January 2, 2013

Who Would Want Me?

So I passed the first test. I am skating. Maybe not with the strength and flair I recall from my youth but let's be honest. Good memories have a way of getting better over the years. In any case, I feel good enough on the ice to move onto step 2 of my plan.

In my years of lurking at the local rink and watching adult leagues I was always curious how someone like me would break back into the fraternity. Having moved to north Texas in 1999 I had no ties to organized hockey and none of my friends played the great game.

I had seen notices posted on the rink's bulletin board with calls for players needed to join this or that team and sometimes a league. But without any ice time I had no illusions of calling someone out of the blue. I imagine the call..

Hockey Guy: Hello?
Me: Uhh. Hi.
Hockey Guy: Hello?
Me: Soo uhh, you're looking for a goalie?
Hockey Guy: Ya man! When can you play?
Me: Uhhh well here's the thing. I don't have any gear and I haven't actually played since before you were born.
Hockey Guy: *click

Sometimes I'd see signups sheets for leagues with designations like "I", "D" and "C". None of this meant anything to me. Playing junior hockey in Canada when I was young meant you were on the "A- Travel Team" playing tournaments and prime ice time or else you were hauling yourself to practice with all the wanna-be's at 5AM.

"he asked twice if I was inquiring about a team for me or my kid."

But I was ready for the next step so I sucked up my pride and approached the rink manager armed with questions. He was helpful although he asked twice if I was inquiring about a team for me or my kid. Soon enough he and I agreed that a good starting point would be the Adult Instructional League (I-League) which he assured me would be full of beginners of all ages- a perfect starting point for an ancient net minder who hasn't played in 25 years.

I had a team!