John White: I felt like a hockey player, until the flagrant nausea

Your brain thinks you can just hop back on the ice and cut it up like there was no lapse in activity

If you’re a frequent reader of this space, you’ll recall my musings about a return to hockey after a 30-year absence.

I was a pretty good skater — when I was 16. Somehow, your brain thinks you can just hop back on the ice and cut it up like there was no horrific lapse in activity, and certainly no absence of skating of any sort over that span.

After my initial return to the ice in “tryouts” for the Castlegar men’s hockey league went sideways after two shifts thanks to a wonky ankle, I decided to forego the attempt to play in a formal league this season and try a more casual approach.

In hindsight, it was a blessing that my ankle flared up during the tryouts. I went for a lengthy skate during a Sticks and Pucks session the following week at Castlegar Complex, and after 30 minutes I was not having a good time.

My legs actually felt pretty good, but my lungs and sinuses were just not having it. There was a work stoppage. The sinuses went out on strike first, and the lungs followed in sympathy. There were expletives thrown back and forth, and hard feelings remained for at least a week. There was also a nasty spitting incident that led to an official grievance.

Thankfully, there was the perfect solution awaiting my thirst for a return to hockey action, without the threat of instant collapse or intense embarrassment.

The Castlegar Leisure Guide listed drop-in hockey at the Pioneer Arena for someone who, and I quote: “Has played hockey in the past or would like to start playing. Want[s] to get out and get some exercise in a fun environment. [Is] nervous about starting to play in an established league with established teams. Then this program is made just for you. This is simply, weekly hockey for fun and some exercise.”

It’s like they wrote that description with me in mind, and certainly after watching my tentative wobbling during the tryout skate.

Fittingly, the opening night of the drop-in hockey program was on Halloween night. It wasn’t the sharp blades or sticks that had me trembling, it was the prospect of laying on the floor in the dressing room coughing up ectoplasm after skating a little too hard for the conditions.

Sure enough, after 30 minutes of increasingly quick skating as a warm-up, which included some smooth wrist and snapshots to the top corners of the net, we started a little two on two scrimmaging. I made a few nice passes and turned to skate backward to defend. I caught a bit of an edge and tweaked my ankle. It wasn’t as bad as the first go round, but enough to send me to the bench.

I also noticed at that time that I felt thoroughly vomitous. I managed to quell the blargh by lying on my back to catch my wind. Once I recovered I did a little more skating to work out the ankle and it felt not terrible.

My legs actually felt really good. I felt like I was skating naturally and with some speed and balance. That was very encouraging.

When I got home I watched the replay of the Jets vs. Wild game and was reminded just how world-class those players are. Their fitness levels and their muscular structure that supports the skating postures must be incredibly advanced.

I will never think, “Gee, that player seems to be dragging his butt” ever again, considering I was Caption Butt Drag Tuesday night. Dogs in the stands were looking at me with a “hey when we scoot our butts like that we get heckin bamboozled” look.

I may have been delirious as I am told there were no canines in the arena that night.

On Twitter @johnkwhite
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


John and his skatemates after John nearly died during two-on-two. (John K. White/Castlegar News)

Just Posted

Inquest planned in death of Peter de Groot

It’s been five years since the Slocan man was shot by RCMP

South Okanagan-West Kootenay candidates talk climate change and environment at recent forum

Forum on Tuesday grilled candidates about plan to bring about low carbon emission economy

Celgar says equipment failure won’t affect production next week

The chip dumper collapse on Oct. 6 is still under investigation

Greater Trail at odds with BC Hockey

Greater Trail Bantam Rep players left without a league

Vaping harder to detect in Kootenay high school

Devices becoming more discrete, easier for students to disguise

Scheer, Trudeau, Singh haggle over potential minority government outcome

If you believe the polls, it appears the Liberals and Conservatives are neck-and-neck

Canucks beat Stanley Cup champs 4-3 in a shootout

Leivo nets winner, Vancouver dumps St. Louis for fourth straight win

‘The more you test, the more you find’: Beef recalls a sign of success, experts say

Despite appearances, experts say a recent rise in major recalls is not a sign of food supply problems

Two years later, City of Fernie remembers

Oct. 17, 2019 marks two years since the tragic ammonia leak at Fernie Memorial Arena

Japanese buyer expands wood pellet contract with B.C.’s Pinnacle

Mitsui and Co. increases contract with Interior energy producer

Cannings endorsed by David Suzuki

South Okanagan-West Kootenay NDP candidate loading up on endorsements

ELECTION 2019: Have Justin Trudeau’s Liberals really cut middle-class taxes?

Conservative Andrew Scheer vows to cut bottom bracket, NDP’s Jagmeet Singh targets wealth tax

B.C. RCMP officer suing the force for malicious prosecution

Cpl. Tammy Hollingsworth cleared of wrongdoing after misconduct hearing

Talk to your kids about vaping, B.C.’s top doctor says

B.C. health officials have discovered the first vaping-related illness in the province

Most Read