I went to do another stick and shoot, my sixth, and lasted about 90 minutes. I still move about as fast as a paramecium undergoing osmosis; however, this one middle-aged gent skated up to me and offered to practice doing passes. Dude slams pucks pretty hard, and I get a new appreciation for the sport. Then he shows me how to do a drill passing but skating backwards. I last about 20 passes and flop forward and over like a penguin going for a swim and my twig goes flying.
Though I don’t hurt anything, I realize how tired I am. It’s been 60 minutes with just one 10-minute Gatorade break. I lie face down on the ice like a polar bear for awhile. Its so nice and cool down there. My body is too wobbly for me to get up. I’ve used up all my steam. So the gent helps me up, and I skate to the bench and sit out for 10 minutes like it’s a game intermission. The gent skates off and plays a mini pick up game with the 20 somethings.
One of my rink friends, who’s like 30 years younger than me, skates up and offers to pass with me some more. I guess even for a paramecium I’m still a decent practice partner – or hockey people are just really, really, really nice. I finish out the period and head back to the locker room.
Me and the middle aged gent chat a little. I now see him out of uniform, and though he’s clearly well built, he’s a lot more than just 50. “May I ask how long you have been skating?” “70 years,” he answers in a rich Boston accent, “I’m 73 years old.”
Now that’s inspiring!