Thrown Under the Bus

This spring, on an ill advised impulse, I signed up for a ladies’ ice hockey league, where random teams were formed based on the self ranking of the players.  I originally had no interest, but then I was contacted directly and urged to participate.  This was the first time I had ever been pursued athletically and I fell for the cheap compliments.  In reality, the league was short on goalies, and they knew that I had access to pads and a helmet.  At the first game, our “maroon team” was asked to sign a roster, which included recording your birthdate.  When the sheet came to me, I was horrified to see that most of my team mates were born in the 1980s, and I was at least 20 years older than everyone else.

As we got on the ice, everyone was trying to size up both team mates and opponents, and it quickly became obvious that there were a couple of very experienced players on both sides, a few serviceable players, and a smattering of deer in the headlights.  The ringers were wheeling, preening and making theatrical stops that sent sprays of ice chips aloft.  As they passed me with their well muscled crossovers, I could hear the ice succumb beneath them with a deep seated knuckle-cracking crunch.  I quickly realized our ringer was the short girl with the buzz cut and the tattoos.  Since she played defense, she was my new BFF.

In my previous league at the Winter Club, shots rarely were airborne, and my basic and somewhat successful strategy was just try to take up space in the goal, not get hurt and not do anything stupid (aside from playing hockey in the first place).   During the warm up, I was getting peppered with shots all over my body; one ricocheted off my helmet.  Although I basically felt adequately padded in swaddling/waddling clothes, there were two vulnerable spots; my pubis bone (there is no built in padding in the pants since men always were cups) and my neck.  I had gotten hit in the pubis bone once before at the Winter Club.  While it stung at the time I forgot about it until I noticed an angry bruise in the shower later on.  I initially thought that a big leech had taken up residence in my near nether regions.  I motioned over to my faithful husband Nick and asked him to find me some protective equipment.  I turned down his first offer of his Forbes magazine and sent him scurrying off to the locker room to find a ratty old “Jill” cup from my hockey equipment.  When he rushed back to the ice, the game had started, so Nick gave the cup to the startled ref who delivered it to me in the nets, where I quickly shoved it down my pants.  As for my neck, I just had to keep my chin down.

In one of our first games, we were totally outmatched, and while I know that it is poor form to complain about your team mates, the phrases, “fish in a barrel,” “sitting duck,”  “hung out to dry,” “left twisting in the wind,” and “thrown under the bus” all came to mind.  When I saw that girl in the white pants gather up the puck at the other end of the ice, I know that I was in trouble.  She steamed up the ice, while one by one my defenders evaporated like (you pick ‘em) 1. a popsicle on a hot day; 2. New Year’s resolutions by the following week or 3. cash in your wallet; 4. promises from children to keep their rooms neat; 5. socks in the dryer.  And there I was, a 50+ AARP candidate with limited goalie experience, face to face with a large 20 something Canadian farm girl who had honed her power game by playing hockey on the backyard pond with her brothers.  And all this happened within the first minute of the game. 

While the margin of victory quickly mounted and neared the double digit mark, I am pleased to report that I did not do anything stupid, given what I am willing to do as a goalie.  My skills, such as they are, are very limited by the fact that I make it a point not to fall down on the ice, for the simple reason that it is very difficult and time consuming to get up.  And I did do one good thing, which is recorded in the fanagram below.

The missing words in the following poem are all anagrams (i.e. share the same letters like spot, stop, post) and the number of asterisks indicates the number of letters.  One of the missing words will rhyme with either the preceding or following line.  Your job is to solve the missing words based on the above rules and the context of the poem.  Scroll down for answers.

When I joined the ***** of women hockey players I got in over my head,

 I found that I couldn’t stop or turn so I offered to be goalie instead. 

With all the padding I wore I didn’t think that I would fear what I faced,

 But with each onslaught, I went weak in the knees and my heart always *****.

 In one game, the slapshot from the point ***** toward me faster and faster,

 I trembled and put up my glove to avoid the oncoming disaster.

 But then I heard that wonderful thunk and a thud that all goalies love 

 If I had ***** to open my eyes, I would have seen the puck in my glove!







Answers:  cadre, raced, arced, cared

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