Hockey was never a sport I was ever overly interested in as a kid or teenager. My dad took my sister and I ice skating on occasion but the memories of wearing uncomfortable skates and falling on the cold ice kept the rink far from my mind. Then one day back in Fall 2008, one of my co-workers told me that he was joining an adult hockey league in Central Park. He was older than me and had never played hockey before and didn’t know how to skate. I became inspired by his optimism and motivation and decided I, too, would give it a shot. We requested to be on the same team because we thought it would be good moral support, and was it ever. We ended up being placed in D4, which is the lowest-skill level in the league.
Along with another woman who was on our team, my friend and I were by far the least experienced skaters. I was afraid that everyone would brand us as the worst players because of our lack of skill. And the way our season started out, I began to figure we’d place last in the championships. I couldn’t be more wrong about both. Not only were the men and women on my team amazingly kind and supportive, but we won the D4 championships with an unbelievable upset to the opposing team. It was like something out of a movie.
My team were the underdogs, good, dedicated players, but worst in their division. The #1 team had their own good group; they played rough and talked rougher. Throughout the entire season we played with heart and had a good time. When we realized we would be playing for the championship against the best team in our division, we were more than ready. With less than two minutes left in the last game, my team was losing 3-2. Then the opposing team took a penalty. My team pulled our goalie and pressed into their territory. Thirty seconds down on the clock and we tied it 3-3. The momentum had shifted and the game was going to OT. A bad play by our opponents led to a perfect 2 on 1 situation where a sweet pass led to a goal which ended the game. We had won 4-3.
Out of the entire season I missed two games. The first was when the season had just started. The second was the night of the championship. Both were because I had to work. I couldn’t be there to support my team the night we won the championship, but when I called my co-worker right after the game and he told me we had won, I screamed and jumped up and down in my office so enthusiastically that one of the people I worked with thought I had won the lottery. That night, it kind of felt like I did.