03 March 2008

Coming Out of Retirement

Last week, a neighbor and co-worker of Craig's talked me into doing an AquaGym class. More exercise is good and it would allow me to see how the public pool is organized. But there were real swimmers in the other lanes. My ego shamed me as I ran in place wearing a foam belt. Also, it was boring, almost as boring as swimming laps. Then a guy walked out of the locker room wearing water polo headgear. I nearly cried. It was like seeing someone you haven't seen in ages, having no idea how much you missed her. There, loping around the pool on a stranger, was my old sporting companion. A hundred hockey moments flashed through my mind. There is no hockey in our area. He was there for polo. Maybe I could play water polo. It did feel good to be back in the water, even if it was with a bunch of women riding their invisible bikes. But Italian women don't play sports. Still, it couldn't hurt to ask. So, when we were finished kicking and punching, I asked one of the waiting polo players if girls play. He said, "Si" and which days. I was floored. And Eek! Polo really is much more rough than UWH. Am I talking out of my cap even to consider it? Well, turns out only little girls get to play. I don't know what they expect them to do once they're hooked. Our high school players would be furious if they started playing hockey, then were told, "Just the guys now. Ladies don't play hockey."

But that recurring affliction was burning inside me again. I went home and asked Craig if he wanted to go to Bologna and play hockey this weekend. We went. It was groovy. The players were friendly, the water wasn't too cold, and the bottom. . . oh baby. Big, fast tiles like we never see in the States. So the only thing in our way to a fantastic game was us. Several years out of the pool, not to mention crossing the fearful threshold of 40, had left us both somewhat less than prepared. But I have the tiny Torquemada who leads my ladies' exercise class to thank for the surprising level strength and fitness which did attend me last night. Which is not to say I was eager to get to said class this morning, creak, groan. But Craig rode his bike to work, so I would lose much face if I skipped class. In fact, last night was encouraging in that it was clear how much those classes are holding me together.

Now, the really exciting news. Bear in mind it's 2+ hrs drive and a hefty highway toll to go to Bologna, as welcoming and friendly as they are. (We have a place to stay now any time we come to town. Hockey people are just like that.) But there is a solid rumor of [drum roll, please] underwater hockey in Genoa! The Bologna leader gave us contact info for a woman who has in recent weeks secured a pool and declared it hockey. That means half the drive. Still a harder gig than SF to San Jose, but doable. Now on to European tournament hopping! There is a handful of expats of various ilk spread around hockey forsaken lands. F
or tournament going purposes, we have proclaimed ourselves to be the Swiss team , since one player (just one) does live in Switzerland, but we've yet to play together.

Sticks up: Go!

2 comments:

Betsy said...

Hi Molly! Thank you SO much for commenting on my Blog. I am happy to have the support of another infant blogger!

I have two younger sisters (one only two years younger than me and another who is 9 years younger) whom I also consider my best friends. I think that it is fantastic that you and Bonnie are able to remain so close, living so far away (who wouldn't want an excuse to visit Italy though!).

I am fascinated with the concept of underwater hockey. After reading your blog entry, I immediately started searching for information on this unheard-of-to-me sport.

In one article it compared the underwater version to more widely known hockey (clearly known for it's violence and player's brute force) and stated that the aquatic form required "speed, skills, and teamwork" to score goals. Too bad that I have neither speed nor any sort of athletic skill to offer... :)

Amy said...

But there is a solid rumor of [drum roll, please] underwater hockey in Genoa!

And you thought you'd only ever end up in Genoa once.

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