Nationals Redux

Storm LogoSo my last post regaled you all with the stats from Nationals (yay! I got points! even though we lost!)

This one is just a few photos of some fun moments after we were done with all our games. There are more over on my Flickr account, and if you’re friends with any of the team through Facebook, there are albums on Judy’s, Laura’s, and Janet’s profiles.

Storm @ Nationals

It’s a Megan sandwich! Laura and Renee are the bread, I’m the meaty middle.

Storm @ Nationals Storm @ Nationals

Renee, Sejal, and Laura kidnapped Amy while I was napping and returned her to her pigtail-wearing days. In a bar. While drinking scotch. Yeah, I don’t get it either, but they had a blast.

Storm @ Nationals

This is the back of Amy’s very special CCMM t-shirt. Mine says “I’m gonna squish you like a BUG”. It’s a long story that started with the hysterical laughter of great teammates all the way back in September at the Darcy Tournament and culminated for at least the two of us at Nationals.

We’ve since played in the Champlain Shootout, where we took not one of the top spots in our division (photos of one of our games available online).  I’m going to miss playing with the team this summer but am looking forward to the three leagues we are playing in all summer long (Walpole, Concord, and Marlboro…!)

I missed March!

Whoops! Apparently March 2009 did not happen on my blog. Suffice to say that I’m still around, whether I blogged it or not.

Storm LogoThe most exciting thing that happened in March was our hockey team’s trip to the USA Hockey Women’s Senior C National Championships in Rochester, NY.  We obviously didn’t do super-well but OH it was fun! We’d have done way worse if our goalie Renee hadn’t been on; thankfully, she was really on, scores notwithstanding. My big excitement of the tournament was getting two assists. I very rarely get points in games, so to bust out and get 2 in the national championship tournament was thrilling. Amy got a goal in our last game, so the Brooks women definitely represented for the Storm.

Storm Results - Stats from Nationals 2009

We also went to the Women’s Frozen Four (NCAA hockey championships) at Agganis Arena at Boston University. Neither of the Minnesota teams made it to the championship game, so I was FORCED to cheer for Wisconsin in the finals. It wasn’t too hard to do that once I got over the whole Big Ten rivalry thing.

The other fun news is that I started playing indoor soccer. Amy finds it highly entertaining when I pick up sports that she already knows how to play (and she plays soccer well – less of a spaz than she is at hockey!) But after the first couple of games, she stopped laughing. There’s a lot I like about indoor soccer: there are the same number of players on the field as in hockey; there are boards like in hockey; playing defense is really similar to hockey (except that screening the goalie is less of a problem since a soccer ball is a tad larger than a hockey puck); and the field is small enough that I can run up and down it a couple of times before I want to die. There are a few things I still don’t like about soccer: my left foot is useless; and, I can’t run into people. That second one has been bothering me a lot, since my hockey game has gotten more physical in the past year. In soccer I really have to remember this mantra: You may NOT squish the opponent like a bug on the boards!

April’s been a mixed bag so far.

Bad #1: Work is very challenging. People I know and like have been affected directly.

Good #1: Last weekend Amy and I followed a trail that we’ve been on parts of before, but this time we took a different turn. We ended up a couple of miles away from home, on the Sudbury Aqueduct. It was really quite lovely and I hope this weekend is nice enough for us to do it again (and go farther this time).

Bad #2: Maggie came home from a “walkabout” yesterday with pieces of smellllllly dog crap stuck in the fur on her back. So I had to give her a bath. (I think the first part is what’s bad, she thinks it’s the second.)

Good #2: MacHeist 3! It was my first time participating in any way, and will not be my last. Besides, I got a ton of really interesting software which I can’t wait to use. So far I like World of Goo, Overflow, Typinator, Acorn, Little Snapper, and PhoneView. I want to use SousChef some more, and figure out how to use WireTap Studio and BoinxTV. But the real killer app for me (pun totally intended) is The Hit List. I struggle mightily with to-do lists and how to manage them – apparently that’s what this does really well. I’ll report back when I know.

I’m hoping the rest of the month looks more up and down – a planned hockey tournament trip up to Burlington, VT should be just what the doctor ordered!

