Hockey season is getting into full swing. Soon enough our local high school seasons will begin in earnest and then the rink will really be hopping with action. Although with Canadian Thanksgiving just past us in October and US Thanksgiving just up ahead in November, I’ve been thinking lately how grateful I am to skate and play hockey and to have a great community in which to do so. I moved to the New England area roughly five years ago having never skated before. If anyone would remember my lone visit to a rink with the Girl Scouts almost 40 years ago and how I clung to the side boards you will understand why it does not count in my book. Ok, neither did skating at the improvised ice rink on a flooded rice paddy in Korea 20 years ago; there were no hockey skates only figure skates for girls and speed skates for guys. To get back to the subject, this time of year makes me thankful for many things, including the following (not in any particular order).
1) Title IX. I’m older so I remember when I didn’t have the sports opportunities that young women have now. I remember my older sister having to play boys tennis because there wasn’t a girls team. Remember ½ court basketball because we girls weren’t supposed to be “athletic” enough. Everyday I am active I am happy this was enacted allowing me to play sports. Oh, and the Womens Frozen Four is in the region this year—woot!
2) NWHL and CWHL. Yay! Womens professional hockey. Need I say more? Well, after I get to a game of the Boston Pride, I will at a later date!
3) Womens Hockey Life and its blogs. (Not a plug. Really. And this does not include my blog.) Two recent tips greatly helped, one from a fellow blogger about a different way to handle odd numbers on the bench. I was able to get my coed team to not use a “floater” when we had 11 skaters, but use 3 centers and 2 sets of wings. I wouldn’t have thought of that without you—thanks! And to Coach Kim, who made me aware of circling rather than stopping and starting. I didn’t realize I was doing it and now I make a conscious effort to not do it. That’s right. Me. A Rec player because it all makes me a better player no matter the level.
4) My local ice rinks. I’m thankful that I have local rinks that have beginner adult programs both during the day and at night for adults who want to learn. And I realize that it isn’t like this everywhere. I tip my hat to the program directors who create and maintain programs to get beginners of all ages into the enjoyment of hockey. I realize I’m not going to the NWHL or even the local C league at this point, but I am playing hockey!
5) My fellow women players and all my coaches from when I first started to now. Ladies, and you know who you are, you tolerated me as a “iceberg” (my term for being able to skate but not in great control so everyone else needs to look out for you!) when I invariably would run into you and not know how to pass the puck. I remember how excited I was to carry the puck into the zone—now I know you could’ve taken it at any moment but you wanted me to understand the thrill and the concept. Thanks. And my coaches who bore with me calling a saucer pass a “sausage” pass because that’s what I heard and not understanding “cycling”. I hope all of you (both men and the fabulous women I have coaching me) appreciate I understand some of these things now.
This is just a short list. Perhaps you have your own. Now I need to thank these folks in person, continue to listen and work and start thinking about that wish list for the holidays!