Putting the beer in beer league
While some of my friends were raiding their parents’ liquor cabinets when they were 14 or so, I was too busy playing soccer, ringuette and hockey (it was my transition year) and I think I was still Irish dancing at that age, oh and a nerd at school. Plus, I don’t think my parents had a liquor cabinet.
Anyways, my introduction to alcohol came later in life. I think I drank once before I was 18 and didn’t particularly like it. The first time I had a beer I thought it was gross and drank extremely slowly so I only had to have one. But if you’re going to be a beer league girl, you have to start liking it or you’re in the wrong career path.
First year university, 19 years old and I was playing on two hockey teams: My regular Montreal Junior team and my McGill intramural team – all girls team in the guys league. One day, I had two games in a row with about an hour in between. Two of my friends on my Montreal team and one friend on the team we were playing against that day were also playing with me at McGill.
What to do between games? Well, I don’t know who decided or when it was decided but we parked the car at the McGill arena and walked down the hill to this tiny little pub. I went to the bathroom and when I came back, the girls had ordered an entire pitcher each and one for me too.
Sitting around the table in the almost empty bar on a Sunday evening, we talked, laughed and drank a lot and probably smelled a bit too. I couldn’t finish my pitcher so two of the other girls had to help me out. We then had to trek up the hill again to the arena, now muddy from the rain. I remember stopping at the edge of the mud and laughing until my much more stable-legged friend came and helped me.
Taking out our bags from the trunk was interesting on that steep incline, I’m pretty sure I fell. When we walked into the room our teammates could immediately tell we were a little off, especially me. I managed to put my equipment on (for some reason I was laughing/crying the whole time) and then three strides onto the ice and down I went. I picked myself up again and reassured my captain that I was fine.
My first shift, however, I almost immediately had to deal with a breakaway. I normally pride myself on my skills as a defenseman, especially backwards skating, but I discovered that skating backwards required more coordination than I possessed at that moment and I promptly sat down hard at the blue line as my opponent easily coasted by and probably scored. Shift two I managed to stay upright on my blades but that was about all I did.
I took myself out for the rest of the game, laughing and crying all by myself on the bench as we had no subs. I was too focused on my embarrassment and the experience of being drunk for the first time to pay attention to the game after that. My partners-in-drunk told me later that they spent the whole game laughing, bumping into each other and skating with the puck only to realize a little late that they’d lost it a few strides back. As forwards, at least they didn’t have to skate backwards much.