Well, the second week of my women only power skating/ice hockey skills clinic has come and gone and I tell you talk about having to check my ego at the door. I signed up for Ice Hockey this year and thankfully found a clinic to take at the same time and took the plunge and dove right into both, with a gut full of fear, my head questioning my mental stability and my heart smiling the whole way.
Seriously, I never thought of myself as being overly competitive nor did I think that I had an overly high ego, however this clinic is proving to me one thing, whatever competitive streak I may have, and wherever the hell my ego may sit I may as well leave it all in the dressing room because when I step on that ice it’s a completely different world. One that is certainly foreign to me. Skating is not easy, and I don’t care what anyone says I don’t think it comes naturally. Now don’t get me wrong, I can only go up from here and up I will go and hope to go quite quickly but man oh man will I take a beating while I climb.
First off, thankfully I know the game, I understand the positions, off side, icing, where and when a play is stopped and started (usually) etc. Three years of ball hockey has certainly afforded me that info…thankfully! Don’t get me wrong, a few rules differ and I am no expert, but the general concept and rules I do at least understand.
Now, putting on equipment is thankfully straightforward and although I miss my step dad tightening up my skates, I can manage just fine without his assistance, I am a big girl, but honestly he does a much better job than I ever will!
Some of the women in my clinic are friggin rock stars, I will admit I am completely jealous of how they so gracefully swish across the ice, doing beautiful crossovers, stopping on a dime and speeding so quickly across the ice with the puck I may add. They make it look so easy.
I certainly don’t feel graceful and I’m sure I certainly don’t look it either. I did feel more confident today and figure each week it will get easier and I will get better, but graceful I am not!
It’s a little embarrassing, ok so really it’s a lot embarrassing and I can’t believe I’m even admitting this but I am. The drills are fantastic and really how else am I going to learn? You sign up for these adult rec leagues (ball hockey, ice hockey) and there is no practice time, there is no instruction, you show up for your first game and you get pointers and you figure it out as you go and you do improve, or at least I hope everyone improves, all with time.
Now, taking on ball hockey three years ago was one thing and I love every moment of it, however ice hockey is a totally different thing. I miss my runners. I am not an all-star runner but I have two feet, I have two legs, they both work and I give it all I’ve got. Take away the runners and put on some ice skates and look out, I mean seriously look out as I am still having a very hard time stopping!
Until I get my stopping skills down pat this is going to be very difficult. Now, this week was much better, during my drills I actually stopped (for the most part) when I was supposed to, last week I would do a quick turn and proceed. It’s amazing just how good you can get at tight turns when you cannot stop and don’t want to fall down. That’s one skill that I seemed to have managed quite rapidly.
Now, skating backwards is a completely different scenario. I watched our defence players last week with complete aw as they raced backwards down the ice to protect our net. I immediately looked at one of the other girls on the bench and declared right then that there wasn’t a hope in hell of me playing defence. I may not be fast, and I’m working on my accuracy so I may not be the goal scorer, however I certainly wouldn’t be putting any money on me being able to get my ass back to my goalie to offer assistance, so winger I am.
In the clinic we have to skate backwards, and each week I cringe when they yell out this drill. As all of the other girls manage to go from one end of the rink to the other I am lucky if I make it to the blue line, seriously it’s that bad. How hard is it, I’ve got junk in the truck, you gotta hang it out there and make great big C’s with your skates, problem is I make a big C and can’t seem to close the gap and end up in one heck of a mess and although I’m sure to some they find it entertaining I find it terribly embarrassing and frustrating!
Somehow throughout all of these drills I have to also throw a puck in there and believe me, it’s different than the bright orange ball that I’m used to (although I seem to be passing and receiving a pass way better with a puck than I ever have with the ball….go figure). So although I tend to multitask at all times, multitasking for this clinic is simply overwhelming!
Head up, two hands on the stick, stick on the ice, keep the puck moving and whatever drill we happen to be doing. When I’m already concentrating on my balance, trying not to fall down or better yet run into someone, this all quickly becomes almost too much.
So, although I am probably my biggest critic (and no one is allowed to come to watch as I think I just may die of embarrassment), I still manage to do all of this with a smile on my face and the knowledge in my heart that this too will get easier.
Even though this is the most embarrassing hour and a half of my week I can also say that it certainly also provides a complete escape from every other aspect of life. While out on the ice, multitasking and trying not to look like a complete fool there is not a chance that any other thought can run through my mind. It’s kinda like meditation; I focus on me, the ice, the puck and keeping my skate’s blade down on the ice.
So, I have another eight weeks of checking my ego at the door and as much as I am not a religious person I think I just may have to start each session with a small prayer to survive yet another painfully embarrassing week on the ice.
Thankfully all of the ladies at both the skating clinic and at my ice hockey league are fantastic. They are all just out to have a great time. They pass to you no matter how many times you miss it, as they want you to learn, they want you to have fun, they want everyone to participate and have a good time. Its rec, it’s just for fun, it’s just for sport and I absolutely love every single moment of it all, embarrassing or not.
If I have learned anything as I tackle yet another sport, it’s this:
Keep smiling and never be afraid to tackle something new, no matter how embarrassed you are, no matter how “new” you are, no matter how young or how old you are. Face your fears, in time you’ll overcome them and be a better person for it. Share your story and encourage someone else to tackle something new themselves, you never know what door you may be kicking open for someone else.