Tuesday, February 07, 2006

What the Puck? Part 2

Monday, January 6th

7.45pm: Looking out of the window it’s minus 6 degrees, snowing heavily, with a 24km/h wind lashing the tree tops. There’s fifteen minutes until I’m supposed to play my weekly outdoor game of hockey with enormous Swedish men. Surely they won’t play in this sort of weather?

7.50pm: The children are refusing to go to bed, so I grab my skates and walk up to the ice-rink to avoid having to read Harry Potter. I’m confident there’ll be no play tonight.

7.55pm: Arrive at the ice-rink to find seven guys frantically skating from side to side with snow shovels to clear the rink. In England we’d have called the National Guard out in weather conditions like this. The absolute last thing we’d have contemplated is playing ice-hockey in it.

8pm: Bollocks. Nothing to do but lace up and get out there. Game starts well when I attempt to tackle Johan (a local hairdresser confidently dressed in a Björklöven jersey and a pair of expensive looking sports glasses) but somehow miss and perform a triple salko (in the pike position) before crashing down on the ice. Not good hockey, but rather spectacular in its own way, even if I do say so myself.

9pm: Been playing an hour now and my eyebrows are frozen. I’ve got a strange taste in my mouth like I’m sucking a battery and I can no longer feel my toes. The snow’s so deep now that the puck travels under it, making following it somewhat difficult. We collectively decide to call it a night, although I secretly suspect the enormous Swedish men would have happily played on until the snow reached up over their knees.

9.15pm: Arrive back home. Discover that the heat from my profusely sweating head has melted the snow on my woollen hat and then been re-frozen several times. This means I’ve been playing ice-hockey for the last hour with what looks like a giant glass bowl on my head.

9.20pm: Sit down (very carefully) and defrost in front of the TV with a nice cup of tea and swear I’ll never play ice hockey again. Until next Monday that is.

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