What in the world am I doing? Am I crazy? Did you hear that smack? Am I hurt? Is this a midlife crisis? Such questions crash through my mind as I lie loose-limbed on my back looking at the metal-beamed ceiling above me through a metal-barred cage across my face.
The cage is the front of my hockey helmet. The ceiling is the cover over the ice rink in Idaho Falls. I’m back-bound because a new skater who doesn’t know how to stop just took me out from behind. I dropped as quickly as an icicle unhinged from a roof’s raingutter.
It’s week one of hockey season for the Idaho Falls Youth Hockey Association. Dozens of chilly-faced children are at the city rink for their first hockey lesson. They pile through the gate onto the ice like chips poured out of a bag. They sort themselves into a single layer and try to stand. They scramble for footing on finely-ground skate blades, find no steady stance, and pinwheel their limbs until they’re laid out on the ice again. Continue reading →