"Our Sole Goal Is to Have a Blast"

Yes. It was time. The first game of the season, and the first one since COVID. I could tell, just from the bus ride over, that it was gonna be a good one.
The tension on the bus was palpable as the sound of rustling papers and scraps of conversation floated up and down the aisle. When we arrived, we settled into our locker room: a palace with an entrance hall and beautifully varnished rack to rest our sticks, with a full bathroom with showers, with two separate large rooms, and with benches galore.

As we settled in, we hyped each other up, playing music, joking, and getting ready to play our hearts out.  Amidst the racket, the older players also hurriedly briefed the newer ones on last-minute rules and strategies not covered in practice. It’s my fifth year on the team, and I didn’t know how to skate the first time I practiced on the ice. Most of the team doesn’t know how to play when they join, and we all love hockey. Through the din of positioning, how shift changes work, and offsides rules, I made eye contact and got excited with many of my close friends on the team. We couldn’t wait.

JV hockey is hands-down the most fun team on campus (I’m not biased) because our sole goal is to have a blast. And we do.

The game itself was perfect. In our first shift, we got the puck successfully out of our zone when my defense partner got a breakaway and scored. We got off the ice and it was amazing to watch new skaters play their first shifts and make solid passes. Throughout the game, we kept a positive spirit, focused on working together, and had a ton of fun. Unfortunately, though, we did lose 3–4, Groton to Governor’s. The second goal that Governor’s scored was right after I failed to catch a breakaway. More specifically, it was after one of the opposing players and I skated up the ice as fast as we could, racing each other for the puck. I tripped at the last moment (on a nick in the ice?  I’m not sure . . .) and fell backwards, getting a concussion and more importantly not stopping the impending goal.

Our fifth game of the season was last Friday. It was only my second, because of the concussion, but it was so wonderful to be playing again. Despite the long week and dreary weather, those hours on the ice (a little longer than most games because the other team was late) were perfect. Everyone was so excited, and so present in the pure joy of playing hockey.