Podunk Meets Paradise

Musings from Central Idaho

Archive for the category “H-E-Double Hockey Sticks”

Return of the Cold Muthas

A few years ago, we started Podunk’s official ladies beginner hockey club — the Cold Muthas. We had big ambitions, like learning to get dressed and maybe even skate. For the most part, after 4 seasons, we have accomplished these lofty goals. A kneepad occasionally ends up strapped on the outside of a sock, helmets are put on before jerseys are pulled over heads, etc, but we’re getting there.

While I greatly admire the 75 billionish women who marched in capitol cities throughout the nation last weekend, I must note that few things are more inspirational than grown women learning to play hockey.

The tender toughness of my teammates grounds me in this world. For instance, with the combination of a seriously badass winter and the fact that our rink is starkly outdoors, the Cold Muthas new tag line has become, “Try not to cry.”

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After 4 years, the Cold Muthas have started to have schwag thanks to our teammate Cruella’s artistic beau. OK, and in addition to “Try Not To Cry,” we also prefer to remind ourselves, “What’s Done is Done.” In stores soon!

Yesterday, practicing with possibly only one degree on our side, one of our star offensivewomen, Absolute Zero, was in grave danger of breaking that one small rule as her fingers turned into rake tines in her padded but uninsulated hockey gloves. McMitty, a delicate skater with a series of hip replacements on her resume, quietly came to the rescue. She compassionately attended to Zero’s impending frostbite with her cure-all oven mitt. In the Muthas’ season one, McMitty’s improvisational oven mitt /hockey gloves kept her hands warm. Warmer than anything, in fact. Absolute Zero accepted the kind gesture, persevered with the oven mitt, and went on to significantly contribute to our weekly scrimmage.

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McMitty’s improvisational oven mitt/hockey gloves turn out to be hellawarm.

Today, we face challengers from the north in a 2 p.m. sideshow of the Salmon Lady Rapids U19 tournament. Zero managed to pen this elegant prose with her one cold paw still cradled in her armpit:

“Crazy or not, I’m a proud Mutha. I have suckled at the metaphorical teat of the Den Mutha  [author’s note: that’s me, the Den Mutha. And I guess I have a metaphorical teat.] for two winters. Like Ruth, I say, “wither thou goest, I shall go. Thy tournaments shall be my tournaments.”
Pretty sure that’s in the Bible.
At this moment I think of Eisenhower rallying his troops:  “We are about to embark upon a Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months…Our task will not be an easy one. Our enemy is well trained, well equipped and battle hardened, and will fight savagely. We will accept nothing less than full Victory!”
Muthas, I feel unfit for the task at hand, but my sense of duty and loyalty surpass my feelings of inadequacy. I would skate with you through the gates of hell wearing a gasoline g-string.

Cold Muthas Rub Out the Icy Hots

Podunk’s premiere ladies hockey team, the Cold Muthas, accepted a challenge to play the Idaho Falls Icy Hots last night. I’m pleased to say that we were able to raise the victory flag with a convincing 4-3 win. The win was “convincing” because we were playing with a dirty goalie, a 14-year-old replacing her night’s babysitting wages with bribes from the crowd.

The refs were also supplementing their income at our expense.

The penalty called in this instance was "Too Many Muthas on the Ice." Bogus.

The penalty called in this instance was “Too Many Muthas on the Ice.” Bogus.

The evening provided me with a few insights. One of the Icy Hots, a statuesque youngish woman, sprawled forward on the ice, and bawled. Like a baby. Three highly trained medical professionals helped her off the ice where she promptly went — not to the emergency room — but to the bench, waiting for her next shift. Now, I don’t know what kind of handbook the Icy Hots have, but the Muthas agreed that if you lay on the ice and bawl like a baby without a compound fracture, you are no Mutha. I’ve got a player with two artificial hips, for criminey sakes. There is no crying in hockey.

Of course our training regimen is probably tougher than our opponents since we are coached by adolescent females. This would be an example of chariot races, where the mean teenage girls force the Muthas to push the already heavy net around the ice while they perch on top of it.

To be a champion, you must train like a champion.

To be a champion, you must train like a champion.

The Icy Hots do not train in this fashion. I could tell.

I’m not going to lie — I’m a little sore today. But I am questioning whether that was due to my performance on the ice or post-victory locker room shenanigans involving my sidekick Lucy (also known by her hockey name 2L Mutha) riding around on my back like I was her personal Shetland pony.

And I don’t think we ever came to resolution on the big question of the day, “Which is the better sports drink — chardonnay or cab?” Ideas?

The Big Questions for 2015

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I am not immune to New Year’s resolutions, and this year mine is, “think less, write more.” That might mean counting on loyal Podunk readers to help me ponder some of the quandaries that occupy my mind space.
For instance, the Podunks are in Kalispell again for one of Her Royal Highness’s hockey tournaments. By January, we are already road weary from hockey travel. I start to wonder, “What are the chances that the hotel lotion and the hotel conditioner are chemically one and the same product?”

