Last night was Girls Night Out. There were six of us, so we decided to balance out all that estrogen by going to a minor league hockey game. (Actually, this was an emergency GNO, hatched in an effort to keep one of our number from crashing her ex-husband’s wedding, making an emotional scene, and possibly spending the night in jail for stuffing the wedding cake down the bride’s dress. We figured a hockey game–preferably one with lots of body checking, high sticking, and a fight or two–would be a good legal and moral alternative. And it was cheaper than posting bail.)
I have this to say about hockey: it’s brutal. I mean, the penalties have names like Slashing, Hooking, Spearing, and Charging. Fans of other sports collect souvenir t-shirts and giant foam hands. Hockey fans collect teeth.
Despite that (or, in all honesty, because of it), it is really fun to watch. Fast moving, energetic, a poetry of grace and fury–other than football, I can’t think of a sport I’ve enjoyed more. I actually heard the blood rush to my head when the Spokane Chiefs sank their first puck into the net. About halfway through the game I realized I’d lost my voice, but it hardly mattered in the frenzied thunder of the crowd. We were one mind and one sound, bent on victory.
I’m sorry to say that, in the end, the sacrifice of my vocal cords was for naught. The Chiefs lost, 4 to 2. In the final twenty seconds of the game, tempers flared and two players threw off their helmets and gloves to clash like padded titans out on the ice. Just before the referees pulled them apart, the Chiefs player pinned the Kootenay player to the ground.
The crowd roared as if we’d won.
As for us, after the game we drowned our erstwhile bloodlust in swirls of ice cream sprinkled with candy and wrapped in hot fudge. Never underestimate the healing powers of dessert.
“Ice hockey is a form of disorderly conduct in which the score is kept.” ~Doug Larson