Sunday, March 20, 2011

The ultimate warm-up

I stepped on the ice and flailed as my right skate shot out from underneath me. Hurriedly, I swung my weight to the left, becoming an ice ballerina as I sailed on one foot towards the barrier. Was the rink slick with water from the new surface deposited by the departing Zamboni? Normally, freshly cut ice has the reverse problem, with the residue thin layer of water causing the puck to stick to the rink before it freezes properly.

Gingerly, I put my skate back on the ice only to have it slide hopelessly sideways. What crazy ice problem was this? Two of my team-mates passed me, apparently unaffected. Was the issue with my skate? Had my blade come loose without me noticing? That would be bad; I couldn't skate with a blade so displaced it sent me flying every time it touched the rink. I'd have to not play.

I scanned my friends performing warm-up exercises. We were low on numbers tonight, I had to skate! I'd just have to ... have to .... skate on one foot. At least I'd have the element of surprise. Maybe if I pushed off from the bench really hard at the start of each of my shifts, I could sail across the rink, intercept the puck and ...

... be carted off for six weeks traction before the end of the first period.

This was clearly a COMPLETE DISASTER! However you looked at it there was going to be carnage and missed goals and broken bones and bandages and probably an iron lung. 

I reached the barrier and leaned against it, allowing me to get a proper look at my feet. My eyes narrowed at the lump of sticky tape attached to my right blade. Okay, perhaps no one had to loose the use of their lungs. This seemed like a solvable situation.

The next few minutes progressed in a remarkably similar manner to this video clip. I pushed the lump of tape with my free boot but it just slid along the blade. Next I tried pinning it down with my left blade while I lifted my right skate up. That caused my skates to be stuck together. Then I tried trying to rub it off on the barrier after which I attempted ... Look, it doesn't matter. Let's just say in a battle of me versus tape there was a clear winner and leave it at that.

Ultimately, I was rescued by a team-mate who was able to bend down and tug the offending stickiness free of my skate. The exposed blade finally cut into the ice and I shot forward just as the whistle blew for the game to begin. Fortunately, I had just stretched out every single muscle. It was the ultimate warm-up. I must write to the NHL.

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