The short version? It ain’t pretty, but it’s fun.
I grew up in the land of palm trees and white sand. I never saw snow until I was 12 years old when I took my first skiing trip out to Colorado with my Mom. The sparkly white frost was a completely novel thing for me and even more so, the ice rink next to our resort that I was hoping to skate on. Except that I didn’t know how to ice skate.
Ice skating wasn’t a thing in Florida when I was a kid. Of course there were ice rinks, but the closest one was 45 minutes from my house and my afternoons were filled with tennis, horses, and homework so there wasn’t any extra time to learn how to ice skate.
Fast forward to 2014 and I have lived in New England for close to a decade. Ice skating is much more common here than down south and most adults I know have done some type of ice skating in their life, whether it be figure skating or hockey. Last Fall, my son surprised me when he begged me for two weeks to play hockey.
I’m not sure he actually knew what hockey was but his best friend from school was spending his Saturday mornings at the local rink and “could he please play too, please?” I made a deal with him that the hockey gear would be a birthday present and he had to finish the seven week session, even if he didn’t love the sport. Deal.
Then I became a hockey mom. I learned how to put his pads on, tighten his laces, and spent hours sitting in the stands watching him skate and fall, skate and fall. Something clicked and I realized that I wish *I* could play hockey. Some google searching later that night helped me to learn about the Providence College Jr Friars “Moms Hockey League.”
I forwarded the info to some girlfriends and asked them to play with me. Crickets. The timing wasn’t right, it was right before the holidays and people are busy with their families so I let that dream die for a little while. That is, until my dear friend Sherry posted a picture of herself in full hockey gear on Facebook in December.
I texted her and begged to join her. She was playing in the MHL, my dream! I got some gear together and joined her the following week. Usually, the less-advanced players spend the hour doing skills work and learning the basics, however the first week I showed up was during school vacation so the rink was filled with swarms of the MHL mom’s kids. Kids who could skate and play hockey so well that I might as well have been a cow out there with ice skates. Since the kids were there, we played “real” games and I did my best to stay upright and not take anyone out since I don’t even know how to stop on ice skates. Fifty minutes later and a bleeding foot (due to skates not fitting properly), I hobbled off the ice and couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. SO MUCH FUN.
I’ve skated three nights so far and it gets better every time. I have so much more respect for hockey players now after realizing that ice hockey is exponentially harder than other sports, mostly because you’re balancing on tiny steel blades, on ice while trying to move a microscopic puck with a long stick. Every time I see a hockey player skate backwards like it’s not big deal, I will remember my humbling attempt at skating backwards, at a very slow pace.
The best part of learning how to play hockey in my thirties is that I’ve got a new way to stay active and a sport to learn from scratch. Hopefully, soon I will have a better idea of what icing, offsides and all the other hockey jargon means. Until then, I’m going to enjoy my sore legs and garage filled with hockey gear.
- Want to learn more about the Moms Hockey League?
Visit ProvidenceJrFriars.org & email the lovely Shaunette.