Podunk Meets Paradise

Musings from Central Idaho

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

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.

Crashed Ice — Made for the Cold Muthas

So while the sport of curling is baffling to me, I’ve recently discovered a new sport that might just be made for my 79 and Under Beginner Ladies League Hockey. It’s called Crashed Ice.

Elimination Round in Landgraaf

Crashed Ice, or Ice Cross Downhill, has a lot to offer.

This is a good introductory helmet cam video, as you can see, not taken by me since I do not have a sexy accent.


The features I like best about Crashed Ice are: a) the sturdy helmets, b) you don’t need to know the mysterious rules of hockey, and c) stopping doesn’t seem that important, especially with the use of pads at the finish line.


I’ve ventured into British Columbia, Canadia, 3 times so far this winter — and there was a lot to like, above and beyond the fact their hotel industry has realized that decaf coffee should be used instead of sawdust for dance floors.

There’s the Canadian Rockies, for instance.

The Canadian Rockies, for instance.

The Canadian Rockies, for instance.


The soaking pool at Fairmont Hot Springs.

And hot springs resorts with really nice robes. And incredible hockey. Even the tiny towns have terrific rinks.

But curling, I do not understand. I can see it being a fun bar game, like shuffleboard, in case your neighborhood pub has a rink, which I’m sure many in Canadia do. Or an inventive way to trick your kids into sweeping the floor. I could grab the misshapen bowling ball by the handle and slide across my kitchen floor while Her Royal Highness and Odd Number furiously swept for who knows what reason. I may actually try that. But while in BC, I became acquainted with what may be my new favorite sport, Crashed Ice.

The odd sport of curling.

The odd sport of curling.

Game On — Cold Muthas v Kelts

The Salmon Hockey Association has historically had 2 adult teams — the Tuesday/Thursday night Good Guys, or more experienced, competitive players, and the Wednesday night Wheelchair League, or more novice players. The Kelts, or spawned out salmon, bubbled up from the ooze of the Wheelchair league. When they challenged the Cold Muthas to a good-natured match, I felt good about our music selection being in order, the fact that we all had helmets and most of us shin guards, and we’d all been on skates at least twice.

It was the late hour of the game — a 9:15 p.m. start — that had me worried. First, there was the issue of our coaches being middle schoolers and not being able to stay out late to line us out. Then there was my own bedtime hour to consider. I’d started the U79 beginner ladies league to avoid the late-night, bleary-eyed shenanigans amateur hockey was famous for. But there is a certain No Crybabies code Cold Muthas must adhere to, so we pulled up our breezers for our first game.

We were beginning to understand why Coach Keyra and Assistant Coach Katherine had wanted to teach us how to play offense and defense.

I won’t lie, our team had some mishaps in our first two outings with the Kelts. The inability to stop became nothing short of a hazard. And our copycat cool move of sitting on the boards instead of on the bench resulted in at least a minor disaster, with some players (namely my sidekick Lucy) falling backwards, and others (namely Pippi Broadknockings) falling into the rink in the middle of play.

But we had an unstoppable ace in the hole. Scrapper, the maker of our territorial beach towel flag, also just happened to be Salmon Hockey’s talk show personality on Podunk’s only radio station KSRA. During the Thursday morning program Penalty Box, Scrapper described our huge margin of victory and the humiliation of the Kelts. Scrapper, as it turned out, is a world-class shit talker.

We were winning the public relations war, and we had the soundtrack to prove it.

Cold Muthas Establish New Hockey Dynasty in First Season

I know I’ve been remiss in reporting the Cold Muthas U79 Hockey League stats, and I’ve left many of you on the edge of your seats. Rest assured, the Muthas have been kicking ass and taking names — and then forgetting where we put the names.
Unlike many amateur adult teams, the Muthas subjected ourselves to a strict coaching regime. On most Friday mornings, we were ordered around by 6th grader and Head Coach Keyra and 7th grade Assistant Coach Katherine. Odd Number, an 8th grader, came out to coach a few mornings, but I think we tried his patience.
Having tweens for coaches required a special sort of discipline for the Muthas. When we fell, for instance, which was often, it seemed inappropriate to call out the expletives that came to mind. Substituting “Darn!” or “Wow!” as our helmets bounced off the ice with our skulls in them invoked a Jedi Mind Warrior kind of concentration.
A perfect example of this was when we scheduled an extra practice on Superbowl Sunday because the rink was available. Coach Keyra decided to use the additional ice time to step up our game. “I’ve noticed that when you fall down, it takes you a long time to get up,” she observed sweetly. She then commanded a series of drills that purposefully required diving on the ice and quickly “popping up.” I put “popping up” in quotes because I never did see any of us do anything that resembled popping up. A slow, painful slither to all fours and then eventually upright again with a lot of Darns and Wows sprinkled in, yes.

Thanks to the Notorious Babs, my Mutha, for that riveting video footage.