How was YOUR March? How’s your April so far?

A Hat Trick of Hats

Guess who started knitting again? That’s right, yours truly. After …mumble.grumble.shuffle.the.feet… a while, I was finally inspired to pick up the sticks and string again after reading about a knit-along over on the Puck This forum on Ravelry (requires login).

The goal of the knit-along? Knit three hats in the month of January. Since I’ve made a few hats, I know the amount of work that most of them would take and it seemed like a reasonable commitment. Besides, looking over all the other fantastic hats was pretty inspiring!

So without further ado, here are my three (so far) hats for the month of January.

Goal 1: Not the Carolina Hurricanes Hat, finished between two hockey games at a tournament we played in a couple of weeks ago. I’m a little nervous about taking photos of myself in hockey gear and a knitted hat, in case you can’t tell. AKA the Hurricane Hat.

Self-Portrait in a Knitted Hat and Hockey Gear

Me, vaguely thuggish, in my extremely large shoulder pads, before playing a game

Amy + Megan

Amy and me, at dinner with the team on Saturday night

Goal 2: SCORE! Turn a Square – finished last weekend, knit on needles that were a little too small for the yarn (but the hat is thick, so it did what I wanted it to do). AKA Turn a Square.

Turn a Square Hat Turn a Square Hat

Me, modeling the slightly-too-small-for-me hat

Turn a Square in action

Amy, hat recipient, shoveling and not knowing I was taking her photo (aside: we’ve gotten a LOAD of snow this year!)

Goal 3: Kind of an Avs Hat (But Not Quite) – finished today, right before I headed to hockey practice. This yarn was a gift from my mom a few years ago and it’s 95% cashmere/5% lycra. I LOVE it! Of all three hats, this one is my favorite. AKA Robin’s Egg Blue Hat.

Kind of an Avs Hat (But Not Quite) Kind of an Avs Hat (But Not Quite)

Traditional hat modeling self-portraits

Kind of an Avs Hat (But Not Quite)

Post-practice photo, no longer feeling as awkward about posing in hockey gear with knitting

Why did I do this? Well, given the way I play, combined with the position I play, it’s unlikely that I’ll get a HOCKEY hat trick anytime soon! I’m getting my hat tricks any way I can, and if I’m wearing hockey gear to get some laughs from the knitters when I take photos of the hats, I’m going to do it. It was fun and accomplishable. And it got me knitting again. Who can argue with that?

Mass Mayhem!

This weekend, Amy and I headed up to Conway, NH for the David Dore Invitational women’s hockey tournament with Mass Mayhem. Libby put the team together – it was the three of us, our friend and former coach Steph as the goalie, Dawn from the Pumas, and six women from the Quincy Fighting Squirrels team. Libby was nice enough to ask the Squirrels if we could borrow 4 jerseys so we’d all match (at my request). Because really? Who wouldn’t want to wear a Fighting Squirrels jersey?

The tournament was billed as a B/C tournament, although I’d have to say it was more of a B-/C- tournament. Lib, Amy, Dawn, and I are all C players and the Squirrels are all B players. Our team ended up as one of the two top teams at the B level, quite handily.

We played our first two games on Saturday. Game 1 saw us taking on the Tuckerman Breakaways. The game was fast and challenging; we ended up with a hard-fought 2-0 victory. I have to say, I learned a LOT about how to be an enforcer in front of the net (although I didn’t get to put it into action.) Nancy and Joanne both kept Steph from getting too banged up and I’ve got a few new tricks up my sleeve for our Storm games. In game 2, we played with Winni Ice Cats. We won again, 5-0. The game wasn’t as fast or as challenging as the first one, but OMG the team was the most polite team I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing against. Smiles, good natured compliments, and questions of “are you okay?” were flying all over the place during that game.

Sunday brought game 3 against the Wolfeboro She-Wolves. Another game, another win, this time 8-2. We didn’t realize that a 6-goal differential would bring on running time or we’d have tried to get there a lot faster in the game since we knew we’d be playing again with just one game of rest in between. Ah well.

