Friday, September 14, 2007

AMHL Thursday: That’s the Way It Is

Mosquitoes have ravaged my left calf, and my wife is worried about another staph infection (long story short: I had one on my right foot two weeks ago that required a visit to the ER). Plus, she’s concerned my cold will spread to my lungs if I play hockey this morning.

If I can go to work, I can play hockey. That’s the way it is.

“You’re a guy,” the AMHL photographer says.

I’ve just slipped on my garter belt. I dress in almost full battle gear and then march to the kitchen to procure a Kashi bar—my usual pre-game snack. None left. I reach into the glass jar and extract a Vanilla Almond Luna Sunrise Bar.

“Morning Nutrition for Women,” the label claims. It’s 70% organic; so with its protein, whole grains, and Omega3, and me in touch with my feminine side, I munch on it as we drive to the rink.

On Rink One against the Avalanche, we have a surplus of defenseman, so I offer to play forward.

“Go sit with the ladies,” teammate and defenseman Bill Chioffi says, pointing to my Panther linemates Scott “Pump Up the Volume” Lauder and Jeff (no nickname yet) Vorderer.

Down 0–2 in the first period, I’m doing the best I can in the offensive zone, but my best isn’t good enough. I trip over my imaginary skirt—nobody near me—skating to open ice. The Avalanche are all over us, and shut us down until the second period.

We score a few goals but give them up in bunches. Same story in the third period, except that Mike Moore has taken my spot at right wing, and I’m back on defense.

The Avalanche score their eight goal, and I hop over the boards and then skate to the blue line for the face-off. While referee Peter Bagley scrawls his notes on the score sheet, a poster tacked to the bulletin board beyond the far boards catches my eye.


I snap back to attention as Bags skates to center ice, committed to playing solid defense—clearing the crease of roving Avalanche skaters if they trespass upon my turf.

An opportunity doesn’t present itself, but I have a good last shift. Doesn't matter: We lose 5–8.

In the donut room, I snag a banana and a bagel and then sit next to my goalie, Kenny “KISS Fan” Tarr. Before we break down the game, I notice the action at the table to my left: A few fellows are reading—or at least looking at the pictures in—People magazine, the same edition my wife has at home.

Kenny drives me home, where I drop off my hockey bag and take a DayQuil. I walk out the door and turn on my iPod Shuffle, half expecting to hear “Man, I Feel Like a Woman.”

Shania Twain’s tune isn’t on this morning’s playlist, but I get a good dose of Celine Dion. I’m in touch with my feminine side. What can I say besides, “That’s the Way It Is”?
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