Wednesday, October 12, 2011

750 words on why I'm speechless

I have lots of words in me, but sometimes I just don't feel like I can adequately express how grateful I am to get to play hockey. Or to just have hockey in my life at all, but playing it seems to create my most heartfelt moments.

But I can try...

I don't know anything in life that would make my heart feel as full as hockey does. There was a time, early in my goaltending career, where I went to the rink nearly in a panic, worried about being judged, misunderstood, talked about behind my back if I didn't play well.

And it wasn't paranoia. It actually went on. I heard I was called lazy, I thought I was better than I was, I was cocky, I wasn't trying.

When really, I was new, never been any kind of athlete ever (learning to play one of the hardest, most unnatural positions in sports), scared, intimidated, while still trying to have some light-hearted fun. I wasn't learning the right things for them at the pace they wanted me to learn them, but as I've come to understand, you just can't push learning curves. It takes the time it takes.

But I spent a lot of time and energy feeling the angst of being misunderstood in the beginning. Maybe it's something I had to go through to get to the happy place I'm at now, but it still eats at me sometimes. I look back with a degree of bitterness that it had to be that way for so long.

Now, however, I may not make everybody happy, but I'm happy. My heart is FULL when I drive home from Sugar Land each week. And my game is better for it. I'm loose, I'm glad to be there (generally), it's a pleasure to go to the rink.

Granted, I've had a lot to learn from a mental perspective since I started playing, and that's part of it, but whatever the case, it's an incredible relief to feel like I belong somewhere. The crush of teammates at my net after wins is, quite possibly, the most rewarding thing ever.

I mean, I play for me. I love to play and I think goalies are super important and I'm pretty cocky out there, feeling like the world revolves around me if the puck is on my half of the ice.  But at the end of the day, all I really want is my team to be happy with me. If I feel like I've got that, then I can sleep at night. The rest of it is just me psyching myself up and doing what I need to do to get in the right state of mind.

Anyway, all this is just to say that our team (which was, I believe, 0-5 or 1-5 to start the season) won the championship last night. I honestly thought we might never win a game at one point, and that was okay, because I liked my teammates, but it's a lot more fun to win. :)

It wasn't my best game, or even close to it, really, but they had a couple of neutral observers there to watch the game and choose an MVP (since our commish was playing in the game)... and well, they chose me. Which is silly. My girls scored 6 goals and we needed all of them. But I saw a few shots, made a few saves, nothing spectacular, and 2 of my goals were a bit crummy.

But still, the recognition was a total shock and much appreciated. I did the whole pageant winner thing of, "Wha? Me? *tear* Really? *skating over* Seriously? Thank you! Am I dreaming?" with hugs from my teammates along the way. Surreal.

I wish I were cool enough to act like I've been there, but I really haven't and I'm not cool, so I'm just going to geek over it for a while longer.

But what really felt the best about it was just being on a team that likes me beyond what I can do for them in the crease. We have fun together and make each other laugh and when it comes down to it, isn't that what rec hockey is about?

There's a lot of people I wish I could just take them by the shoulders and look them in the eyes and say, "Stop judging people and just enjoy playing the game." But it wouldn't be any of my girls. They already get that and that's why I love 'em.


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Tea with Ms. Conduct

This week felt like 3 weeks waiting on "my day" to post on Backhand Shelf, but it's finally here!

I wrote about how, just because I like to look at hockey players asses, that I'm not entirely unserious about hockey. And how there are lots of more gals in the same boat. So get off your damn judgmental high-horses about us, judgey people!

Anyway, here ya go. Please check it out and, hopefully, have a laugh or two:

One of the awesome things about this gig is that they have a Getty subscription, so I did a search on "hockey goalie stretching" and got 10 pages of goalie porn. Holy hell.

So you can pretty well count on goalie porn pretty much every week. Yay!


Monday, October 3, 2011

Backhand Shelf

It's here! It's here!

Super excited that the new blog has come to life over at and encourage you to go check it out and make it part of your regular hockey reading routine.

The fabulous Justin Bourne writes most of it, so you know it's going to have his characteristic wit and the experience of having "been there" as a pro player.

I'll be posting every other Sunday starting this Sunday, with periodic other posts as the fancy strikes me. It really is a dream come true to basically get paid to just be funny about hockey.

I remember Justin and I talking at least 2 years ago about how great it would be to have a hockey blog that features a more irreverent take on the game. All the funniest hockey writers in one spot. So I'm happy to see that dream come to fruition, at least somewhat, for Justin, because he's worked awfully hard for it, and I am completely honored to be involved.

So, please come check it out, get involved in the comments, etc. Should be good fun.


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