Tuesday, October 11, 2005


Who uses it: Hockey players
What it means: A pick-up game, in which no one plays a formal position except the goalie
How to use it: To describe an improvised approach, or a free-for-all.

The Kennebec Ice Arena hosts shinny games on Fridays at lunchtime, and advertises the fee as "all ages" -- I will need to go and see how this works.

It'll be a while before I'm skating well enough to play hockey, but it's not beyond the range of possibility -- which is pretty amazing.

Last night I went from tottering on the ice like a rehab patient after a stroke to actually skating a few strokes backwards, all in about 40 minutes. Polly, my instructor, is paid to be encouraging, so of course she said she was impressed -- but more important, I was impressed at how fast I picked it up.

Anyone who knows me knows that 1) I am not a natural athlete and 2) I am not - uh - particularly graceful. Years ago, I asked my mom why I'd never had ballet lessons as a child; she laughed and said, "Clair, you could barely walk." This isn't unkind, it's just true: I was badly pigeon-toed, and wore corrective shoes until I was about seven. So I never went through any of those usual girly fantasies about being a ballerina or a figure skater.

Last night, though, as I watched the other women in my class (who are all much more advanced than I) tracing edges around a circle on the ice, I could imagine myself doing it too -- gliding across the ice, picking up a skate and turning.

It wasn't on my original list of Things to Do Before I Turn 40, but it seems like a good thing to shoot for.

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