na foine ting

Monday, October 11, 2004
So there's Gavin and I, and we're working on his homework. Kindergarten homework is pretty serious business. One writes words and colors in the lines and puts orange exes on groups of five things. Three pages a night, if you put off doing homework all weekend.

Today Gavin read out the directions for his last page of the three: "Draw five blue triangles. Draw five green... um... oh, Christmas trees!" He rooted around in his crayon box. "I'm going to draw the Christmas trees first," he told me, "because at Christmas you get ANYTHING you want!"

"ANYTHING?" I echoed. "Really?"

"Anything, he confirmed.

"Like, if I wanted Scott Parker for Christmas I'd get him????"

He rolled his eyes. "No, mom," he said in that 'you're a doofus' tone, "Scott Parker's way too big to fit in your stocking."


When I was taking fire and cop agilities, if I failed it was always a head space issue.

Nine times out of ten, it wasn't that I couldn't actually haul the hose roll up three stories with a rope, it was that I didn't *believe* I could.

And more than that, it wasn't just my belief that I wouldn't pass the agility that was torpedoing me. It was my belief, at core, that I wasn't good enough for the job in the first place.

All of it bullshit, but you are what you believe you are, in the end.

In hockey, I find I get in my own way a lot less, for whatever reason. No lives at stake, maybe, not the only woman in the room (usually), and it's not about my ability or lack of ability to be something greater than human, a hero. It's just a game, and that reality is a lot easier to confront than the idea that I might be called on to be some kind of SuperKate, and then fail.

Though I have my moments, in hockey. Failure to take risks, and although friends and teammates are unjudgemental and sympathetic, I know better. I have my moments of blind panic, of screaming self doubt. And then it all feels like firefighting again.

I've joined a couple of practices with Dana Angus' new team, Cheap Skates. A nice group of folks, very much where the Hounds were at last year. All new, many fresh out of the Logitech Adult Beginner class. Still learning the basics, but having fun. Staggering through.

The last Cheap Skates practice was fun, and face it, I'm a ho for ice time. So I drove up on Saturday even though both Sparks and Loechner flaked on giving me a ride. And there I am sitting in the locker room and people are walking in and I know most of them and am as usual loud, foulmouthed, gregarious. And then it all sort of screeches to a halt as a tall guy walks in and starts putting his skates on, and I'm thinking "no, way, that's *him*."

It was downhill from there. I've been more useful to myself at fire agilities, with rope slipping through my gloves and sweat in my eyes and my proctor with the watch thinking 'here goes another one' and shaking his head.

I laced my skates wrong, put the wrong shirt on, and by the time I got out on the ice I'd already overskated and was practically hyperventilating.

The human mind. Fulcrum for greatness or time bomb. You see how it is.

Okay, yeah, and eventually I realized I was being stupid and he was a regular, nice joe, which I already knew, and it was great having the kids there and eventually I went back in the locker room and sorted my skates and gear out and calmed the fuck down.

Went back out on the ice and looked around and realized there were a bunch of my teammates there. And that my real connection, my real focus, my real love was there.

So I'm moved over to left wing on the right side instead of the left side of the face off circle, and I'm listening to him talk to one of the centers, but at the same time Noel and I are making rude gestures and giving each other the 'bring it' sign.

(And if you doubt nice, softspoken, hard-working, fair-playing Noel would be caught dead making obscene gestures, I'll remind you all of the famous Crotch Grabbing Penalty. Yes, thank you, I've made my point, may I go on?)

And I realized it's like that. Despite the disparity in levels, it's all common ground.

And hockey's good, and friends and team are good, and really... better than good.

Even jittery and distracted, it's always perfect, you know? Being there.


Childbirth class was good, this weekend. I'm excited about being a mom again. In that nearly-at-top-before-the-big-descent roller coaster kind of way.


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