
This is what I look forward to beforehand. But when it comes down to the real-life game, those visions will have to make room to accommodate the other things that will really happen–the botched shots and whiffed poke-checks and blue-line falls. Of course, those sillier visions have their place, too–those are the ones we’ll talk about over beers in the locker room.