I started playing organized hockey again. I played a couple of times last year, pick up, but not organized, not like I was when I played in California in Burbank and Pasadena. There they would have an actual draft, where they would make you do drills and try to set up the teams evenly so there wasn't one team that was loaded with great players and the rest with average players like me.
Hockey means a lot to me. Its hard to explain why. Some things are just your passion, they get into your blood. I started playing in my mid 30s, wanted to exercise and didn't think I would go to the gym that much, so I used my tax refund to buy hockey gear at a store in Woodland Hills, CA. Out of all places to get into hockey, go figure I get into it in California. Never been one to follow the norm.
2007 was a hard year for me hockey wise. Not only did I find out my diagnosis on the last day of Red Wings Training camp but I had to tell my team that I had cancer and I couldn't play that year. That was hard. We had a beginning of the season party and I didn't tell anyone until then. Everyone was shocked.
I was hoping that I could play that year. That hope was dashed when I had my port put in. No contact sports. I would have that port in until 2009.
Two frickin years.
Two years of not playing hockey.
That was hard. Obviously going through chemo, radiation, surgeries and all the crap that went with it was hard, but not playing was hard.
Hockey is cathartic for me.
It is zen for me.
There is something about the stillness about getting on a freshly zambonied sheet of ice. Hearing your skate blades hit the ice for the first time. Skating a few times around the rink. Doing some stretches. Then getting into the game.
If everything is going crazy in the world the ice is the one place where everything makes sense. I think everyone has one of those places. For me it just happens to be a rink.
Not being able to skate and to play made me feel less like me. Trying other sports or activities to fill the void just didn't cut it.
Something was missing.
Something that was a part of me.
As I got dressed in the locker room with some of the ladies that I have played with before I felt a sense of peace that I haven't felt in a while.
Stepping out onto the ice I felt shaky. But skating is like riding a bike you never forget.
We did drills and did a draft for teams and then we scrimmaged. There were players on the ice that were better than me and some that were not.
As I sat on the bench between plays all I kept thinking was this:
I beat cancer I can do anything on the ice.
I'll keep you posted when I net my first hat trick.
Mel is the producer/co~host of The Vic McCarty Show. Listen Live Monday~Friday 10am-noon eastern time on wmktthetalkstation.com
Check out my podcast The Cancer Warrior on Empoweradio.com Available on demand and also available on Itunes