Being Brave - Playing Ice Hockey For the First Time

I barely ice skate. I can't stop, I can't switch directions, I can't go backwards.  In fact, I can't usually last an entire public ice-skating session without landing on my butt at least once. Yet somehow, last night I found myself in full ice hockey gear at the rinks at Chelsea Piers.  I sat on the bench waiting for the game to start. Behind me, a beautiful view of the sun setting over the Hudson River. Next to me, people who have been playing hockey for years. Crap.

I shakily took my first shift (see, I even know the lingo!) wearing my very own skates and a whole lot of borrowed equipment that a colleague had so graciously helped me figure out how the hell to put on in the locker room minutes before. 

And BOOM! Miracle on ice, I was amazing! An instant success story. A true hockey prodigy. I blew everyone away with how quickly I picked up the game. 

Just kidding! 

Let's be real. I was in slow motion, worthlessly doing my best to get up and down the ice. But I was out there! And shockingly, instead of feeling embarrassed and frustrated and petrified (okay, maybe I felt all of those a little bit) I was actually enjoying the challenge. 

For the past year I've slowly but surely been getting comfortable with the idea of calling myself "a runner." I've been spending hours alone pushing myself at the gym.  But I've always been more of a team athlete at heart, since the day I started playing field hockey in the 3rd grade. So to be out on the ice with other people, thinking about finding the open space, having the defense and offense mentality again- it felt pretty incredible. 

I wish I could say that I scored a goal or made a beautiful pass...but I certainly did not. The people I played with were great- every time I got to the puck they moved out of the way, let me try out some stick handling, and let me attempt a few pitiful shots at the goalie.  But I'm happy to say that instead of saying "Screw this, I suck!" I'm just super excited to keep playing in the hopes that I can improve. Maybe one day I WILL be out there deflecting shots in like a pro!

I think the craziest part of last night's experience was the number of people who said they were impressed that I got out there in the first place. I've had like 3 people call me brave.  Which is NOT a word I ever would have thought to use to describe myself. 

One of my New Year's resolutions was to get to know myself better. It sounds weird. After all, who knows me better than me? But I really do feel at times that I don't know myself at all. Why I do things, what I really want, how I come across to other people.  After last night, I'm starting to think that one of the qualities I like best about myself is that I'm willing to try new things. Whether it's some crazy disgusting sounding food, or lacing up skates and playing in a hockey game. 

It must be said though: I did not do this on my own.  I'm soo thankful for the great friend that pushed me to try something new and calmed me down as I shit myself about getting out on the ice. I had so much fun and can't wait to get better! 

Ice Hockey at Chelsea Piers