So after those three wins, we ended up in the championship game against the Good Stellas. They’d played one of the first games on Sunday, which meant they rested for at least 5 hours before playing us. We got all of 60 minutes… Eeek! And we went out there and played the only other team in the tournament that was really good. We ended up losing that game 2-4; it was a bummer to lose but the game was clean, well-called, and fun so I’m not complaining too much. Poor Squirrels had to undress after the game, hop in their cars, drive to Marlboro, and play another game on Sunday night! (They won.) Libby, Amy, Dawn, Steph, and I all took our sweet time in getting home. I was sound asleep by 9:30 pm and didn’t get up till 7:30 this morning, and could easily have slept another 3 hours.

The organ recital:

  • I took a slapshot to the inside of my right knee and have a lovely bruise that keeps getting darker and more tender.
  • A winger from the She-Wolves collided with me (and I with her) in the third period of game 3. Thank god for helmets and mouthguards. (Apparently the ref commented to Steph that he didn’t expect either of us to get up after the hit, but solid protective gear will do wonders! Still, I had a few moments of seeing stars…) The same thing happened in the final game, only I saw it coming and the other girl didn’t so I was able to avoid the direct hit. She went down hard and took a few moments to get up, but seemed okay. Hope she feels okay today.
  • My angry toe is angry and I will end up losing the nail. Again. Sigh.

Funny memories from the weekend:

  • The toaster handle that kept breaking.
  • “That’s what SHE said!”
  • Toilet paper in places it ought not be.
  • Betsy passing.
  • Nancy taking care of that mean center on the faceoff. Don’t mess with Steph, folks, or Nancy will dump you on your ass.
  • Betsy falling.
  • Jean yapping at the defender who didn’t think Jean should stand in front of her goalie, with photographic evidence of the “discussion.”
  • Melissa Craig scores! Melissa White scores! #88 scores! #28 scores! Someone (not Melissa Ellis) got a penalty!

I’m sure there are more, but I’m starting to fade once again so I’ll leave you with this lovely little photo of me and Amy after game 3.

Megan + Amy after game 3

Two Confidence Boosters

Hockey practice last night was really good. We worked on lots of things – power turns with the puck, shooting after doing a big power-turn weave and bob thing, bringing the puck into the zone with a partner and shooting early so your partner could get the rebound, and about 15 minutes of 3-on-3.

My power turns are getting better, although there’s still a ton of room for improvement. Like Amy, my turns on one side are stronger and on the other side are incredibly uneven. My shooting is okay when I actually think about my form – otherwise I have these dinky little bloopers that all goalies can stop easily (i.e. almost every shot I made last night). My passing is definitely improving. And my puck possession, while still among the weaker of folks on the team, is improving. Niki turned to me at one point last night and summed up what I was thinking: “I’m so much more comfortable wtih all this now than I was at the beginning of the season!” With miles to go before we achieve perfection…

But there were two moments last night that gave me real boosts in confidence.

The first was when we were playing 3-on-3. My team went up against the team with one of the coaches on it – the coach who’s about 6’4″, has a wingspan that goes from here to Montana, and who skates incredibly fast. We played several rounds against them, with a break in-between for the other 2 teams to play. After our last round, he skated over to me and told me I’d done a really good job. While he didn’t point out anything in particular that I’d done well, just the act of noticing and commenting was a real confidence-booster.

The second moment came as we were almost ready to get off the ice. A few of us had been shooting on Renee, and as usual she was stopping pretty much everything. I don’t think I’d put one past her all night long (even when I sat on her during one drill – this is what happens when you ask defenders to act as wings and screen the goalie – we lose our sense of space, get in the crease, and sit on people… anyway!) In fact, I know that I’d put at least 10 shots into her pads, and at least 10 more into her belly. My shooting form just wasn’t on last night. But at the very end of practice, I remembered something that someone told me a couple of years ago: “Don’t look at where the goalie is, look at where the net is and then shoot at the net.” So I came in to the high slot, saw open net above Renee’s left shoulder, and ripped one up there. It’s nice to know that even when I’m having a hard time with something (like shooting), just doing it right once makes all the difference.

Then all went to the locker room and KP made me, Amy, and Libby die laughing with some unintentional humor. That’s always the best kind! Happy Summer Solstice everyone!