Until 2000, I played on a women’s recreational hockey league every Sunday night. As a kid, I used to play all-day shinny with my brothers on whatever scrap of frozen water we could find. On the farm, that meant skating on dull blades through fields of ice cluttered with stands of frozen weeds. Maybe I never learned how to skate backwards or to do a fancy parallel stop with much skill, but I certainly could swerve and hop so that I didn’t crash to the ice as I chased the puck.
This weekend, Hub bought some new downhill skis. He’s been saying for years that he wanted to get back into it. Last Christmas, I gave him some high-tech ski gloves and a gift certificate for a ski shop. Last week, he actually went through the storage space we euphemistically call the ‘suitcase room’ under the stairs, where he’d stored bags and bags of old equipment. Lots of the stuff that shrank while in storage will be donated. He still found enough bits and pieces or gear to cover his larger-sized body as he carves his path down the expert hills. I convinced him to buy new goggles when I pointed out how the padding in his old ones has crumbled.
The last time I downhill skied was a decade ago. As much as I enjoyed it, I’m now more concerned about crashing and hurting myself in what they call a ‘yard-sale’ tumble down the slopes. Of course there is always cross-country, but honestly, I used to do that too and clearly remember sweating like a pig from the exertion. I’m older and wiser and don’t have anything to prove. Now I think I’ll just bring my laptop, don my ski bunny outfit and sit in the heated lounge working on my books while Hub does his thing.
While we were waiting (for more than an hour while the guys took their smoke and coffee breaks) for the bindings to be installed, I checked out the racks of hockey gear. For a fleeting moment, I considered getting back into a senior grandma hockey league but when I scoped out the cost of new equipment I quickly discarded that stupid idea. Forget my fear of broken bones or fractures. Or that I really don’t like the cold anymore. It was the bloody prices!
Shoulder pads at over $200, gloves at $100, helmets at over $150. I used to whine about paying $30 for a hockey stick. Now they cost upwards of $275. To say nothing of the garters, socks, elbow and shin pads, stick tape and something called ‘sex wax’, which I’m not sure has anything to do with the game or to be used afterwards to take the players’ minds off a loss.
And the skates! Lord have mercy. Of course I’d want a pair I could use my orthotics in, so I’d be looking at more than $500. Do I really need more stuff? I can’t promise my motivation would last very long either, as much as I loved the physicality of the games and the clean breathlessness of surviving short shifts.
I am mindful that for that kind of coin, a one-week all-inclusive vacation in Huatulco or Costa Rica is a great alternative. Which is what we’re planning to book for early 2015.