Monday, March 10, 2014

Packing my bag and checking it twice

HockeyDreamHad a really stressful night's sleep. Nothing transpired over the past few days that could account for it. But, it was probably brought on by a strange dream from earlier this morning, which I can still vividly remember.

Doctors suggest we forget 95% of what we dream.

Every once in a while I get a doozy where it's still going on despite my being fairly certain I'm awake in the real world.

The heart is running at an elevated rate, and when I fully wake up, I'm really stressed, as if I'd run a 5k the night before.

* * *

This morning's dream involved a return to playing ice hockey, and primarily about getting dressed to play.

(Most people reading this have no idea of how slow I was at getting suited up when I first started playing ice hockey.

I used to get to the rink 60-90 minutes before game time just to make sure I had plenty of time. Yet, somehow, it was pretty certain I'd be one of the last people to leave the locker room.

Out of necessity I cured that problem, back in the 1990s, when I went away to hockey camp.)

It is my first time back on the ice after a prolonged stoppage. I don't exactly remember why I had the hiatus.


(I went skating last December for the first time in about three years and it was also the first time since I'd hyperextended both knees the year before. I felt like I was learning to skate anew. Very unsettling and I almost wanted to cry. But, as in baseball, there should be no crying in hockey!)

I don't know any of the players, except one. Most have already headed out to the ice while I'm still getting ready.

My equipment is strewn all over the small white cinderblock room. I go to grab something. But, can't find it!

(I still vividly remember one game where I got all dressed. On my way out to the rink I realized I had forgotten to put my shin guards on. Thank God I didn't take a shot in warm-ups as I certainly would have broken something.)

The clock on the wall keeps ticking and pretty much everyone else is out on the ice for warm-ups already. Only one returning player remains; urging me to hurry up.


Causing more frustration is the fact I'm not the only new player to the team. My sister is joining. She has no problems getting dressed.

(To the best of my knowledge she has never played hockey. Has never had the urge to go to one of the NCWHL's Give Hockey A Try Days, nor even strapped on a pair of hockey skates, which makes her being in the dream even more odd.

Co-rec teams are common these days, especially at the lower levels. Checking is expressly forbidden, though we always reminded ourselves the rule was "No Checking Does NOT necessarily mean No Contact.")

The clock keeps ticking as I struggle to get ready. I hear the buzzer off in the distance signifying the game is about to start.


A few more minutes are gone, and the first period starts. The veteran player comes back in asking how things are going?

"It's going" is about all I can answer as I look for a packing tape gun to throw on some tape over my hockey socks that now adorn my shin guards. (I think the only place I've actually seen packing tape used was in Mystery, Alaska.)

Glancing at the clock again, half of the first period has now vaporized. But, I cannot locate my hockey pants.


Finally locating them, I step my skates through the leg openings and pull the pants up.

Grabbing my helmet and gloves, I shuffle out of the room, only to freak out again. Light jersey or dark jersey? I'm wearing white at this point.

(I always made a point of emailing my teammates to remind them which jersey to bring, only to have the league switch us from 'Home' to 'Visiting' team one week. After that, I always brought BOTH!).

I've now wasted two-thirds of the First Period yet, strangely, people are still skating around as if warming up…and my jersey has morphed into a matching black. Don't ask me how, as my subconscious never explained that.

Sitting quickly on the bench, I stretch my legs before gingerly jumping on the ice to take a couple quick laps…and then it happens.


End of dream. No idea how I played; how my sister played. Did we win or lose the game?

So the moral of the story is to always check your hockey bag and make sure everything you need is in there, and to give yourself ample time to prepare.

(And to, perhaps, not eat Wasabi Hummus before bedtime! But, that's a story for another time…)