The following week we had a cameo guest coaching appearance by Kitty B, a former hot shot player from Podunk who now heads up the women’s hockey program in Boise. She was clearly impressed by how quickly we had dressed ourselves with the assorted and sundry gear we had assembled over the winter. Still, she expressed alarm by one element of our play.
“Ladies,” Kitty B started, “I have one piece of advice to offer you —  keep your goddamned sticks on the ice!”
The Muthas looked around guiltily at each other. Not only was she right about our stick posture, but now someone had to inform Kitty B that she owed the swear jar (otherwise known as Coach Keyra and Assistant Coach Katherine’s college fund) 25 cents. I watched Kitty demonstrate her slapshot and paid the fine myself. Darn.

Considering we had learned to dress ourselves with little help, made a pump jam playlist, and constructed a Cold Mutha flag out of a bath towel and hockey tape, it would be completely understandable if we called it a successful season. But the Muthas are insatiable adventure junkies. Which is why when the Kelts came to our locker room looking for a good fight, the Muthas were game on.

Oh Canada — You Are On To Something

I know I’ve had sort of a checkered past where Canada is concerned, but in the past 6 months, I’ve racked up two consecutive trips to The Attic without mishap. I’ve always thought Canadians could improve their national self-image if they would just do something first-rate.
And on my most recent trip to British Columbia, the Canucks were top drawer in two major areas: hockey and coffee.
The hockey may come as no surprise. My daughter, Her Royal Highness, plays on a Montana girls hockey team and to instill humility in these fine young athletes, we drag them across the border and show them how good they could be if they didn’t have the dominant American pop culture to distract them.
But where Canadians are making real strides is in the hotel industry. Our hotel room at Fairmont Hot Springs was not only lovely, but the hospitality gods provided us with two (2) packets of full octane Nabob coffee.
Meanwhile, their American hotelier counterparts are under the impression that at least 50% of us crave a steamy cup o’ decaf. Nobody wants decaffeinated coffee, and if they do, they should have to make a special request of the hotel staff, in a quiet voice, like when you’ve forgotten your deodorant.
I agree that the brand name of Nabob is a bit questionable. But if we were to look up the meaning, I’m sure it’s First Nation for spunky or zippy or…wait a minute…. “decaf for dumb Americans who think they are drinking full octane!”

Next time you’re mine, Canada!

Perfect pitch

There is a reasonable explanation as to why I watched the movie “Pitch Perfect” twice within 48 hrs over the holiday break.

The first showing was personal. My 15 year old daughter, Her Royal Highness, received the video as a gift and I’ll admit that on showing number 1 I felt a sentimental attachment to references to The Breakfast Club, and most especially, a desire to recruit Pitch’s Fat Amy as defense woman for the Cold Muthas hockey team.

Showing 2 was purely a grudge Match to prove to my own mutha, the Notorious Babs, that going to see the newly released Lincoln with the whole fam, including HRH and her younger brother the Odd Number, was the intellectual equivalent of bringing French bread to a Paleo party.

The next cold mutha?

The next cold mutha?

Let's go see Lincoln.

Let’s go see Lincoln.

Cold Muthas — the Soundtrack

Now that my 79 and Under Ladies Hockey Team has made some serious development progress — some of us can snap our own chin straps on our helmets, I can nearly stop on my right side (stay away from lefty if you value your safety), and we’ve decided by consensus to not waste any time learning the rules of the game — the Cold Muthas seem ready for the next logical step: creating a soundtrack.
I interrupted my grueling hockey training earlier this week for a rare burst of work. A colleague of mine, Cool Cool LJ (who would most certainly be a Cold Mutha if she lived in Podunk), taught me the value of a soundtrack by persistently and subversively humming the classic R&B tune “You’ll Never Find” throughout our 2-day meeting. The end result was Cool Cool entranced us with Lou Rawls’ sexy confidence and we gave into everything she wanted. Pure genius.

Lou Rawls

The sexy R& B confidence of Lou Rawls — weapons of the weak.


We need some tunes that can simultaneously invigorate the Muthas and put fear in the hearts of our foes. This task is made more difficult by the fact that we are soon to challenge the Salmon Rapids Mites division. The Mites are mostly in the first grade.

So here’s my start on the Cold Muthas pump jam.

1. Respect (Aretha Franklin). R&B can subvert hockey, too.

2. Girlfriend (Avril Lavigne). This song is all sassy playground.

3. Hollaback Girl (Gwen Stefani). That shit is bananas, b-a-n-a-n-a-s.

4. She’s So Mean (Matchbox 20). No further explanation needed.

5. Take Your Mama (Scissor Sisters). I have always liked this Elton Johnsian song that advises one to take your mama out and jack her up on cheap champagne. Look out, mama, I’m coming home!

6. Hot Mess (Cobra Starship). This song addresses my previous column and the lack of adequate breaks.

7. Hips Don’t Lie (Shakira featuring Wyclef Jean). My post-hockey practice hips don’t lie either. This song makes me think more mambo, or whatever Shakira and her friends are talking about, might help.

