She is an enigma wrapped in a little, blonde riddle.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

iHeart Hockey

I get some interesting reactions when I tell people I write hockey romance. I guess I look more Cinderella than Slap Shot. I started getting the reactions long before my writing days. I would tell people how much I loved the sport, and the most common response was raised eyebrows and, "Really?" Yes, really.

So the next question was how did a girl like me get into a sport like that? This is how :)

That's me at fifteen playing roller hockey in a small, local league. There was one other girl on the team, and she was the owner's daughter. It was...interesting. Still, you're thinking there has to be more to the story than one day I said to myself, "I know. Roller hockey." Right around this time, I went through my first ever breakup, and you know how that is. I felt like I needed to re-invent myself to move forward. I started going to the Skate Zone every weekend and even to night sessions during the week. It was a release, an escape. And I could skate. Those Rollerblades were like second feet. My favorite thing was beating the boys in speed races. Remember the scene in On the Fly when Carter challenges Jacey and she pretends to be a newb then sprints to the other end? I didn't pull that out of thin air :)

One day, I saw a flyer for the hockey league, and everything clicked. I'd never participated in contact sports before. Swimming, gymnastics, dance, sure. This was stepping into another realm. I was completely in over my head, and while it was fun, I didn't really know the rules at the time, so I just tried to follow whatever orders Coach barked from the sidelines. 

Know what's different about roller hockey? You don't have half as many pads. There are a lot of unprotected areas, and while you don't have a frozen disc of vulcanized rubber flying at you, you do have a small, hard rubber ball. Imagine taking a short-range slap shot to the forearm. Biceps. Sternum. You get the idea. I was covered in red, donut-shaped welts. The league dispersed on its own, but I'd already decided I liked hockey better as a spectator.

I started watching Pittsburgh Penguins games around the time Sidney Crosby came on the scene, and it's been true love ever since. Me and hockey, that is ;) I'm addicted to the excitement, speed, grace, and precise skill of the game. The intense bonds and joking brotherhoods of the players. That's what I want to come across in my Sinners novels. 

These days I settle for skating in the park. A few years ago, some roller derby girls saw me and wanted to recruit me--an honor--but I'll tell you a secret I was forced to admit to them. While I'm confident on my blades, put me in quad skates, and I'd probably break an ankle. Or two. I started out on quads as a kid, but as soon as I switched to in-line skates, I couldn't go back. The balance is all different. I prefer the freedom of movement I get from my blades and the ability to turn on a dime.

So that's the whole story :) Do you have a sport that gives you butterflies? How did you fall in love?

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Skatin' Legs

Ahh the siren's call of spring. It took its time this year, but finally, we got a nearly 70 degree day. Most people might hear chirping birds or trees swaying in the breeze. I hear a little voice saying, "Skating...go skating."

Remember the scene from On the Fly when Jacey rollerblades around her neighborhood? I've got a public park pathway just like that, and when it's warm enough, you'll find me there. I don't just talk the talk. I can skate the skate. The problem is, the need is so ingrained in me that I always go when it's still not quite warm enough. It really needs to be 72 before I can skate and not get a raw throat and a cough that lasts the rest of the day. I know this. I re-discover it every year. And yet...I'm powerless against the call. You know how some people have dancin' feet? I've got skatin' legs.

They don't give me any choice. They're addicted to the power of gracefully dodging pedestrians. It's kind of like flying without leaving the ground.

You'll notice I wear hockey skates :) This isn't just for the coolness factor. The harder boots provide more ankle support so I can skate my 9 to 12 miles at a time. Today? I was lucky to do 6. It takes some warming up. And sure enough, I got the cough. Every spring I tell myself I'll know better next time, but once I hear the little voice, I'm a lost cause. The legs want what the legs want.