Saturday, March 23, 2013

17th New Thing ~ Toe Pick!

One of the movies Ciara and I watched when she was growing up, was
The Cutting Edge.

It's the story of Olympic figure skater, Kate and Olympic hockey player, Doug, as they each struggle to revive their floundering prospects.

Kate is a pair's skater without a partner. Doug is a hockey player without a team. A match made in amateur sports and romantic comedy heaven.  It's a cute little, predictable 1992 movie with some snappy dialog and good quotes. I'm drawn to the constant, fast-paced bickering between Kate and Doug. Although Hale, Kate's fiance isn't as impressed, after he's seen them training together...
Hale: You're falling for him.
Kate: Well, that's crazy.
Hale: You think so?
Kate: You're nuts.
Hale: I am?
Kate: Well, you see how we act together.
Hale: Yes, I do.
Kate: We never get along. I mean, we're always fighting.
Hale: Foreplay. 

That Hale .... he's no idiot. And I like the way his mind works.

A good deal of the story-line centers on getting this ice hockey skater to learn the fine-motor finesse of an Olympic figure skater. The implication being that hockey players are brutish, neanderthals on thin metal blades. Dentally-challenged, large-motor stick-swinging oafs. Well, silly me, never before having seen a real, Big Boy hockey match, or any hockey match for that matter...I bought in.   (Is it hockey match? Or hockey game?)  


With each New Thing comes a new opportunity. New possibilities. Who knows what will happen? What will come about? Even the most innocent in appearance hold potential unknown.


Sally came up to me at work one day and asked "Have you ever been to a hockey game?"
"Do you want to make it a new thing?" She and her husband had Thunderbird tickets but couldn't go.
"Yeah, what's the date...let me look at my calendar!" I said to her.
But I am confessing here and now, that inside I was thinking, or more accurately, whining...
"I'm tired. There's been a LOT going on lately. I need some down time. I don't know if I want to go, even if my schedule is open..."

The inherent early enthusiasm, wide-open approach and sweet, easy infatuation with the 50 New Things was settling into some sort of domestic doldrums. The relationship was feeling obligatory.
Oh, poor me, right?

Sally said it was fine if I didn't end up using the tickets but to try to find someone who would if I didn't.

Over the next week, I vacillated. I ran my dilemma past a few insightful people, receiving different perspectives and options. A couple people offered to join me at the game.  Mostly, however, I heard advice that took me back to Napoleon Dynamite "Listen to your heart...."

However, truth be known, and it isn't always, I wanted to stay home, to just rest.
Yet I also wanted to be the person who said yes to unfamiliar events and spontaneous opportunities.

I flashed back to AutoCross, way back in July. New Thing #3. I woke up that Sunday morning really wanting to stay home. I texted Matt and said, that I wasn't coming. But then I got up, got dressed, got into my car and got myself lost trying to find the Bremerton Speedway. But eventually finding my way, I ended up having one of the coolest days of my life. Honestly.

Yet, I still wrestled with the hockey.

With just a couple days until the game, I was talking to Darcy. Someone with whom it seems almost impossible to get quality social time. We're like two ships that pass in the night....or two bumper cars bouncing off each other, socially, for a few haphazard and unsatisfying seconds. With her full load at school, a graphic arts job on campus, her freelance work, four children, a husband who works seven days a week, our mutual intent to spend some time together was not as robust as our mutual obstacles. Until....

"When is the game?" she asked me.
"This Friday."
"Well, I just told my family that I'm hanging out with you this Friday. No family stuff. No homework."
"Yes, I told them, I NEED MORE BARBIE TIME!" Well, yeah...who hasn't uttered those words?
"Excellent. Shall we go to a hockey game?"
 "I've never been to a Hockey game."
"That settles it. We're going to the Thunderbirds."

Win win. 
A complimentary and unexpected New Thing. (Thank you, Sally!) 
An evening with Darcy. (Thank you, Darcy's Family!)

My Thunderbird Green sweater is right there
underneath the Barbie Red hoodie
and Darcy Scarf.

This handsome gentleman was exceedingly charming, knowledgeable
and quite adamant that I not set foot, nor red clog,
on the recently Zamboni'd, pre-game ice.
Probably should have worn my green clogs. 

Clearly some
Pro Hockey Secret Society.

I bought 50/50 raffle tickets. 
I bought Dream Playhouse raffle tickets.
Supporting Junior Hockey. 
I expect to hear something about my winning tickets any day now.....

Even the ladies room was decked out in Thunderbird colors.

This player in the doorway....
...kind of reminds me of a Transformer.

The Medicine Hat Tigers

So this is where the movie in the aforementioned verse becomes relevant....
(I just know you were wondering.)

I grew up mesmerized by figure skating during the Winter Olympics.
Such fine, delicate, artistic yet incredibly athletic grace on skates. 

But now that I've been to a hockey game, 
I think hockey players skate better!

Figure skating is beautiful but it's all scripted, choreographed. 
Every moment and every movement, memorized
These impressive hockey players are all skating Improv. On the fly. 
And not in fancy-prancy, full-body, Spandex leotards,
painted to look like a tuxedo. 
But, in full protective gear:
mask, helmet, shoulder pads, shin guards, gloves.

It was fascinating to watch their feet.
Their skates seemed to float just above the ice.

Like 'Hover Skates.'
Sideways, cross-ways, back-ways, curly-ways, swirly ice-flinging ways.

Incredible, artistic motion....of muscle and padding and maneuvering and aggression. I spent a good deal of the game completely distracted by their skates, their skill and their speed. It was impressive. 
I paid very little attention to the score or even who had possession. 

 See that avid fan down along the rail...he's wearing Barbie Red, as well. 

Here, someone fell down and everyone else rushed over to help him get up. 
Not really. Fight. FIGHT! 

See the two guys watching from
the rafters above?
Part of enjoying any type of sporting event
is who's sitting near by. 
Sonia and Jalen sat directly in front of us.
They were really enjoying the game, having a great time.

 At one point, anyone who danced crazy enough to be spotlighted,
on camera and then judged the single best....

 ...was selected to ride on the Zamboni between periods.

Personally, I thought Sonia and Jalen were the best crazy dancers. 
But some other guy was chosen.

Chuck A Puck becomes perfectly clear.
Can you see all the small dark spots on the ice? 

Besides getting the puck in the goal more than the other team, 
I don't really 'get' all the rules and regulations of  hockey. 
But, the Zamboni? I understand.

 It was comical watching the So Serious Suits trying not to fall.

 Thunderbirds win 4 to 3. 
Don't tell anyone but I really didn't care so much about the score.

Any team that plays Volbeat during a timeout
is all good in my view, win or lose.

Happy Thunderbirds!
Happy Fans!!
Happy Darcy and Barbie!!

Happy New Thing ~ Hockey 

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