Last week I found myself suiting up for hockey. My first game back! I was so excited.
As I finished putting my right shinguard on, I remembered: I can’t come back.
I turned to my teammate on my right. It was Raika. Last year I had to tell her I couldn’t play with the team in Thailand. This time I had to tell her I couldn’t play right before game time.
I wasn’t sad about it. Just like last year, I simply accepted it as fact. The only part I found upsetting was that I had to disappoint my teammate. Again.
I suspect I had this dream because now, a year later, I’ve decided I’m done coaching. I didn’t wake up one day and tell everyone; I’ve sort of let this idea settle in as I’ve stayed off the ice all summer. Now that Winter season is starting, people have been asking me whether I plan to continue coaching. My answer has been a consistent, natural, no. Not that I don’t like to coach, but it’s an awful lot of time and preparation, and while it’s rewarding, it doesn’t bring me anything close to the joy of playing an actual game. So while I have skills and knowledge to share, I no longer have super rad stoke to share. The skaters deserve more stoke, and I have a long list of things waiting for more time.
And so another chapter has ended. I’m grateful for the year I spent coaching after I stopped playing. I had fun designing practices and creating light bulb moments. In exchange, I got to process my impending full retirement from the ice.
Here I am, fully processed, and fully retired. It’s peaceful here in my hockey world.
As for all my other worlds… I could really use some more time for all these new hobbies.
This morning, I was a pink bouncy ball hockey goalie. I still had all my moves, and more.
I woke myself up going for a kick save.
The pink bouncy ball went in.
For a moment, I contemplated resurrecting my goalie career. I reasoned that the speeds were lower, and with proper training, stretching, and strengthening I could prevent the shoulder issues that plagued me, and potential knee issues from butterfly.
Then I remembered that goalies sometimes take knees to the head.
So I’m chillin’ in the penthouse of a round and fully upright Millennium Tower (or maybe a fully built residential Salesforce Tower), surrounded by a ring of skylight windows. Lightning strikes in the distance, and within seconds we’re surrounded by a fleet of alien attack craft. I duck under a fancy penthouse tarp-tent shelter thing to hide.
Then, Howard Stern’s voice, everywhere. He’s distracting them. As long as he keeps talking, they won’t attack. I crouch under the fancy penthouse tarp-tent. I can’t just stay here. I don’t want to get blown to smithereens, but I can’t stand Howard Stern.
Also, I have to pee.
Thanks bladder, for saving me from Howard and the aliens.
Last night I had a moment of “I’m in a dream,” followed by the usual, “This means I can fly,” followed by, “But I always do that when I realize I’m in a dream and then I fly away from whatever situation I happen to be in. I think I’ll stay.”
This morning, as I was about to exit a mall with my friends, I saw my grandpa at the door. My friends continued on, and I stayed to talk to him. I explained to him the convenience store Monopoly piece in my hand. I don’t think he actually asked what it was, but it seemed like the natural thing to do since he’d always examine whatever toy I was clutching when I visited him as a kid.
We walked out to the parking lot, where I gave him a big hug. I realized after waking up that I’ve never actually hugged him; we weren’t a hugging family. He complimented me on my Chinese. I had tried really hard to come up with the words to explain the game piece. I told him that without my grandparents, I really didn’t have a reason to maintain my Chinese. Everyone else understands English.
As we went back inside, I asked if it was okay for him to be in pictures. (I asked because I wasn’t sure if he’d be breaking some visiting from the afterlife rules by doing so.) Sure, he said, he’d already done that today. I fumbled with my phone and took a bunch of selfies with him.
Turns out he can’t be in pictures. When I flipped through the shots, we’d been replaced in each of them with pairs of items. Pocky sticks next to Glico sticks. A box of something next to a box of something else. Picture after picture.
I was a little disappointed, but tremendously amused, particularly by the Pocky.