BUZZZ the score clock goes signalling the end of the second period. I am relieved to hear it. I begin to skate slowly from the bench to the door, while pushing pressure into my frozen toes. As I reach the door to exit the ice surface, I think to myself why on earth do we always have to play in the coldest rinks on the coldest days. The rink is an old barn that’s hardly insulated, which is likely the reason its cold. I push my thoughts aside and take the stairs down to the basement where all the dressing rooms are located.
As I walk through the door, I feel a burning sensation as my skin is exposed to the warmth. I turn quickly out of the line and head for the girls dressing room. I search through my bag looking for my protein bar. In the bottom left corner, I spot it, I grab it fast and head across the hall to the boy’s room to join the rest of the team. Upon entering the boy’s room, I see everyone is just getting seated, I scan the almost full room for a spot. I spy one and make my way over and plop down.
The coach begins his speech, it’s the usually “if we wouldn’t always sleep through the first, we wouldn’t always have to play catch up in the third.” And so on. Then he leaves the room the music starts up. As usual it is some rap song, that has the base so loud the words are flushed out. Before I know it, the coach tells us it’s time to hit the ice for the third period. I quickly grab my helmet snap it up and head up the stairs. As I climb the stairs, I can feel the cold breeze sneaking in under the door at the top.
The third period fly’s by, a little of them scoring a bit of us scoring and a whole lot of burning lungs due to the cold air. BUZZ the buzzer goes and that game we lost 3-2. I slowly crawl out of the box and head for the net to meet up with my team before shaking hands. I am pulled in for a group hug then everyone disperses and goes to line up at center ice. The single file line goes slow I am near the center. By this point all I can focus on is what kind of warm drink I will order after the game. I am caught off guard by a comment from a boy on the other team. He says, “Don’t you figure skate or something hockey is for boys.” I try my best to think of a snarky remark but by the time I do he is long down the line and it’s too late. I reach the end of the line with his comment still weighing heavy on me, I look around to survey his team looking for girls. In that moment it occurred to me I was the only girl.
I began to think well maybe he is right not many girls do play peewee hockey by now it’s almost all boys. I quickly push away. My doubts and think, this is the sport I love and I don’t care if it’s meant for boys and can and will play it.