Friday, January 23, 2009

Street Hockey

It's here.
Street hockey.
I have already described the sheer hostility of this warlike sport in a previous entry. It brings out the inner bellicosity of everybody forced to play it by tyrannical P.E. teachers. I could imagine the horror of playing it outside, but Mother Nature decided to give us a shower these past few days. I was blessing the rain, dancing in it, trying to kiss the raindrops. I thought this meant we got to sit around inside the gym or a locker room and learn the rules. No sticks to wham into my face, no problem. As honored Mr. Grinch would say: Wrong-o.
The rain meant we had to play inside the sweaty, smelly boy's locker room. I was suddenly longing for the rain to cease as soon as I realized this, gaping at the cart full of plastic sticks and obnoxiously orange pucks. At least outside we would have a bunch of open space to run around, and away from the notoriously volatile location of the puck. Inside, we were all crammed next to each other as we lined up for the day's athletic practice drill. Our mission was to knock over a short orange cone with a puck from about a yard or so away.
It was impossible. Balls were flying every which way, propelled by the force of overexcited yet unskilled wannabe athletes. Sticks clanged on the ground, and pucks whammed into the walls with an impact that sounded like a billion bombs going off at once. I managed to arrange my stick it such a way that it could hit the ball and send it flying in the general direction of the cone, but I only knocked it over, I think, four times during the entire period. Gah.
And the running! We have to run around the perimeter of the locker rows for either nine or seven minutes each day. It's difficult to fit ourselves into the narrow columns, which are only about two and a half person-lengths wide. As for speed, I would probably be in the middle of the pack... under normal circumstances. But I hate the sensation of people wiggling sideways past you and then slowing down when they are in front of you, forcing you to slow your pace too. And of course, there's always those people who are determined to lap everybody else sixty times or so, shoving people aside and charging forward with the rest of us being scattered left and right.
I dropped to the back. (Ish.)
Luckily I had Amanda by my side to keep the unpleasantness of the situation off my mind. We tried playing I Spy, but that didn't work out too good. And my incredible Shove-Away plan was foiled by the lappers. Two of them stampeded past, racing each other. I heard them tearing down the locker row and managed to side-step and dodge them in time, but then something rammed into me when I returned to my original position. Another lapper. At least he had the manners to apologize before barreling after the others. The run wasn't tiring, we were stuck behind some slower folk and the space was too narrow to zip around them, but the constant fear of more lappers and therefore more pain made me paranoid and distressed. It was a long nine minutes.
I play softball, a civilized sport. The players are nice and spaced out. Nobody crashes into each other, for the most part. I also run around in lovely little circles on a track, or scurry along on a little trail. No sticks or pucks or balls that might kill somebody.
I really miss volleyball.

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