The most important factor in playing hockey is being able to skate, and the most important factor in being able to skate is having skates that fit.
Unfortunately, I failed in both cases.
For our new series Missing the Cut, the Mosaic staff has decided to send me out into the world to try my hand at club sports and physical activities UA Honors students undertake at our university. We decided to start with hockey.
The first thing you have to know about me is that I hate the cold. Hockey is played on ice. A perfect fit.
When we got to the rink in Pelham, home of Alabama’s hockey team, we had about five minutes to get on the ice between the end of practice and when the resurfacer rolled out to prepare for the next group that had reserved the rink. I walked in and asked for size 11 skates thinking that if they matched my shoe size, I’d be fine.
I was wrong.
My foot slid left and right inside the boot before I even tried to take a step. One of the workers at the rink almost didn’t let me on the ice because he saw, from my waddle down the hall, that the skates were too large.
Having grown up playing hockey in the street, I had plenty of confidence in my skills, but the ice was a new frontier. Ice-skating is easily four times more difficult than roller skating.
I’m glad we didn’t have time for me to run through a full hockey practice. Those guys fly around the ice and hit like freight trains. I’d prefer not to find myself between one of them and a wall of glass while struggling to balance on tiny blades.
All in all, I had a good time and will definitely be watching the hockey team play this year. They open their season on the road on this Friday at West Virginia. The first home game at the Pelham Civic Complex is scheduled Oct. 7.