On Thursday night I played my first-ever game of organized hockey with the Holy Rollers roller hockey team, comprised predominantly of guys from our home church of St. Paul’s in Richmond. Initially, I declined Mike’s invitation to play on the team (as much as I wanted to), citing a few reasons including time and health issues. However, a roster spot opened up recently and after some discussions with (and sucking up to) my lovely wife Gail, I was slotted in the last roster spot.
Needless to say, I was very excited and nervous prior to the game. I am the oldest guy on the team, but have the least amount of hockey experience. Thus, my plan going into the game was to play smart hockey and not get seriously hurt. Generally, I think I succeeded in both, though I had 2 horrible giveaways (one of which resulted in a goal against us).
One thing I didn’t anticipate was just how fast things happen out there. In warm-up, I went for a good skate and felt really good. But as soon as the game started, the intensity picked up, and I felt rushed anytime I actually made it to the puck before an opposing player.
My teammates were really amazing, as they encouraged me and gave me pointers throughout the game. Things like “Try and be over there when this happens” or “Try not to block a slap shot with your face.” (Both were actual comments from the game).
We won the game 3 – 2, riding some strong goaltending and the offense of Jon, Dave, and Mike. My stat line was quite unassuming: no goals, no assists, no shots on goal, no penalty minutes, an even plus-minus, 6 wipe-outs, and 1 near decapitation (the afore-mentioned shot block attempt).
I was very happy we won, and only mildly satisfied with my performance. Cardio was certainly an issue as I anticipated, as I don’t really exercise regularly (unless you call nightly street hockey with the boys regular exercise).
So it came as no surprise that I got this email from Coach Mike (who admittedly has been my biggest advocate) a mere hour after getting home (I’ve made a couple of edits for clarity):
“Alright, time to get you in shape. Here is your training and eating regimen for the next week. Please follow these rules closely.
1- 20 minutes of jogging a day. We’ll start you slow and then get you up to 30 minutes in a couple of weeks.
2- No pop…I don’t care if it’s Sunday- this ain’t Lent! No pop!
3- No McDonalds.
4- No hanky panky the day of or before games.
5- 15 minutes of stretching every day before you go to bed and when you wake up in the morning.
6- Must get 7 hours of sleep a night.
7- 10 jumping jacks, 20 push ups and 20 sit ups a day.
In a couple of weeks we’ll also get you breaking down game film.
Talk to you soon.
Your humble coach,
Knowing Mike as well as I do, I know that he’s very serious about the email…otherwise he wouldn’t have sent it to me. In looking at the 7 steps to better fitness, I think I can realistically pull off 5 of the 7.
I’ll let you figure out which ones will be tough for me.