D League Chronicles: My First Drop-In Game

Last night I participated in my first drop-in game. What is a drop-in game? It’s an informal hockey game, like a pick up game of basketball. I’ve heard those north of the border call it a “Shinny” which just sounds like one of those words that only Canadians can say like “Hoser” or “aboot”.

We ended up with 7 skaters and 1 goalie. All of whom were much more skilled than I was. One guy skated like walking was harder to do than skate (Turns out he’s been skating since age 5. He’s in his 40’s now). Another was nicknamed “Wheels” by his friend (Guess who won every race to the puck?). We played 3-on-3 and only used half the ice. Luckily for me I was wearing a dark sweater and there were 4 of us so I got to rest a lot. Some of the important things I learned from my first drop-in game were:

  • It’s a drop-in game: Goals are not counted (I scored one). Slow down, chill out and have fun.
  • I have nothing to prove: It’s amazing how much breaking a limb can change your attitude for the better if you let it. I am just happy to be able to play hockey. I don’t need to try to play above my skill level.
  • My skill level? Beginner: And I’m perfectly fine with that. Lifetime Skater skated past me with the puck EVERY TIME I challenged him at the blue line. “Wheels” beat me to the puck 9 times out of 10 and almost every attempted poke check against me ended up in a turnover. The difference between now and the last time I played? I didn’t get frustrated this time around. I know they’re better than I am. However…
  • I have definitely improved: I felt much more comfortable on my skates and with the puck than the last time I played. I’m going to the right spots most of the time and I’m much more patient handling the puck. With good positioning and patience, I noticed that I was a better teammate and had more fun.

I’ll be taking these attitude with me when I get back into a league this winter. As if I wasn’t already looking forward to playing this winter, this made me even more excited for it. My legs work great. My skill has improved and my head is in the right place for rec-league hockey. Drop the puck! Let’s go!

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