Chapter 10: Skating With Dinosaurs

(The Hockey Bag series was previously published on NHL.com)

So we played another hockey game this week. Aaaaaaaaaand… we lost… This is very sad, because we the Hockey Bags had very high hopes for this game. For starters, it was the first day we played in our new purple uniforms.

Proudly donning our Barney colours, we took to the ice looking like a team. A true fuscia force to be reckoned with. At least we LOOKED that way. The other great thing about the latest game was that our goalie Liana is back in the line-up after a bout of surgery. She is our coordinator, administrator, and the heart and soul of our team spirit. We’ve felt her absence this past month.

Having her back means our team is now complete, and ready to rally for a win. Which is how we felt going into our last game. That is until the other team started scoring. Aaaaaaaaand…. did I mention we lost…??

But I’m an optimist, and look for the silver lining in the darkest of clouds. Because even when you’re getting seriously kicked 7-to-2, something positive will always come out of it. For starters, for hockey fans up above in the lounge watching us through the glass, it must have been really entertaining to witness us play.

Especially that time when not one, not two, but THREE Hockey Bags in a row all missed a pass that ever-sooooo-slooooooooowly slid from one end of the ice to the other. It was so ridiculously funny that if the Three Stooges played hockey, this might qualify as their signature maneuver.

Then there was the Tim Bits moment, when a number of Hockey Bags consecutively poked the puck off the end of their stick, towards nothing and no one in particular. The puck just kept sliding away, beyond the reach of one player, then another, then another. All anyone out there on the ice could do was poke at it a little. All we on the bench could do was poke a little fun at ourselves.

Personally speaking, I can’t laugh at my teammates without laughing twice as hard at myself. Like the time I nonchalantly glided out onto the ice during a line change, did a one-legged pirouette of awkward sorts, and proceeded to fall flat on my ass. Without anyone remotely close enough to at least fake like I was knocked down.

Aaaaaaaaaand then… inconspicuously getting up, looking around to see what hit me, brushing skidmarks of snow from my purple uniform, picking up my green Easton stick, and finally proceeding to skate over to where everyone else is waiting for me at the face-off.

Speaking of face-offs… I find it really frustrating when the other team scores from the face-off. The first time, it was a damn good play and earned my respect. But the instant replay a mere five seconds later was nothing short of annoying. It happened so fast and went something like this: the exact same person got possession of the puck from the face-off, made the exact same pass to the exact same other person positioned a short distance behind, who then slap-shotted it into the net from the exact same spot alongside the edge of the zone. It was pure déja vu, and purely disheartening.

Aaaaaaaaaand…. did I mention I was covering the machine who scored both of these goals? Yup, thanks to my great defensive skills (hence the reason I play forward) she burned two of them right past me within seconds of each other. Which officially makes her my new nemesis. Her, and all the other players who get past me, outskate me, and outpuck me. Which is pretty much everyone encountered in every game so far.

Yes, after today’s performance, I’m fairly certain I’m the worst player on my team. And seeing as we have yet to win a game, it’s pretty safe to say we are the worst team in our division. In fact, we are so bad, that even those teams who are so bad that they don’t have much chance of ever winning a game still manage to beat us.

But wait. It gets better. Since we play in our league’s lowest level, this would officially make me the worst player on the worst team in the worst division. Embarassing? Hell yah!! Discouraging?? Hell no!!

Because I’ve only been playing hockey for like two months now. And at the moment, while they might be able to outplay, outwit, and get past me, I guarantee they won’t outlast me.

Because don’t forget, I’m an optimist. And, the optimist knows that since I’m already the worst player on the worst team in the worst division, logic dictates that it can’t get any worse.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaand… hopefully… neither can I.