The Fourth and Final Leg: Wednesday hockey double-time.
That’s right. Intermediate class, followed immediately by Intermediate Dev League. Starting at 8.45, walking out of the Icehouse on the wrong side of 11.30 pm. The Hillary Step of my Quadrella, but here’s the strange thing: I felt great.
Stepped onto the ice for Intermediate and was right there, from the opening skating. We had to do all kinds of skating drills, from pivots to knee bends to 360s and supermans. I was having the most trouble with wrong-way crossovers at the end of each pass, but wasn’t even struggling with pivots. Like a boss.
Of course, Army then stepped things up by making us do a don’t-lose-speed crossover/transition/loop-de-loop drill which almost killed me. Didn’t fall over but didn’t exactly skate as smoothly, forward to back, back to forward, as I would have liked. I really need to work on transitions.
But then, thankfully, we were into puck-handling and I simply enjoyed myself, skating well enough to keep up while learning wrist-shots, honing my backhand passes and other such party tricks. Too much fun.
My body was barely hurting at all and I didn’t even feel tired, to the point that when the puck dropped in Intermediate Dev League, at 10 pm, I was raring to go and slightly annoyed that we had so many people it usually took two shifts on the bench to get back on the ice. That’s, like, three whole minutes between 1.30 shifts.
I was stick handling pretty well, for me, and got on the end of a simply perfect, right-onto-my-stick pass from Morgan, flying behind the goal, to have my most genuine shot at a real goalie in Dev League. I aimed for the bottom corner and even first-timed the shot, but it turns out real goalies can move, unlike the imitation Goalie, and the shot was blocked. Dammnit. Such a great pass from Morgan.
I ended up having four or five shots, but didn’t nail any of them, which sucked but was probably about Par, given the step up from Intro Dev League and my two goals the day before.
I was just happy to be getting into the right place to take actual shots, and not sucking at any of them, even if they didn’t beat the goalie.
With every shift, we are developing fun rivalries between the mixed-up teams each week, and bonding heavily as potential future teammates. A couple of teammates complimented me on my improvement, although, to be fair, one had been drinking heavily after an art exhibition went horribly, horribly wrong before he came to the rink.
All in all, a very fun night and a really good Dev League game.
Sure, today, I feel like I’ve been hit by three buses and creak out of my office chair. My shoulder is hurting badly as I type this, and I’m very glad I don’t have physical plans this evening, apart from leaping and screaming at the MCG and then belting out the theme song after my Tigers thrash the Blues to start the 2012 AFL season. Almost certainly a bike ride to and from the MCG too, to stretch my aching legs one more time.
But why not? I’m feeling smug. After weeks of talking about The Quadrella, where something always seemed to get in the way of one or more of the legs, I finally did it, and went as hard as I physically could in every leg, and survived.
And it’s all leading to me feeling more and more like a genuine hockey player, as the Rookies start to mull entering a team in next summer’s league, which means I have until about September to be worthy and ready. Gotta keep working on my pure skating … and my puck-handling … oh, and my positioning … oh, and my hockey strategy … and my fitness … and … well, otherwise, I’m totally good to go.
At least, for this week. The Quadrella starts again on Sunday … Giddyup!