I pack my gear into my Jeep. It's raining and unusually cold for a January night in Texas. I am barely able to contain my anxiety as I wave goodbye to Amy and head to the rink for "draft night".
I get to the rink early- hauling about 80 pounds of gear on my shoulder and pay my league fees. I get directions to the locker room and set up in the corner. Its a funny thing about goalies and locker rooms. Theres an unwritten rule that we get the corner furthest from the door.
Guys begin to file in and I hear the room next to us filling up too. I am silently putting on my gear, careful not to screw up the order and end up taking it all off because I forgot to put on my socks. I'm also looking for other goalies. How many will show? Who will bump me from the league roster?
I head out to the ice. I step out and am careful not to make my first an illustration of belly flopping onto the ice. I skate around the ice feeling my gear. It's the first time I've skated with it on and the confidence I built up over the recent weeks is waning. I'd forgotten how bulky and heavy the gear is.
Soon the ice is filled with players and I count 4 other goalies. 4 teams, 5 goalies. My fate is sealed. Surely I won't make a team. I park myself next to one of the benches and go through the motions of stretching but my focus is on the players circling the ice and pushing pucks around. Slowly I realize that the ice isn't filled with Gretzkys and Brodeurs but by wobbly skaters, beer bellies with sticks and youngsters who are focused on not falling down as they cruise the ice.
Quickly the coaches split up the players into 2 teams and just as we are skating to our benches I hear one of the goalies say he won't be playing. He's in another league and came out just to make sure we had a goalie for each team.
My heart jumps in my chest.