Hockey totally rocked tonight. For the first time, everybody had to wear the full kit. I even bought body armour, finally getting around like a gridiron player on skates, with giant shoulders. I’m going to do a full blog on the equipment in the next few days.
So there we all were, looking like a hockey team and grinning at one another. On the ice, we did some nasty balancing drills (we’d done these on my first class – see the earliest entries, and I had had no clue. Painful and frustrating … things like skating on one skate with your other foot out in front of you. Tonight, sort of did it … steady improvement; massive improvement from, what? Seven weeks ago).
We did backward skating, where Michael, one of the coaches, remarked that I had improved big time from last week, and pivots (nailed a couple), 360s (basically, two pivots, front to back, back to front, without stopping … I did a 720, which would mean I totally rock, except I didn’t mean it), and crossovers. I’m even starting to truly get crossovers. Not that I can do them; but I can see the day I will.They’re genuinely within reach. Exciting.
And so it was an awesome class. I’d had a crappy, emotional day, so it was SO good to hit the ice. Literally, as they had us doing “Supermans”, now everybody was in full gear. Supermans are where you skate hard and then throw yourself forward, sliding along the ice on your chest. Then have to get back to your feet as fast and as steadily as you can. So much fun.
And finally, to top the night, I had my very first hockey fight.
Sure, Mel (magic crowd member, see previous posts) comes up to maybe my mid-chest, but ask anybody who knows her and they can confirm she’s feisty. Fully padded, we found ourselves standing next to each other at the end of the lesson so what was I going to do? I hit her, hard, in the shoulder pad. She took it badly.
We started whacking into each other as everybody else cleared the ice and managed to make the fight last the entire length of the rink. “Surely it’s bad form to hit a girl in the chest, even if she’s wearing padding,” I said. Mel considered this for a fraction of a second and punched me hard in the helmet. I tried to skate away, but damn, she’s getting good and could keep up. So I snowploughed and hit her with a left hook to the face guard. Outraged, she let fly and it was on. Neither of us fell. We kept our gloves on, playing nice.
She finally got to the gate and steadied, to step back onto real land. I got her a good one, while she wasn’t paying attention. My straight left has always been a source of pride in the boxing gym.
An independent judge from the class gave the fight to her, which pissed me off. I disputed the decision. Mel said, simply: “Next week, we get sticks. Oh, and if I was you, Nicko. I’d be wearing a box.”
And so it begins.
Next week, sticks.