Wednesday, August 10, 2005


Ice is Nice

When I lived in San Diego, roughly from 1974 to 1992, one of the things I did for fun was learning how to play hockey and working at it in an attempt to become the best hockey player I could be. I played at least once, and usually twice a week for fifteen years. I've never, to this day, found a more enjoyable way to keep in shape.

I had a little experience from my childhood, but it was precious little. I wasn't interested in sports then, except for baseball. Our gang played baseball in the summer, and went to see our local minor league team, the Grand Forks Chiefs, as often as we could afford the fifty cents for a knothole gang admission. I even signed up to sell ice cream sandwiches in the stands, just to get to see more games. Selling ice cream sandwiches is a pretty good trick during night games when the temperature was in the forties and fifties.

There was an empty lot between our house and the Kranzlers'. Each winter, we banked up some snow around the edges of the lot and filled it with water from our garden hoses. Presto! an instant ice rink. We didn't have skates, but we'd get sticks and a puck and try to play in our street shoes. I always hoped I'd get some skates, but not enough, I guess, to actually save up some money for them.

My only skating experience as a kid was to occasionally go to the University fieldhouse, where the Sioux played, during public sessions and rent skates. The skates were so broken down that I had no idea what good skates would be like.

After I moved to Orange County (the first time) I took my son to a couple of LA Kings games. Somehow, we converted that into going skating ourselves.

After moving to San Diego, and getting financially stable, I started playing the game with a group of guys around my age. Since I was pretty new at the game, I was in constant learning mode for the first two or three years. Learning mode usually meant hearing "Gawdammit, get back onside!" and stuff like that many times during each game.

In time, I learned the game and actually started becoming a decent defenseman. Being a good defenseman means being good at getting in the other team's way. My dad used to say I was really good at getting in the way.

After I lost a job and subsequently moved back to LA, then Orange County, I got away from playing hockey. I kept ice skating, though not regularly.

Well, now that I have arguably the best job I've ever had, and it happens to be located not far from a very decent ice rink. I'm on skates again. Now, let's see if a way overweight old fott can get back into some kind of shape.....

They've killed Freedom! Those bastards!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

3 comments:

TWC said...

Great story, which is exactly what makes blogs work. You gotta write about what you know. Great picture too, that's gotta be you in red.

Col. Hogan said...

Thanks. Actually, I'm the one on the left, in the white.

The Wine Commonsewer said...

I say no way, not the guy in white. It doesn't look like you.