Hello cats and kittens. It’s that time again where I fill you in on the always gongshow lifestyle of the Union Women’s hockey team. We’re back at school now and started up league play with a promising weekend against Colgate and Cornell. Then Dartmouth and Harvard came along and needless to say we are eager to get back to work again on Monday to make some adjustments. Practices are usually action packed yet still laid back enough to be fun. Monday is a focus on one-on-one battle drills and Tuesday through Thursday are mainly systems and breakout drills. We all look forward to the obvious days- Friday and Saturday.
Game day is a whole different level that cannot be explained. The day is simply better than any other day. If there’s a home game, there is an arbitrary attendance policy to attend class. Just kidding Claudia, of course we go to class on game day. Then the classes end and pre-game skate begins around lunchtime. Players wear sweatpants and everything but pants and shoulder pads. Which for some reason is so much better than full equipment? I, as a goalie, don’t understand what the fuss is all about. The only difference is that people look awkward and out of proportion, and sending a puck into the corner can possibly end somebody’s life. The goalies are in full equipment. I tried not wearing pants and a chest protector one day…not as fun as the forwards say it is.
After pre-game skate is over and nobody is sent to the hospital wing, we go home and wait for pre-game meal, which is always four hours before the game. Depending on game time, we will have either breakfast (pancakes and eggs) or dinner (awkward wheat pasta and chicken). Then that whole ordeal ends, and we go home where the pre-game rituals begin.
Lauren “Oh my Lanta!” Cromartie and I power up the old Nintendo 64 in our living room and put the “Wayne Gretzky 3D Hockey” cartridge into “old reliable” as we call her. The graphics are everything you want them to be and more. We power through the video game like Elsa “Where’s my fanny pack” Breustle powers through warm-ups with her speed skating power turns. Our Gretzky games usually go into sudden death overtime, thanks to the computer glitch that allows a goal to be scored after time has expired. And we always win as long as the goalie doesn’t literally turn into a brick wall, which happens sooner rather than later. The game winning shot either causes the goalie to fly backwards into the boards, or (worst case scenario) the goal spontaneously combusts.
Arriving at the rink is a huge jumble of people superstitious about what socks go on first, where and when they tie their shoes, how many granola bars and pieces of Double Bubble they take, etc. Where sticks are taped is a whole different story, as some will go into the stands and some will stay in the locker room. There are soccer games, juggling displays, and football tosses going around. The team’s go-to game is referred to as “Freugle”. Two tennis balls are tossed around a circle in no particular order. Rules are: there are no rules. Just kidding. Unlike the drag race in the movie Grease, we don’t “play for pinks”, we just play. The only rule is you can’t pass next to you, and if you drop a ball you’re out. I tried to play last year, but I passed next to me and everyone got upset and yelled at me, so like a punished child I only watch the shenanigans of Freugle, and don’t partake. The final two face each other in a “freug-off” where both tennis balls are thrown back and forth. Whoever doesn’t drop the ball wins. Simple, right? Ehhh I dunno. Usually someone will get mad that they dropped it, and proceed to pick up the ball and whip it at whoever threw it to them. It will more often than not, ricochet and nail an innocent bi-stander, such as myself or a nearby light fixture.
We then proceed to do our team warmup, which involves a light to extreme jog around the rink, depending on our captain’s energy level that day. Sometimes it’s slow; sometimes you lose your hip flexors mid-stride and have to go back for any other body parts you’ve lost along the way. We proceed to stretch and loosen up, followed by a few secret handshakes and dances that should never be mentioned to anyone. Lauren “Tea and Trumpets” Hoffman and I perform an oversized chest bump that sends us flying through the stands and usually frightens visiting teams.
Getting back into the locker room players will either get dressed way too fast and sit there for an unusually long period of time before warm-ups, or wait until the last minute to start getting ready. Then we warm up and BOOM game day is finally fulfilled. We do our best to bring everything we have to that game, and our pre game rituals help us find exactly what it is we need to be on a whole new level come game-time.
Peace out cub scouts…