Winter 2014: I Peaked Early

The Podunks just so happened to be in Mexico admiring the Caribbean Sea when Podunk the town’s first winter deep freeze occurred. That was week 2 of November and I felt smug. But smug doesn’t last, and now that I am on holiday in Calgary, I see that the warm memories of the Yucatan are destined to be covered up by my form flattering insulated Carhartts for the rest of winter.
Her Royal Highness and I left for Canadia at the crack of 4 a.m. the day after Thanksgiving, foregoing proper digestion in favor of puck chasing. We were greeted with a proper trans-Siberian squall.

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I don’t know what it means in English, but the Celsius version of weather here is – 22 degrees. Which is complete and utter horseshit. To add insult to injury, HRH’s hockey team played Mexico this afternoon. As in Mexico. As in, next time team Mexico, how’s about we give you home court advantage?

Does anyone have a remedy for scurvy symptoms brought on by chelada withdrawal?

The Stench

Hockey season is firmly underway. I am in Idaho Falls with Her Royal Highness and some other hockey chickies.

The girls are doing Podunk proud on the ice. But I am concerned that our Priority Club Hotel will charge us extra thanks to the odor from HRH’s hockey bag that have permeated our formerly lovely lodging.

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Words fail to capture the heinous aroma wafting out of this bag. Little Bird, one of our hockey chickies, moaned, “It makes my nostrils burn.” And she is not kidding. I don’t know whether to leave a tip for housekeeping or oxygen.
And maybe some wallpaper paste to help with the peeling.

I have trolled for sponsors before, but this time I am gravely serious. If you are the maker of an odor reducing substance, I need you man. And Febreze, you need not apply. You do nothing. You are worse than the Glade Tower of Old Jello Smelly.

Havre, Here We Come

Havre, Montana is an 830-mile round trip from Podunk, so I thought I would go there for the weekend.

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Besides, my kid was playing hockey there. So, aided by Snow-o-Rama 2014, I hit the road with two 9th grade boys — Odd and his buddy Goalie. Thanks to a technological mishap allegedly involving Her Royal Highness making off with my music infrastructure, I enjoyed listening to static on the radio and the chatter of adolescent boys. I won’t lie, some of what I heard was disturbing. For example:

“Wow, Idaho is 50th in the nation for the number of kids who go on to college!”
“I wonder who is 49th — Mexico?”
Sigh.

We had a layover in Great Falls.

Great Falls snow storm. www.startribune.com

Great Falls snow storm. http://www.startribune.com

When we arrived at the hotel, staff were unloading piles and piles of luggage from a gigantic bus. The bags were too small for hockey players, too many for a rock band. Mannheim Steamroller? I guessed. But no, the front desk informed me this was part of their steady supply of Canadian tour buses.

What are they doing here? I wondered aloud.

“They are getting a break from the cold,” front desker told me.

Criminy cripes, I thought — internally this time.

Perhaps the Siberian cold, chilled with an arctic wind we encountered was unusual, I considered.

photo(1)But no. So now I’m intrigued about what kind of deep freeze these poor Canadians escaped from. And if they think Great Falls is a nice getaway in the dead of winter, we just might have a new marketing angle for Podunk.

I’m not that great at ad copy, so these are early drafts, but I’m thinking….

“Podunk. 45 degrees north, but if you are in Canada, that’s really south, so you’re almost at the equator.”

“Visit the Salmon Riviera. Our winter temperatures are Fahrenheit.”

“Podunk. When your Canadian megaloads came through, we didn’t protest, just gawked. Tarsands are neat. See, we’re friendly, too.”

“Podunk. Take your tuque off and stay awhile.”

“Podunk. Warmer, on average, than Great Falls.”

Sports Injuries

Last weekend, the Podunks split up — I took Her Royal Highness to a hockey tournament in Bozeman, and the Iron Chef took Odd Number to a hockey tournament in Sun Valley. It sounds glamorous, I know. Aside from the mega freeze in Bozeman that turned my hockey touring car’s battery into a useless rectangle, I was concerned about my hockey players’ health and safety. HRH was playing for two teams, and as luck would have it, her teams played back-to-back games 3 times. This shouts watch out for a sports injury, dehydration, malnourishment, unbelievable hockey gear aroma … you name the hazard, it’s present.

Skating in the Bozone.

Skating in the Bozone.

Meanwhile, Odd Number had been asked to skate with Salmon’s big boy team despite the fact that he is roughly the size of the U.S. Postal Service’s $8 Flat Rate Box, only empty. Watching a competitive and physical high school hockey game is one of the most exciting spectator sports on earth, in my humble opinion, unless your wafer thin son is one of the players. Fortunately, Odd came out of the weekend unscathed.

