I don’t know why I don’t talk about it. Maybe it’s that it feels so personal that I was allowed such a wonderful thing or maybe it’s that for the most part no one else is ever there and that makes it feel more intimate and less public, if that makes some amount of sense. Maybe it’s that I wanted to hold it dear to me until I was done writing and cling to it like fresh air to breathe. I’m not really sure, but I do know it’s a powerful thing that’s made me hold onto some of my experiences in the past few months instead of sharing them here. That said, it’s time to share just how lucky we are to have this team here.
Don’t ever let anyone tell you it’s about winning or losing, because it isn’t. I don’t just say that because we’re at the bottom of the league. We could be #1 and I’d still be saying it. It’s about friendship and comradery, community and having fun, supporting others and watching a bunch of young men try to make their dreams come true. It’s about hope and home, even if it’s thousands of miles from your original one. It’s about lasting memories and that special spark of something that burrows itself deep inside you and stays for the rest of your life.
I haven’t really written about all the practices that I’ve been to or the guys that bothered to take time out of their busy lives to talk hockey with me. I haven’t said a word about the smiles, the fist bumps, the endless array of questions I’ve sent toward certain players, or the fact that without them, I’d be drowning in confusion. I should have been saying it all along, but I was clinging to it like a child with a new shiny toy who just doesn’t want to share with their siblings right now. I wanted to share, but I wanted to hold onto it as my own for as long as I could. It’s time I told you that this team is made up of the nicest people imaginable. A coach that says yes to some random author lady asking if she can come to practice and sit quietly and take notes. Three players saying yes, they’ll field all my hockey questions, all of them with complete enthusiasm. Staff and the owner of the arena literally calling me the team’s biggest supporter and striving to make a million of my dreams come true in two short months.
These two months feel like a year. Between my full time career, all the events I’ve been going to, hockey games, hockey practices, DnD gaming, and trying to write a full length novel for the first time in my life I’ve had very little time for the rest of my life. So this is for those people too. My husband who has always given me undying support in all I do. My friends who have been patient when I’m late to gaming or can’t make it at all or I’m too frazzled to play Heroes of the Storm with them like I normally would. To my dad for lending his ear when I got too caught up in myself to breathe. To the entire staff of my breakfast writing spot – Weck’s – who never once kicked me out and never expected me to pay rent on my table (though I always have). My online friends for listening to the incessant hockey talk they probably gave zero shits about and my editor who is braving the shit out of this novel for me. This thing I’m doing… it’s for all of these people and it’s because of all of these people that it’d been possible.
I’ve been to so many practices and taken so many notes it’s filled half a notebook. I’ve taken notes on penalties, game plays, line swaps, stupid shit that went down, and bullshit from every game that takes up another quarter of that same notebook. There’s an entire other notebook for the ever changing plot of this monster of a book. I feel like I owe something to those notebooks for surviving me in these two months.
I’ve watched games from NAHL, Bantam-class, sled hockey, NHL, and random video clips until I confused myself and had yet more questions for the guys, that once again, they fielded with ease and patience. I’ve written until my wrists ached, until I found myself staring at Twitter for an hour and had no idea what to do with myself, until I dreamed about my characters. I’ve spent entire days at work wishing like hell it’d get done so I could go home to write only to lose my will to do it the instant I got home. I’ve spent hours in front of my computer doing anything but writing and then cursing myself for wasting that time. I’ve switched music genres enough to scare everyone around me while writing it and I’ve learned to love something I had no idea I did in two beautiful months.
So this is me telling you something very important. Always ask for what you need: the answer may surprise you. Dream big or small, but always keep dreaming. Think you can and you most likely will. Give people a chance and usually they’ll prove they’re worth that chance.
I only hope I’ve proved exactly that to the entire staff of Outpost Ice Arena, the NM Ice Wolves 2019 team, and the staff of Weck’s. I already know I’ve proved that to my father, my husband, and my friends. Love you all.
There’s one more game this year for me. I’m heading to Amarillo for the team’s away game there. My heart swells with the opportunity and even though I’m going to an NHL game in February, I’m honestly more excited to go support our boys in TX. Here’s hoping we show those Bulls what’s up.