The good news: Sunday's game was probably our best yet. Although we lost 4 to 3, we lost to the best team in our league (they're undefeated) and the game went down to the wire.
The hardest thing we're dealing with are extended lapses when teams score in bunches on us. On Sunday, the game was scoreless for about 11 1/2 minutes -- a really good start for us -- and then our opponents scored four goals in the next 13 minutes. We quickly countered with a trio of goals but it wasn't enough to pull out the game.
I actually finished the game not completely disgusted with myself. To wit:
THINGS I DID WELL
•As right wing, I got my ass in front of the other team's goalie early and often. It paid off in the second period when I was able to knock the puck away from an opponent and knock him down. My center picked up the puck and scored -- my first-ever league assist!
•I got up and down the ice a little quicker than the previous week. I realize this is like saying a snail is faster than an inanimate, stationary object. But it's progress.
THINGS I DIDN'T DO SO WELL
•Two offsides calls on me cost us potential rushes on goals. On one, I mis-timed entry into the other team's zone. That happens. Later, I inexcusably lost track of the puck and didn't clear the zone. So I was sitting there like a lame asshole when the puck came back in and I got the whistle.
•I didn't execute the breakout along the boards competently and I still don't have the ability to carry the puck for more than a short distance in traffic or when I've got someone chasing me or in front of me. I am, however, pretty good at carrying the puck at stick-time when there's no one within 20 feet of me.
•I have some shifts in which I can't tell you where I am, what I'm doing or why God put me on this Earth, assuming there is a God. This is partially a hockey problem and partially a metaphysical issue, I suppose.
Wait. Strike that last one. It's a hockey problem.
Losing, of course, sucks the Gigantic One. But I'm pleased that the finger-pointing on my team has been minimal and the focus has been on team and individual improvement. It's a great bunch of guys (and one girl) who deserve to win some beer league hockey games and spank off about it the rest of the week.
So there's not much we can do other than keep showing up at the rink and keep getting after it.
In related news, I did something novel last night: I attended stick-time at the Pasadena rink from 6:30 to 7:30, made a quick change of clothing and hustled over to LA Fitness for an 8 p.m. yoga class.
In other words, I went from the chilly ice and practicing my slap shot while surrounded by a bunch of guys in full hockey gear to a warm room and being positioned in Downward Facing Dog and Happy Baby while surrounded by a bunch of girls not in full hockey gear. In less than an hour.
And, somewhat surprisingly, my perpetually sore groin feels great today!