After nearly two weeks of taking in His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s teachings on peace and goodness and a mysterious case of hit-and-run stomach flu last week, Rosie took to the ice Saturday afternoon. It was 102 degrees out, and she couldn’t think of a place she more wanted to be. Yet, she was nervous, three weeks of no practice. Which would be more significant, muscle memory or muscle weakness?
I knew something was going to go right when I took my first step onto the ice. My legs felt as strong as iron and as steady as if I were heading up a grass-covered hill in my best running shoes. My skates no longer felt foreign but a natural extension of me.
“Hey, Ovie! I’m passing you!” And yes, the eight-year old wearing the Great Eight’s jersey obliged and gave me room to fly by him on open ice. Yes, Rosie’s regular home practice of new exercises to strengthen her hips, legs, and knees paid off and for the first time since this insane effort began in April, Rosie was now skating on the open ice, no longer hugging the boards, much less boarding herself. The rink was awhirl with 50 tykes and their assorted hockey moms and dads torturing the poor five-year olds, inexplicably not noticing their ankles turned in, their heads turned back, and just not just too focused, you know, acting like five-year olds. When on the third lap I had no choice but to pass two pairs of disasters waiting to happen, I decided to let go of my fears and head for open ice.
And so for 7 more laps I cruised around the stadium, coming to the boards only to take a breather. At lap 8 I did have the good fortune of telling Ovie and Knuble to move on, but the pair of 10-year olds were too focused on laying up for their next play, so we had a delightful scrimmage in the far corner and we all emerged unscathed.
I was pleasantly tired when I stepped off the rink, even ready to absorb the body checks of riding the metro for an hour (now that’s work!) and walking with my gear bag about Dupont Circle for a mile to see friends and stave off the inevitable rigor mortis in my hip flexors and glutes. After all, this was the first time I did 10 laps on the ice…..
Rigor mortis did set in that night, but like any good aspiring hockey player, I took a hot bath, got out an ice pack, a refreshing beverage, and the best back support I could find to sleep on — my hardwood floor.
As the Buddha says, “All is created by mind.”
Or as I like to say, “If we don’t dream, then how do we get there?”
And as the Dalai Lama says, “Ho ho ho! If you can’t do anything good, then try not to do anything bad.”
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