A buddy of mine at work, Dave, has been playing hockey for many years. Last week I asked him if he knew how a complete novice like me could learn the sport. His eyes lit up at the prospect of introducing someone to the sport of hockey. The information that Dave shared was invaluable and I now have a clear course of action. There is a large skating center (5 rinks) between home and where I work that hosts a novice league. The novice league starts at the end of the year so I'll probably join it then. It turns out that Dave has extras of nearly all the gear I'll need except for a pair of skates that would fit me. So I went to a nearby hockey store this weekend and picked up a pair of hockey skates.
I went to test those new skates out earlier today. I had skated a little as a young child, and I remember skating being pretty easy. Well, it wasn't quite as easy as I remembered. When I first got out on the ice I felt as stable as a twig getting pulled through the rapids. After about 20 minutes I was a bit more stable but my feet muscles were getting sore. I decided that I needed to continue skating for at least one more hour. Looking back I'm not sure why I decided that, but my stubbornness prevailed and I stayed out on my sore feet for the full hour. During this hour I improved noticeably, but I still have a very long ways to go before I'm ready for any hockey. I fell a few times, but only when I started trying to do fancy things (fancy like stopping). When I was done I was eager to pull those skates off so my feet would stop hurting. In all the foot hurting sports I've done (skiing, snowboarding, and rock climbing) when you get the shoes off your feet its feels euphoric. Not so much with skating it turns out. When I got the skates off my feet I could hardly walk for the next 15 minutes. I kind of limped (an odd looking limp since I was limping on both feet) to my car. About half an hour later my feet felt fine. There are no marks or blisters since the skates fit fine. I just think I used a whole lot of muscles in my feet that weren't used to getting used.
It was a humbling experience out on the ice. It's been awhile since I did something new were I wasn't decent at it. That said I think a little humbling like that is good for the soul. I also think a little pain while learning is good for the body. I still look back all those years to when I was learning to snowboard and remember all that pain in such a fond light (just for the record learning to snowboard is much more painful than learning to skate).
I love a challenge, and I'm quite sure learning to play hockey is going to be quite a challenge. I look forward to it.