My religion...

...is a cold, icy early morning, with the moon still up and nearly full, making ending a Saturday night early to be up for it just that much better.

...is finally pronouncing Hwasan Cheyukwan so the taxi driver understands it the first time.

...is a freezing, dark arena, abandoned except for the basement rink.

...is the slow, flickering awakening of the not-quite-bright-enough lights on rough ice, the red and blue of the new paint giving it a fresh look that it lacked for my first six months.

...is the fumes given off by the kerosene heater as it sputters to life in the frigid locker room.

...is the easy rhythm of dressing, pants-skates on-shinpads-skates tied-elbow pads-jersey-helmet-gloves, right to left, same every time.

...is walking down a flight of stairs in skates.

...is the first step onto the ice, the crunch of the blade echoing in the rink.

...is my breath somehow adding to the haze that settles over the surface naturally.

...sprinting blue line to blue line, remembering how much fun skating really is, somehow still novel every week.

...is just feeling the puck on my stick.

...is the eagle eyes of the players waiting to come on the ice, calling the one rule we actually enforce: "Offside-uh!"

...is the moment I realize my toes and fingers are warm.

...is sixty minutes of five on five and one shift off the ice.

...is playing every position save goalie.

...is an end-to-end rush, a breakout pass, defending a three-on-one, one-timers and tips and great breakaway saves and how they're all the same even if I can't hear a word of English to describe them.

...is how good I feel after an hour of hockey, no matter how I played, no matter how much sleep I got the night before, even when I'm coughing up a lung.

Who needs a god, when you've got hockey?

1 comment:

janjanmom said...

Isn't it neat how some things transcend language, like hockey.

Never played, but you make it sound fun.