This year I joined a women’s hockey league. I’ve never played a sport in my life and I haven’t skated since I was 8 years old. Quite the challenge and with my hearing impairment it’s even more of a challenge. My very first hockey game I had butterflies in my stomach like I was about to go out on stage for a performance. I got to the rink and met all the girls and they all looked like pros to me. I wasn’t the only beginner there was another girl on the team who had never skated in her life. The beginners were put in the position of winger as it’s an easier position to play. I get out on the ice for my shift I had no idea where to stand or what I was supposed to do. Everyone was yelling orders at me – go here, stand here, that’s my check not yours, don’t go beyond this line, stay on this side and don’t even get me started about offside! I managed to skate, I didn’t fall down which was a complete amazement to me. I quickly started to notice that quite a few of the woman on the other team were huge. They looked like they were 6’5, they appeared to be giants. I’m not sure what I was thinking but a woman from the other team was coming down the ice on my side and I decided I was going to take the puck from her. I skated right at her and tried to take the puck. Well she just kept skating, never even broke her stride – she skated right through me. I did this wild imbalance thing, couldn’t hold it, went down backwards flat on my back and found myself lying there looking at the ceiling. I was somewhat stunned, but I got up and went right after the puck. It wasn’t until I got off the ice that I realized both my arm and head were sore. I was fine and the girls were all saying, “good job”, “way to go”. I’m thinking, good job, what was I thinking, I’ve just been run over by a train! I’m slowly getting a little better, I’m hitting more pucks and last week I found myself in front of the net and I actually blocked a shot. I have no idea how I got in front of the net and I have no idea how I blocked that shot. My hearing impairment has been embarrassing as I can’t hear the ref’s whistle and I can’t seem to get offside. I’m always standing on the wrong side of the line and quite often I have my head down. The refs have all been told about my hearing impairment so they let it go when I don’t get out-of-the-way in an instant. The girls on my team are starting to think, maybe this deaf chick is a blessing, she doesn’t get penalties for offside! A couple of weeks ago I found myself in the offside position, I was skating along with my head down and all of a sudden I heard this roar. When I looked up the women from the other team were all skating at me shouting “GET OUT, GET OUT”. For a minute I felt like I was in an Amityville horror movie – GET OUT, GET OUT. I still didn’t get why they were screaming at me and I looked at the ref and I thought he pointed at me so I looked at him and mouthed “who me” all while I was still standing on the wrong side of the line. Needless to say the other team went nuts and I skated like hell out of there because, quite frankly, I was scared for my life. Once out-of-the-way, I realized that I was offside – talk about clueless, not my best moment! I didn’t get a penalty and I could tell the women from the other team were furious. I got to the bench and I said to the girls, “that’s a shift I’d rather forget”. That game I did accomplish quite a bit, I managed the puck in my end quite well and I even managed a pass to our forward! This may not sound like much, but for someone who can barely skate – it’s huge! None of that mattered to me on the way home, all I could hear was “GET OUT, GET OUT” and I kept seeing the look on the ref’s face when I mouthed “who me”. I thought I’m quitting, can’t do this. The next day I said to my husband that I was quitting, told him what happened and he said “who cares, keep going, focus on the positive”. As the week progressed I thought more and more of the positive and less and less about the “GET OUT”. I played the next week and I did much better, kept my head up and I manged to get out, a little late, but I managed to get out of the other end when offside was called without the other team yelling “GET OUT”.