8. Temperature (Sean Paul). In one fell swoop, Sean Paul makes me feel better about single digit temps and gives me a beat to work out with my hockey stick. Keeper.

9. Lose Yourself (Eminem). OK, it’s an old fallback, but seriously, If you had one shot, one opportunity, would you capture it or just let it slip?

10. Think (Aretha Franklin). Bookending the Cold Muthas warmup soundtrack with the Queen of Soul? You bet your sweet bippy.

OK, now to field test.

Cold Muthas Heat Up the Ice

My new women’s hockey team is progressing at a much faster pace than I had anticipated after our 1st practice, which mainly consisted of sorting our gear and convincing our middle school age coaches that we were serious enough to warrant them getting up before noon to help us.

By practice 2, word had spread that something hot was happening on the ice, and we had about 10 Cold Muthas playing red light-green light under the patient tutelage of gifted skater (and 6th grader) Coach Keyra.

Last Friday marked practice 3, and it was clear that even with the addition of 2 new skaters, we were ready for a scrimmage. Maybe we were too anxious to scrimmage, which might explain why when one of the new skaters — who admitted she had entered her 6th decade — couldn’t fit into the toddler size helmet we tried to scrunch on her head, we may have told her that her Floyd R. Turbo-style earflap hat would do just fine.

Floyd R. Turbo with earflap hat or hockey helmet.

Floyd R. Turbo with earflap hat or hockey helmet.

Also, in our haste to stop the endless “skills drills” and get to playing a real game of hockey, we also assumed the other new skater didn’t know how to skate which caused me to not protest when she was put on the opposing team. I was soon to suspect that this “new skater” was none other than Pippi Broadknockings from the Big Mountain Misfits roller derby team.

Now in the pros, NHL players go out on the ice and skate fiercely for 2, maybe 3 minutes at a time, then they leap into the bench area and are relieved by another player. This is called “switching on the fly.” Fortunately, the Cold Muthas were playing 4-on-4 with no substitutes so there was no possibility of “switching on the fly” which would have been re-named “switching while shredding your groin muscle and getting stitches in your forehead.” Instead, we had no breaks. Although this solved the problem of not having to switch on the fly, the endless skating back and forth after the incorrigible puck began to cause breathing difficulties and heart arrhythmia. The only way we could earn a break was to fall or score a point.

To be fair, we did both; but the falls achieved a longer rest period. This is because women who have decided to take up the sport of hockey just a tad after said sports career is totally rational get quite a bit of attention when they fall. Both my children, Her Royal Highness and Odd Number, play hockey and they fall on the ice and get up in one fluid movement. Not so the Cold Muthas. We lie there and stay still for a few minutes to make sure our spine has not shattered and the vertebrae clattered across the rink like spilled ice cubes. The other players stand still also, genuinely concerned, but also genuinely glad to not be skating and to be breathing oxygen.

Coach Conrad asks if we want to just play on half the rink and we turn on him.

I see a chance for my team to score — the puck oh-so-close to the juicy middle of the net — and Pippi Broadstockings doesn’t even see that I’m making my 20-yard move up the ice. But one of the major drawbacks of starting a sport later in life is that your head and your body have to confer about exactly what you are trying to accomplish, rather than the split second mind-body motion of seasoned athletes. My body was doing its best to get me moving as quickly as it felt possible on the ice, but as my mind was starting to try to explain to my body how relatively close the net area is to the wooden boards that connote the end of the rink and that even though we dropped physics in high school so we could take Home Ec Foods II we still should know how this is going to work out …

The entire front of my body hit the boards first, and then by the force of physics, my backside got a turn, my helmet making a sound on the ice like the cracking of an egg. I was incredibly pleased to not be wearing an earflap cap.

Do I have regrets? Absolutely not. I have gotten by just fine without Physics and Foods II has proven to be a lifetime sport.

Cold Muthas — Day 1

I belong to a hockey family, which is code for my house and car smell funny.
wivesLast year marked the beginning of a new era in Podunk hockey — the formation of a hockey league designed for the women who had previously been relegated to washing hockey underthings and working the concession stand.
We are called the Cold Muthas, and we had our first practice of the season this morning.
The primary purpose of our practices is to assemble and then put on our gear. This consumes the first half of our practice, and I’m not surprised to say that we had at least one team member tap out during this part of warm ups. Putting on hockey gear is hard because there is so much of it and it requires such a specific order. My longtime sidekick, Lucy, for instance, finally got her helmet fastened only to discover she’d forgotten to put her jersey on. By the time we got her jersey on over her shoulder and elbow pads, she forgot to put her helmet on and had to return to our locker room.
We are coached by middle schoolers Keyra, Conrad and the Odd Number. When Odd and I were driving home after practice, I talked openly to him about my piss poor hockey stop.
“You’ll get better when you quit worrying about falling,” Odd told me, matter of factly.
I did not tell Odd about the video that his father, Iron Chef, shared with me prior to practice, but I’ll show you:

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