Hockey

MTU vs. U of M

Ah, it was a busy weekend. U of MN was in town to play Tech, so we grabbed tickets for Friday night’s game. Yeah, we got spanked, but it’s still fun to see the No. 1 WCHA team play in your arena. Our seats were at center ice in the first row, right up against the glass. You really see how freaking huge these guys are when you’re up that close, and also how fast the game moves.

Getting spanked by Madison

Three hockey games for Andrew and two for me meant a lot of the weekend was spent at the rink. My friend G came and took a few pictures of us getting whomped on Sunday morning. Here’s a nice picture of my butt looking huge in hockey pants. Also note the girl next to me. I never realized how stupidly short I am. Not pictured is the behemoth who played D who I hit and crumpled to the ground immediately. Man, was she a good player. Too bad they were all a bunch of arrogant jerks.

Saying goodbye

As my sister would say, I miss Grandma Seely.

Funerals are hard. I had been to one earlier this year and thought I was prepared for my grandmother’s.

I wasn’t.

As much as I do not like open casket scenarios, I needed to see her today. I was worried that seeing her in the state she was in would somehow mar the memories I had of her when she was well and alive. But it didn’t. If anything, it reinforced those memories for me and made them so much more valuable.

Work sent a beautiful arrangement to my parents’ home, and it served as a nice centerpiece for the family luncheon. I have never put much stock in flowers in the past, thinking that they were insignificant at an event like a funeral. Wow, was I wrong. The fact that my coworkers were thoughtful enough to send something was really touching, more than I expected. My dad’s employer? Didn’t even send a card.

The whole experience has made me think a lot about death, the afterlife, and how nice I should be to my brother and sisters’ future children, so that when I am old and sick, someone will come visit and take care of me (that is, if I don’t have children of my own). No, I’m not joking. I’m completely serious.

I will probably have more to say on this when I’m not dead tired from a busy weekend with little sleep and my eyes aren’t all red and puffy. Damn these Asian eyes that swell up like balloons when they drop as little as one tear! Damn them!

Thank you, Stout

Thorpedo!

Wow, I know mapquest sucks, but my trip, which was estimated to take about six hours, took five. This is also taking into account that the roads were snowy and shitty until I got behind the Cheddar Curtain. I’m not exactly complaining, as the extra time to unwind has been nice. Free wi-fi at the hotel, and since UW-Stout is just down the street, this is restaurant mecca. Ah, do college students love to eat. Scott will be jealous to learn that Taco John’s is right next door to the hotel (most likely dinner after the game if the team doesn’t do a team dinner anywhere). It will be pretty late, and while I would gladly join in the whole team spirit and camaraderie thing, I also have about a ten hour drive ahead of me tomorrow. I was ready to lose it after three today. Eh.

UPDATE!

We won 4-2. Our opponent had more skaters and should have outskated us, but surprise of all surprises, we’re in better shape. Even me, who has done not much else other than hockey practice a few times a week. Unbelievable. At any rate, they played a dirty and physical game, so victory was even sweeter. I also got leveled by some girl who I am pretty sure is taking growth hormones or is really a man.

We play again tomorrow, bright and early, so here’s hoping for a W to go with the one tonight.

UPDATE #2

We took the second game this morning 2-1. Even sweeter because they played another dirty game. What is it with these Wisconsin girls?

Still have a little adrenaline flowing so I’d better get on the road. Caribou Coffee, here I come.

UPDATE #3

Made it in 9.5 hours, including a few stops for bathroom breaks, food and sanity. Again, mapquest tells me it will take longer than it did. Driving through Wisconsin was the worst. I was ready to throw in the towel after only minutes of driving; it seemed like I would never find my way out of Cheeseland. My spirits immediately lifted upon entering IL. When I hit Chicago, I said to myself, you can totally finish this trip. I even made it to CVS before it closed to pick up pantyhose (ugh) for the funeral.

I’m glad not to be driving and it’s nice to see family. On a sad note, Kramer is a lot heavier than the last time I saw him and it makes me sad. He’s getting so old. He is not going to like my lively little puppy when I bring him here at Christmas.

I miss my guys. 🙁

Note to self #73

That scene in A Christmas Story when the kid gets triple-dog-dared to stick his tongue to the metal pole and it gets stuck isn’t so funny when you accidentally freeze your fingertips to the frosty metal in the back of the (ancient) fridge while you’re trying to clean it.

OUCH.

All-American 2006

All-American Tournament - MTU vs Iowa St

We rolled in around 3AM this morning from a weekend out in St. Paul. My hockey team played in this tournament at this mega sportsplex and took a somewhat respectable 4th place, losing to Iowa State in the consolation game. It came down to the last minute of play, with a bad bounce in front of the net that didn’t go out way this time, and I know a lot of the girls were really disappointed.

Having played on a lot of losing teams in my life, I guess I didn’t take it quite as hard as some of the younger girls on the team. Then again, maybe I’m just able to put things into perspective now that I’m a little older. Don’t get me wrong; I hate losing. But it’s a game for fun, and I thought there were a lot of really positive things that happened in that game. For starters, almost everyone skated hard the entire game (this is a problem for us). We’ve got a girl playing goal who has never done it before, and for a first timer, she’s doing an incredible job. And thankfully, we’ve got coaches who get everyone in the game, even old scrubs like me. Everyone has fun, which is the important thing.