Her Royal Highness took a nasty spill in game 7 and careened against the boards with an upsetting thud. Still, she popped up faster than most of us can get off the couch after Sunday dinner. I, on the other hand, slept on my shoulder wrong, pinched a nerve, and nearly fainted from attempting to fasten my bra. Some things just feel wrong.

Warming Up at the Ice Rink

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Yeah I know — hockey doesn’t conjure visions of warmth. But this is seriously messed up. My loyal and faithless readers (hey mom and dad!) will think I am making this up, but it finally warmed up to single digits below zero Fahrenheit here in Bozeman, Montana.

As Her Royal Highness and I drove to her hockey tournament, I prepared her for the reality that we would perish of exposure if we got a flat tire or stopped for snacks or gas as temperatures registered in the 20 below range.

This is hard core people, and I have officially lost my marbles for the sake of a Canadian past time. Please send mittens.

We Did Know the Way to San Jose!

Day 3 of our journey from Podunk to San Jose, California, started in Truckee, CA with a sickening gasp. Her Royal Highness gulped oxygen as she appeared to be looking at her phone. I immediately jumped to the conclusion that she had just received a text informing her that the bridge we needed to cross into the San Jose part of the Bay Area had just collapsed in an 8.8 earthquake, rendering passage impossible and serious carnage inevitable.
“Oh my god, oh my god,” HRH muttered and pressed the palms of her hands to her forehead.
“I forgot my warmups!”
HRH’s team, the Bigsky Wildcats, had made it to the National Hockey Championships, and her official team jogging suit was hanging in her closet back in Podunk.
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“Whew!” I responded, presumably without compassion.
“You do not understand — this is, this is almost as bad as forgetting my jerseys!”
Because I am mature, I held back the urge to ask her if she did indeed bring her jerseys. Also, Iron Chef was quick to ask, “You have your skates, right?”
More hand pressing to forehead.
To be clear, in the weeks that preceded our family’s insane cross-country travels in pursuit of hockey, Iron Chef and I made several attempts to prompt Her Royal Highness to engage in equipment checks.
Her eyes let us know we were donkeys for suggesting such a thing; donkeys whose old-school checklists were not only around at the time of the wooly mammoth, but probably also caused the species to go extinct.
And now, she was attempting to show up at the ice rink without the Wildcats emblem specially embroidered on her sweat pants.
As we drove from Truckee to San Jose, I suggested she call a nearby sporting goods store to see if they had something passable.
She seemed amenable to the idea and called the Sports Authority. “Hi! Like, do you have any black warm ups with like, a 1.5 inch red stripe down the sides? Oh really, well thanks anyway.”
Meanwhile, we were coming to a complete stop on the freeway about an hour out of San Jose. Although we were parked on the highway with hundreds of other cars for only a few minutes, the clock was ticking on our quest to a) find custom Wildcats sweats, and b) reach our hotel in time for the first of many team meetings. And our decision to use Homer Simpson’s voice as the narrator for our GPS system was also being called into question.
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Now this felt more like a road trip!
The good news is the kind people at the Sports Authority outfitted Her Royal Highness with a passable substitute for the forgotten warmups, just in time for us to arrive at our hotel and hear the announcement that based on the sunny California weather, the team was going to abandon the beloved warmups in favor of shorts and their new tourney T-shirts.
In the words of our friend and guide Homer Simpson, “Doh!”

Road Tripping without Wings

Hockey has made my family crazy, and now it is taking us to San Jose, California, which is Spanish for “near San Francisco.” Her Royal Highness’ Big Sky Wildcats team re-paid me for driving to Gillette, Wyoming by qualifying for the national tourney, extending what is the world’s longest sports season. Without a doubt, this is a cool development for HRH. And as a supportive family, we decided we would turn the trip into a funtastic spring break for all.

Soon after, HRH and her brother the Odd Number found out that we intended to drive the 18 or so hours to SJ.
They were incensed at our madness. The same child that acted like she was contemplating turning me into Health and Human Services when I suggested she find a ride for the 3-day, 20 hr-roundtrip to Gillette, Wyoming — fun factor Zero — had apparently imagined we would charter a plane to the Bay Area.

Odd Number, quick with his math skills, wailed, “That’s 36 hours in the car!”

My thoughts drifted to the Oregon Trail pioneers, explaining the journey ahead to their children. Since history misses so many details, maybe more than a few pioneOregon Trailer children got left back East because they carried on. Or maybe they started out with good attitudes and by the time they got to Craters of the Moon. the wagons just left them with their little pile of electronic devices. “Good luck finding batteries,” the dads would say.

Or the Joads in The Grapes of Wrath. What Ruthie and Winfield wouldn’t have given for the spacious backseat of the Honda Pilot! I’ve included a handy map for your convenience so you can track our progress and start your betting pools on which kid gets left behind first and where.
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