I owe an apology to my friends and family that follow this blog; I haven't made a post in ages and I'm sure you all think I've fallen off the earth. I guess working 40+ hours a week and going to school full time will do that to ya, eh?
No, dear constant readers, I am still alive and kicking and working hard towards my goals.
Several things have happened since I last posted, most of which are for the better.
Aside from being back in school this year, I've also decided to take up playing ice hockey again and get my fat ass back in shape; I miss the slim, fit and strong me I was four years ago. I've been hitting the gym at work on a regular basis and eating better foods. I've noticed only a little change so far, but taking it off is much harder than putting it on.
As I mentioned, I've decided to jump back into playing ice hockey. There's an adult rec league here in the valley that offers different levels of experience ranging from novice to expert (I'll probably have to start my fat ass back down on the novice level, because I've lost a great deal of the skill I developed as a young man).
Back in October I went over to my parent's place an dug out my old hockey gear. I used to have two sets, one of which was rather old, but my father sold one of the sets while I was in Canada. Thankfully he sold my old-an'-busted gear instead of the new stuff I bought my senior year.
I pulled all the pads and accessories out to make sure they still fit; shoulder pads, elbow pads, helmet, and knee pads all fit. The trousers were the only things that didn't fit anymore, and chances were that I'd never fit into them again, no matter how much weight I lost. Hey, everything else fit, and that's better than a stick in your eye, eh?
I went to try on the skates...and, well, there were no skates. I searched through all the little places my folks store things to no avail; I did find my dad's old skates that he's only used once or twice in the last decade, and my little sister's hockey skates my dad bought her a few years ago, but my nice new Bauers were nowhere to be found.
So, I supposed, I would have to put off playing in the rec league a while until I could save up for another pair. Oh well. One more goal to work towards I suppose.
Well, as it happens now and again, life had a pleasant surprise in store for me; I received a nice bonus check from my company that came along with the promotion I'd recently received, and my wife donated $100 to my gear fund (that was, of course, my Christmas present for the year, he he). I was in business...so I thought.
I looked up my old haunt for hockey gear, Skate n' Score, that used to be run by one of my old coaches from high school, and found that it's no longer there; it is, in fact, no longer anywhere. Hmmm, that was odd, it was an extremely successful business if I remembered correctly.
So, then began me research into a new place to buy gear locally. I didn't want a used pair of skates, because used skates are already broken in on another foot, and that can get uncomfortable (especially with my mutant Fred Flintstone feet). On top of that, skate technology has come so far over the last decade that losing my old skates, as expensive as they were at the time, was probably a blessing in disguise. Most skate boots made now are constructed out of a special material that, when heated in a special oven, can be custom formed to your own foot. This drastically reduces break-in time. For leather skate boots, the break-in period was between 6-8 hours of ice time, depending on how much different your foot was from the generic skate boot shape. Now, break-in periods are as short as three hours of ice time. For someone who's feet and ankles are already in shape, that's simply a long public skating session at the rink.
Long story short, I found a couple of places not too far away from home; The Player's Bench, which is a large North American chain store, and another mom n' pop operation just down the street from it called Breakaway Hockey.
I checked both places out. I wasn't terribly satisfied with the service I was receiving at Player's Bench, though their prices were acceptable, so I went over to the mom n' pop place, which was literally just a hole-in-the-wall establishment hidden behind a few well known businesses.
The fellow who operates this store was very service minded, and worked hard to find me a skate that would suit my needs. It also turned out that he knew two of my coaches from high school; Al Weidner, who still lives two doors down from my parents and who I still see from time to time, and Gary who used to operate Skate n' Score.
Turns out, I learned from this gentleman, that Gary passed away last year of a heart attack.
This old fellow at the store gave me a rather generous discount on my skates, and allowed me to use my old trousers and my dad's old skates as trade-in credit, even though he doesn't usually deal in used gear. He also gave me a good discount on a new pair of CCM pro-grade trousers.
So, I finally had a complete set of gear, now to look at rec league...uh oh, clashes with my school schedule...rats. Just one more incentive to bust through school I suppose. Oh well, there's always drop-in games at the ice sheet, eh?
Well....as it happens again, life had one more little nice surprise in store for me.
My boss at Parks and Rec Adaptive contacted me and, as he knew of my love of hockey, asked me if I wanted to be an assistant coach for the sledge hockey team. And not only would I help coach, but I would be suiting up and strapping myself into a sledge to play and get experience too. I was going to be getting paid to play hockey...dream come true, eh? Hey, who cares if I'm only getting paid a paltry hourly wage to play, I was going to be getting paid to play. There's a word for that, and I think it's "Awesome."
I've also decided that I'm going to start saving for a set of goaltender gear, too. I played goalie in high school for a few games when our goalie busted his arm, and though it was the most difficult position I'd ever played, it was one of the funnest as well. When I get into rec league hockey, I'll probably go in as a goalie, because they're in demand more and have more opportunities to play. Besides, one can only be a fan of Roberto Luongo for so long without wanting to be a goaltender one's self (by the way, here's a big shout out to Luongo for shutting out the Anaheim Dorks on Tuesday!!! Awesome, dude!)!
So, anyways, dear constant reader, that's just a little of what has been going on in this little life of mine. I promise I'll be a little more consistent in the future.