After we made plans to go to the tournament, we found out that it coincided with The Benefit (for one of Scott’s family members), so we got to make an appearance at that as well. It was great to see his family and so many people out to support his sis-in-law. A little backstory: S-I-L had a massive heart attack this summer and has gone from doctors writing her off as dead to making an almost full recovery.

Open Letter to Copper Country’s Drivers

Dear Fellow Motorist (and specifically in this case) Guy who was driving in front of me tonight on US-41 going north toward Calumet,

If there’s one thing I haven’t gotten used to up here, it’s the insane amount of seemingly oblivious people who think driving drunk isn’t a big deal. Sure, Houghton County is fairly small, and in towns where there’s one stop light (if you’re lucky), you may think it’s totally cool to slam down ten beers at the U.P. Bar or Mickey’s or wherever and then drive home. I know, this isn’t like driving down in Oakland County.

But here’s the deal: it’s still a really bad idea. And when I see you veering all over the damn place and driving on the wrong side of the yellow line, then USING YOUR TURN SIGNAL TO GET BACK ON YOUR SIDE OF THE ROAD, I’m frightened. And I’ll be honest with you. If I hadn’t lost cell service at that point on the drive tonight, I would have been calling your ass in.

Believe it or not, we do have taxi services up here. Two of them. True, they’re not the most prompt services around, but do us a favor and call a cab or a friend next time, okay? And if you weren’t drunk or stoned or whatever tonight, warn me the next time you’re getting on the road. I am afraid. Very afraid.

Sincerely Yours,

AK

Firsts

I’ve had a lot of “firsts” since I’ve moved up here to the U.P. I saw my first opera here shortly after arriving. Pretty hilarious that I had to move up to the sticks to get culture, ha. I made some strides in the relationship area of my life. One day when I’m not so tired I’ll talk about it. I got into some new sports, like cross-country skiing and hockey.

I was a rollerskater growing up. We sometimes froze over the backyard and skated in the winter, but it was pretty rare. My family wasn’t a hockey family like some of my friends’ families were. Trips to an open skate at the Livonia Ice Arena were few and far between. Rollerskating was easier, cheaper and oftentimes a school outing. I think it’s fair to say that I was a decent skater. And when rollerblades became popular (or fruit boots, as the BF likes to call them) I picked that up fairly quickly.

So last year when I found out I had an opportunity to try hockey, I was all about it. Sure, I played a little floor hockey in elementary school. But there was still an obstacle: the ice skating. I had been out on skates a few years before with my friend Colleen–we had gone up to the used sporting good store and picked up a few pair of hockey skates–and after one trip out to the rink one thing was clear: I couldn’t stop, and crashing into the boards was not the optimum method of braking. I would have to learn to skate if I wanted to give this a try.

I started going to the almost daily open skates down at the arena in town, just to get some practice in. Scott worked with me on the basics, and before I knew it, I was snowplowing. I joined in on a Sunday night rental with a bunch of the area geeks (i.e. MTU profs and other locals) and started to learn. A few months later they invited me to their Thursday night rental (a little faster and with goaltenders). Slowly but surely I started to make some progress.

One of the women I was skating/biking with mentioned that she was practicing with the Tech women’s club, and after a little help from Scott on a contact, I got in touch with the gal in charge and got in. Now I’m practicing with the girls two nights a week and playing games on weekends. Last weekend we had a scrimmage against the local U-19 team, but tonight?

Tonight was our first game of the season. My first “real” game. I stepped out on the ice tonight to an arena filled with a few hundred spectators and a pep band who stayed after the men’s game to play for our game. And I swear, I could have puked right then and there from nerves.

I’ve played sports my entire life, but never in front of so many people.

But the butterflies are a good thing, and once the puck dropped I forgot about the people in the stands, the band playing “Proud Mary,” and just focused on watching other players. I’ve been practicing with defense, because I think it will make me a better player and a better skater, but it was not surprise that tonight I got put on the fourth offense line with another girl who’s at a lower level like myself. It was fine with me, though. To quote the BF, “you make a mistake on a wing, it’s a missed opportunity. You make a mistake at D, it’s a goal.” I was totally fine having a little less pressure on me tonight.

NMU’s team was big and slow, but outplayed and outskated us. Maybe it was first game jitters, or maybe our big guns just didn’t show up. Either way, we lost 5-0. I did all I could really do in the situation, and that was be aggressive and fight for loose pucks. It’s a little frustrating not knowing where to be or what to do, but I guess I’ll just have to be more prepared and be ready to do whatever they ask, whether it’s D or offense.

Losing sucks, but it sure is a lot of fun. It’s nice to be a part of a team and feel like you’re working toward a common goal. It’s great to have something that gets you off your butt and pushes you to be better. Every other sport I’ve played in my life I’ve done because I was good at it. When the game was on the line, I was one of the ones the coach would put in. With hockey, this is definitely not the case. But can I push myself and get there and be that player? I don’t know, but I’m sure going to try.

So, another “first,” my first hockey game. Looking forward to number two tomorrow morning. Here’s hoping for a better outcome!