After eight months of skating and playing hockey, I finally managed to suffer a hockey injury. If you think losing teeth might hurt, then I suggest you get hit in the pinkie with a puck.
It happened during my weekly beginners hockey clinic in Pasadena. I was playing defense, dropped back to thwart a goal from being scored and got nailed on the inside of my glove -- which has little padding -- by a slapshot off the stick of a 12-year-old boy.
I continued play for a minute or two and then realized I couldn't grip my stick. So I skated over to the bench and plunged my injured member into the icy waters of my water bottle. As I was trying to articulate to Coach Tim that my little finger hurt like a motherfucker, the guy who drives the Zamboni chimed in with this kind offering: "Welcome to hockey, dude."
This, of course, was simply code for "stop being a pussy." It reminded me of the time I was negotiating the purchase of my 2007 Subaru Outback and the saleswoman suggested to me that perhaps "it's too much car for you." When a lady tells a guy that a Subaru Outback is too much car, everyone knows what she's really saying: too much car, too little evanroot.
So I gamely returned to action, despite my throbbing pinkie. I even stayed out on the ice after the scrimmage ended to get in a little extra skating and stickhandling work. Then it only took me 30 minutes to unlace my skates -- something not easily done with just nine working digits -- and there was no way I was going to ask for help.
As it happened, I had to visit the doctor the next day to get a sore knee examined. My sawbones once worked stitching up Kings players -- many refusing anesthetic -- and he quite enjoyed the sight of my purple pinkie and graciously provided me a small splint on the house.
Now that the pain has dissipated, I've quite enjoyed parading around my splinted finer and explaining it was a hockey injury. I do not believe I've actually impressed anyone, teaching me this important lesson: unless you leave a couple of pints of blood on the ice or perhaps a major organ, it's best to keep your pain to yourself.