Twenty women, 200 beers, seven hockey games, three goals, and one broken air mattress.
By Hannah Wallace
And now, as a two-year veteran, I’m happy to present The Rookie’s Guide to Women’s Amateur Travel Tournament Hockey (based, in no way whatsoever, on my experiences in Fort Myers this past weekend).
Welcome to Ms. Conduct hockey. Let’s start with food. All the nutrition you’ll need comes from frozen pizzas, frozen lasagnas, Pop Tarts, tater tots and Hebrew National pigs-in-blankets. (The latter will, without a doubt, be held aloft by one of your lesbian teammates as she shouts, “I’m cured! I’m cured!”)
Get to know your teammates. As a Ms. Conduct player, you’ll party (and, you know, play hockey) with fistfight-inducing veterinary technicians and fearless second-grade teachers. The C-team captain is assistant managing director for Asolo Rep; our goalie heads the aquatics program at the Berlin branch of the Sarasota YMCA; and one of our defensemen, a legal aide (and our gracious hostess for the weekend), can down a Bud Light faster than our coach—who’s a six-foot-five, 250-pound fireman.
And with all the talent on the team, there’s a salve for every sticky situation. Lock your keys in the car? Your linemate’s handy boyfriend can retrieve them with a coat hanger. Rode a mini-bike into a parked car? Well ma’am, there’s an insurance adjuster just inside.
Some guy snapped the tab off the release valve on your borrowed $200 Aerobed? Not to worry: Your 46-year-old truck driver teammate can super-glue that sucker air-tight. (She can also fix the air mattress—heh.)
And when you awaken the next morning on that jury-rigged mattress, turning green from staring at the ceiling fan, just remember: Nothing cures a hangover like your team’s first win. (And your own first hat trick.)
That’s right, for all our wild nights, we have the most fun on the ice. Our organization has two teams (one rec and one C-level), which means every on-ice accomplishment is accompanied by raucous ovations from the other Ms. Conduct players in the stands (who will, by the way, also laugh heartily at you when you beef it going over the boards, so keep that in mind).
Nothing tops playing hockey to the cheers of familiar voices. Sure, the pros have legions of fans, but after an NHLer scores three goals in a game, how often, I wonder, does he recognize the hats being thrown on the ice—the same hats worn by teammates and friends at the party the night before?
Even for the coolest game on earth, you gotta admit, that’s pretty darn cool.