Monday, March 23, 2020

Clear as Ice - #HockeyFiction Prompt Four

Today's prompt is goaltender.  
Previous prompts are here: Prompt one, prompt two, prompt three.  

Al avoided period break meet and greets for good reason. Today he hoping he could quickly say hi and not seem like a complete jerk before he ran back to get ready for the second period.  The life of a goaltender provided very little rest, even during period breaks. 

"Hi, folks!" He waved to the room.   "I'm really sorry I can't stay too long, but you looked great out there!"  

The kids turned and waved.  They turned back to Sienna who was on the other side of the room.  

She smiled.  "So, you all have to help me out, because I'm so new to hockey.  How long does it take to get in and out of all the hockey gear?"

"Oh," one of the kids raised her hand.  "I'm a goalie.  So like, it takes me about five minutes, but mine doesn't have all the same straps that the professionals wear." 

"Ah, well, I can't speak for all you folks," Sienna said, "but I certainly have experience putting on and taking off tricky outfits.  So, let's let Al get back to get his on without running out of time.  Now, in hockey, do y'all just wish each other good luck or is there a special hockey themed saying?" 

The kids turned and chanted, "We are the Dome! We are the Dome!  We are the Dome!"  And then waved at him. 

He waved back, impressed that Sienna had so quickly recognized the issue and so gracefully provided him an out.  People often joked about the amount of equipment goaltenders wore. But most never seemed to think about how long it took to remove them. If Al wanted to use the bathroom - and he always did, bad things happened when you tried to skip that step - seventeen minutes suddenly wasn't very long when you factored in making it to the locker room, removing the gear, and also needing time to get it all back on. It was one of the reasons he did way less mid-game stuff than his other players that weren't goalies. They all got to spend part of the game hanging on the bench. He spent every minute of game time on the ice.

He got his pads back on ahead of time and was able to do a few stretches.  He could stretch outside the pads, but working the muscles with the pads on worked well for him and let him test that nothing had gotten strapped on too snugly or anything like that.  Getting all the gear on was second nature at this point, but it didn't mean he didn't want to check. 

They went back out on the ice.  For the second period he was close to where he'd been alerted that Sienna was sitting.  He looked over and she wasn't back in her seat yet.  They were still doing final checks, but he wondered if despite all her insight she was already over hockey.  Might decide to hang out with adoring youth hockey players, or even leave all together. 

Oh, well, it certainly didn't matter and he had things he actually needed to worry about.  De Sorcy hadn't scored at all in the first period which meant he was going to come strong this period. 

And five minutes later, De Sorcy was cheering and hugging his teammates after scoring, and a minute after that, De Sorcy got passed the puck and popped it in the goal again.  Al turned and grabbed his water bottle so he didn't have to watch the Piranhas celebrate.  It was annoying because he had known that pass was coming, had braced for it, and De Sorcy still got that stupid puck past him. 

Al wiggled his shoulder and got himself turned back around before the face off.  He glanced over at the stands and saw Sienna sitting back down.  Had she been there for the goal, or just gotten back, he wondered.  Well, it didn't matter, he had a puck to keep an eye on.