Saturday, 13 November 2010

Ringette, and finding muscles I never knew I had!

Well, to mark my 47th birthday, I've joined a ringette team!

Ringette is an ice sport, played primarily by girls. I began playing ringette when I was 8 years old. My father, who did a lot of work in the sports world and the Canada and provincial games, was called by an associate from Ontario one winter night. He was in town and had a sport he wanted to show my dad. "It's for girls, bring yours and their skates," he said. The three of us, two of the girls from down the street, and perhaps a few others went out to play.

A team was quickly formed and within a year there were teams all over the city. I played ringette from that year right until the end of my first year of university.

The game essentially involves straight sticks (at the time we used cut off hockey sticks) a ring, general hockey gear, and hockey skates. The rules have been changed a bit over the years, but the game has essentially stayed the same.

So, there I was this past Wednesday night in a rink change room pulling on a girdle, something called a jill strap, (a female jock strap)  shoulder pads (we didn't wear any of those three when I played the first time) elbow pads, shin and knee pads, a jersey and then bending over with all of that stuff on, to tie up my skates. By the time I was dressed I was having my own personal summer (Menopause induced) and longing for the coolness of the rink.

I haven't skated lots in the last 5 years, but when the kids were little we skated throughout the winter, so I wasn't completely lost. As for the gear and peering through the face guard of my helmet, well that was long forgotten since my first foray into the world of ringette some 28 years ago, or so.

You know how they some things are like riding a bike, you never forget. That's what it was like for ringette. The game came back immediately; the adaptations to the rules weren't too difficult to adapt to. I knew where I needed to be and what I needed to do. HOWEVER, my body wasn't quite as quick! My brain may have known what I needed to do, but my body wasn't as cooperative.

As the night wore on and I got even more focussed I did feel better and better....except for the lung capacity! You'd think I'd been smoking steadily for the last few decades...which I haven't. My lungs were actually burning as they tried to fill my lungs. Having a body not cooperating with my brain was a bit goofy.

I had a moment of 'smallness' when another new team member, my age, who also hasn't played for the same amount of years, was just as tired and having trouble getting her breath. Before we'd gone on the ice she'd told me she was in the best shape of her life. So, there we were, both panting for air in the players' box as we took a shift off of the ice. I didn't feel quite so bad about having trouble catching my breath... I guess misery really does love company!

The next day I was really stiff and I'm still stiff. I've been doing lots of stretching and a bit of yoga, as well as walking the dog more than usual to losen up the muscles. I think that this may be a great jump start into getting back into shape, though.

The great part about this new venture is that I've also met some nice women. Some have been playing for a number of years, others have recently started in the last few years, and some are like me; they used to play when they were kids.

Believe it or not, I'm looking forward to Wednesday!

Here's a video link about ringette. Ringette Canada. I also found the video below from The Rick Mercer Report where Rick takes a look at ringette. It's kind of fun.

More about ringette:
During the 1960's Mr. Sam Jacks was the Director of Parks and Recreation in North Bay, Ontario. He dedicated a great deal of time and enthusiasm to developing youth activities and one of his particular interests was to develop an on-ice skating game for females. He named the fledgeling game "ringette" and the first-ever ringette game was played in the winter of 1963-64 in the Northern Ontario town of Espanola. Ringette has never looked back. It is now played in half a dozen other countries around the world. Ringette Canada

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