Seeking a Frozen Fountain of Youth

Icy HotLight a candle tonight for the welfare and recovery of an aged hockey player. I’ve had five days to prepare for my arrival on summer ice among and against a band of contemporary collegiate hockey players, as a beer leaguer who’s literally double their ages. The goal is simple: survive.
There is quality professional summer hockey taking place at Kettler Capitals this week, and across the Potomac, at the Cabin John Ice Rink in Montgomery County, there is quality amateur hockey also taking place, sullied a bit by my presence (a blogger double the age of the collegians). This misadventure is one part morbid curiosity (can I hang at all?) and one part fleeting vanity (do I possess still any moves that might elicit from my youthful ice mates age-dismissing praise?). I also thought it might be fun to chronicle.
Every summer at virtually every rink there are summer camps for hockey youths. This week at Cabin John, the Sport International Hockey Academy is guiding Montgomery youths through their puck paces. “40 hours of non-stop hockey” for ages 6-17 is how the camp advertises its week. The camp’s counselors are comprised of D-II and D-III flatbellies from Northeast colleges; I’ll be attempting to last a mere two hours in their company tonight.
Spending their mornings and afternoons with ankle-biters and many skating novices, the counselors are understandably starved for some serious ice time come evening. They also want to stay in shape. That’s where I come in. I take a Sunday shift at CJ on the Zamboni, and I am empowered with keys to the facility. Weekday evenings there in the summer are pretty much dead by 8:00. See where this is going?
Have I mentioned the advantage of youth these collegians will have on me?
Until this week I hadn’t been on the ice all summer. Worse, my off-ice summer training regimen has consisted largely of lifting draft Vogels. I’ve gone Tkachuk. Last weekend I made two trips to the gym to jumpstart my aerobic qualifications for tonight. But that’s like changing the oil on a ’78 Chrysler Town&Country for a cross-country cruise to Cali.
Cup'pa Joe
On Monday night, I shared Cabin John’s minature studio rink with a beer league teammate, where we tossed the biscuit around a bit and got our feet used to being in skates again. A bit “winded” we were, early on, on that small surface.
Hit the gym again last night. There’s no small victory in these bursts of renewed fitness activity that haven’t already produced injury. I’ve also thrown down a bit of a nutritional gauntlet this week: no Dairy Queen, and wheat tortillas with my burritos. Last Friday night I tried Rolling Rock Light with my home movie viewing. The horror in the bottle was more terrifying than ShowtimeBeyond. (Under the category perhaps of wedding re-gifting, I still have five bottles to donate to any OFB reader.)
The odds are overwhelming, I think, that about 20 minutes into tonight’s skate I’ll be UpTkachuking.
But there’s no turning back. I’m treating tonight as a seminal moment in my hockey career. This autumn delivers one of those calamitous, ending-in-zero birthdays for me, a widely acknowledged crossroads between sun-setting athletic viability and out-to-pasture, well-past-prime leisure pursuits that quietly are lamented by the young in rinks. Tonight I will learn where Coach Life is slotting me on my shifts in 2007-’08: grinding on the fourth line with other grey-hair-eds or still hopping the boards for second power play unit potency.

This entry was posted in College Hockey, Kettler Capitals Iceplex, Morning cup-a-joe, Shinny. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Seeking a Frozen Fountain of Youth

  1. SovSport says:

    Don’t break your hip, geezer 🙂

  2. Hockey Amor says:

    Pucksandbooks,
    Don

  3. Jesse Hightower says:

    Say, I’ll take those 5 beers off your hands

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