forty-two, and tonight's my first game. If it weren't for my supportive teammates and MACRHL (Michelle and Camille's Recreational Hockey League)--a women-only learn-as-you-play league--I wouldn't have the guts to try.
Growing up in Minnesota, I longed to be an athlete. I had the height and the drive but not much skill. My hopes for sports glory were crushed freshman year of high school when I was cut from the volleyball team. Instead, I huffed and puffed through four years of cross-country. "You always tried so hard," my mom says. By my thirties I'd joined the masses of moms in yoga and Jazzercise classes. But something was missing: a real team, a new skill, a release for some midlife angst.
When my oldest son took up hockey, I was intrigued. I started going to open skates with him. Although I was never much of a skater, inhaling that icy air refreshed me and somehow connected me to my Nordic roots and winters spent cross-country skiing as a child. During a cardio-dance class at the Cube, I spied the USA women's hockey team on the ice practicing for a game against Canada. They whizzed by, controlling the puck with ease, a blur through the dance studio's window. I was transfixed. I yearned to be that strong, that confident, and that skilled.
After several months of adult skating lessons at Vets and a visit to a MACRHL game, I thought I was ready to give hockey a try--but I wimped out that first season. After some nudging from my fearless friend Marci, we registered for the second season--and now, the first game has arrived (there are no practices).