Sunday, March 22, 2020

Clear as Ice - #HockeyFiction Prompt Three


Prompt three is shot.  Prompt one is here.  Prompt two is here

"You know what this means, right?" Jay said through the screen. 

Sienna put away the clothes that they had decided against.  The team marketing person had told her they'd have a jersey there for her at the arena, and to plan for it to be cold inside.  Despite having lived in the DC area since high school, she'd never been to the arena.  She'd never gone to a sports game, never been to a concert big enough to be in this arena.  It was kind of exciting.  

Jay's face on the screen was staring at her.  Sienna had assumed it was a rhetorical question that didn't require her participation.  "What?" she said. 

"If the Domes lose, they'll decide you are a jinx." 

"Okay," Sienna shrugged.  She had lived her whole life ignoring hockey.  Going back to that wouldn't be much of a stretch.  Her mentions on social media had been a lot, a mix of folks mansplaining hockey to her, telling her she was too stupid to understand it anyway, and well, those were the nicer ones.  But Sienna had been on the internet a while.  And while sports fans were particularly creative in some of their threats, she could handle it.  She was good at blocking and good at ignoring.  If anything, this week had shown her that she should have listened to Jay and ignored the ex trying to score points off of her. 

Wait no, that was old Sienna thinking.  She had been invited to a hockey game, was getting a free jersey, and a chance to talk to teen girls who played hockey, and a chance to meet a hockey player.  So, if anything the lesson here was to be open to new experiences. 

Jay was still starting at her.  "Seriously, Jay, it will be fine.  Either they win the fish game-"

"Piranhas.  They are called the piranhas."

Sienna leaned closer to the camera.  "Piranhas are fish aren't they?"

Jay sighed.  "Yes." 

"So, either they win the fish game, and I'm a good luck charm and they have to invite me back forever.  Or they lose and I'm a jinx and I still got to go to a hockey game for free. It's fine."  She smiled.

"Okay. Try not to call them fish at the game." 

Sienna smiled and ended the call.  She knew Jay was going to text her to remind her not to call them fish.  But Sienna liked calling them fish. 

***

Sienna's seats were in the second row just around the corner from one of the goals.  She had gone live for a bit, so show what a great view of the action she had, and also to show how fast the hockey was.  She had watched a few clips before coming.  Okay, she had tried watching a whole game but she had gotten distracted.  But in person it was so fast.  And you could feel the chill, and hear the skates and sticks and bodies moving across the ice.  Plus the entire stadium was rocking.  Fans cheered, the screens planted overhead constantly told you to cheer, or make noise, or stomp, or clap.  Music played anytime the game stopped, which happened more than she had expected. 

Daisy from the team appeared on the cement stairs next to her.  "Having a good time?" 

"I am!" Sienna said.  So far there had only been one goal, for the Piranhas.  But it had been during a penalty so the Domes had been short a player, which was kind of a fascinating rule.  Sienna still was relying on a lot of the information they put across the screens to figure out what was going on, or the music cues, but the goal thing had been very clear.  Being in the second row, she was near enough to both see and hear the players thud against the boards and the glass. 

"We're coming up on the end of the period.  The junior girls team will come out and scrimmage on the ice, so keep watching.  They will only go for about ten minutes, then I'll grab you and bring you back to say hi to them, and - oh-" 

Daisy's eyes fixed on the ice so Sienna turned and looked. Two players, a blue jerseyed Dome player and a white and green jerseyed Piranha player were skating towards the goal.  The Dome player had the puck and the Piranha player kept trying to grab it with his stick, but the Dome player kept shifting it away while still moving towards the goal.  The other players were all skating towards them, but they were out in front of the pack.  The Dome player shifted again, and it almost felt like the whole crowd hushed for a second.  He flicked the puck towards the goal.

The goalie hunched in a way that seemed to make him look both more compact and larger at the same time as the puck flew towards him.  From this angle Sienna could only see that the puck was moving towards his arm.  Looking up at the screen overhead wasn't much clearer, but a siren sounded and the whole stadium cheered.  Sienna watched the replay on the screen.  The puck had gone into the tiny bit of space between the goalie's arm and the bar of the goal. 

"Kunyk has such a great snap shot,"  Daisy said quietly.

Sienna nodded and made a mental note to figure out what a snap shot was.  But now the teams were tied.  So, that was good.  

The remaining minute of the period was less eventful.  As it ticked down to the last seconds, the players themselves seemed to skate slower, as if they needed a break. 

The two junior girls teams came out, each adorned in mini Dome's jerseys, one set blue, and the other white.  They looked a little lost and overwhelmed, although, with the full face shields, it was kind of hard to tell, so maybe Sienna just imagined they were overwhelmed.  Some of the fans had left immediately to go do other things during the break, but the ones who remained leaned forward and cheered any time one of the teams got close to a goal.  It was pretty cute.  The players waved as they wrapped up their scrimmage.  Sienna waved back.  Daisy returned and led her up and then, through a door marked staff, that got them into an area that was much more quiet. 

"Oh," Daisy said, "I should warn you that Albert doesn't like doing mid-game stuff, especially against the Piranhas, so if he seems like grumpy or anything don't take it personally." 

"Okay," Sienna said.  That didn't seem ominous at all.  

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