Bird cage or fish tank?

You know what, I went to a training last Monday. I thought I left ice hockey behind twenty months ago but I was wrong.

I found myself, sitting on a bench in the changing room at Streatham Ice Arena and wondering how did this happen?…

I was so happy to be reunited with the teammates and the sport!

My blog was linked to my Facebook and the people who read the last entry through it left me loads of messages, telling me the door to the team and ice hockey was always open for me and it was very touching.

Ice hockey is like a tropical disease. Once you are bitten by this amazing sport, the fever never leaves you alone, EVER.

Why did I walk away from this joy, I asked myself when I was catching my breath after a drill.

Having thought that, leaving the sport and the team two seasons ago and coming back again was the right decision. After the time-off, what I am left with is a simple desire to skate and to touch a puck. My mind is clear and my expectation is realistic. I have nothing to prove and nobody to impress. I just want to enjoy myself.

My Tuesday morning ritual is back…

Leave my kits alone, Bay-Bay…

After the Monday night’s practice, it had always been customary to dry the equipments at home before re-packing them in a kit bag. The reason was because the damp kits would develop an unsavoury odour if they were left in a bag without being aired properly.

I still remember how badly one of the male hockey players smelt during an open practice session at the old Streatham ice rink. Basically, his equipments were falling apart, literally disintegrating, because he wasn’t looking after them properly. I imagine that he stuffed his wet kits with sweat and everything else in his bag as soon as the practice was over and forgot about it until the next session. I wish if he knew how antisocial his smell was! During the practice, we all stood in a queue, waiting our turn to participate in the drills and I happened to stand behind him. Oh god, how pungent he was. The smell hit me like a blast and it made me dizzy. It was like my face being surrounded by ten sweaty armpits! It was just too revolting to stand and I had to scarper all the way down to the end of the queue, as far as possible from him…

Please know that my kits will always be as fresh as a daisy because they have been maintained properly and they will be cared for as long as I play the sport.

There is a new addition to my kits though…

I have changed my full face protection from a polycarbonate shield to a titanium cage. I always preferred an unobstructed view given by the polycarbonate one. However, it had some drawbacks, such as fogging up and sound blocking. Until I discovered a brilliant anti-fogging fluid for a motorcycle visor, my shield steamed up badly towards the end of a practice and it drove me crazy. And also, I had to shout louder through the shield because the Perspex muffled my voice.

After last Monday’s training, I was awaken during the early morning by a fit of coughs. My throat was very dry and a bit sore due to too much shouting during the session. By swapping the shield to a birdcage one, it may spare my vocal cord, I thought.

Another benefit of wearing the lighter cage is how it can reduce the load on my neck. A typical stainless steel wire cage weighs 329g while my RE-AKT titanium cage by Bauer weighs 165g. Since the previous polycarbonate one weighs 256g, my head will be 91g lighter by changing the shield to the cage. 91g doesn’t sound a lot but a hockey player looks down often and the load on a neck changes dramatically by the angles of the head. For example, the weight of my head, my helmet plus a polycarbonate shield is 4,606g (4kg + 350g + 256g). While standing straight and looking ahead, my neck is loaded with only 4,606g. However, if my head is angled 45° looking down, the load to my neck will increase to a whopping 25.3kg! If I can reduce 5kg from the load my neck has to carry by shaving 91g off from my head, I will do it. It is a no-brainer.

I hope I will not be bothered too much by the grids in front of me during the next training. I am sure I will get used to it soon (I hope!)…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Read all about it

Whatever Trump Is Hiding Is Hurting All of Us Now

We all really have to wake up and do something about Mr.Tango!

Love of my life

Yesterday was St Valentine’s Day and Hubbie and I exchanged cards like we always did. After he left for work, I turned on TV and saw a women’s ice hockey match on the screen.

I used to look forward to every winter Olympic game, especially ice hockey games because I played the sport as a hobby. However this Olympic Game in Pyeongchang, I am not so sure. The reason for my hesitation is not because this game is riddled with too much of the political nuances but because of the heartache I feel every time I watch an ice hockey match. In some way, I could say that ice hockey was love of my life. It wasn’t just a mere hobby but the sport was my obsession.

Of course, my Hubbie is always the most important love of my life and because of his blessing and support, I could enjoy this beautiful sport for a long time.

What a fun, what a joy it was…

Two seasons ago, I decided to give up the sport and it was not easy. Even though I knew I was becoming too old for this amazing but also demanding game, the reality was hard to swollow.

Despite the doubts crept into my head every time I found myself not being able to keep up during training – ‘Am I too old for this?’ ‘Will I bust my knee if I go on too hard?’ ‘Will the coach give me less ice time because I look tired?’, I wanted to carry on as long as possible. It is true that the sport did help prolonging my “youth”. I enjoyed being a part of the team and my teammates’ friendship and encouragement was another reason why I wanted to hang on to the sport. A youthful atmosphere of the changing room helped me to fool myself that I was younger than what I really was, and it was addictive.

The thing I still regret about my behaviour towards the end of my player career was how jealous I was to some of my teammates. Without fully understanding what I was becoming of, I complained to the coach incessantly about my place in the game and the team. I must have been such a pain in the butt.

It is a cruel blow but the decision time arrives eventually to anyone who plays competitive team sports. If you can no longer keep up with the play and your teammates physically, the time is up. It really doesn’t matter how much you love the sport because the writing is on the wall.

Since that June, my hockey sticks have been shut away in a cupboard for good but I do miss ice hockey and thinking about it still gives me a tight chest. It feels like if I am mourning for a lost love. Remembering how great I felt sprinting down the ice and chasing a puck. It was a pure joy!

Now, I ponder if I will ever find another love like ice hockey. Is there any activity which can ignite my passion like the game could? I am really not sure…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

I think the film will win an Oscar.
I watched it at Barbican Cinema Sunday evening and understood why everyone who watched it was raving about it…

 

The film was poignant, funny and in some quirky way, heart-warming. I really really like it but I shan’t divulge too much because otherwise, it will spoil your fun.

Go to cinema and watch it. You won’t be disappointed.

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Battered or Breaded

Sometimes, life can be a bit cruel, and as a result, events unfolding before your eyes may not match your expectations. And you lament, ‘Oh noooo! Whhhhhyyyyyy!?’

Those disappointing outcomes are not normally caused by other’s malicious intent but more like by a simple misunderstanding or by a freak accident. Nevertheless, it is undeniable that those tiny knocks and jabs which everyday life throws at you in a seemingly random manner definitely chip away your sense of happiness.

Don’t get me wrong because I am not a perpetual moaner, like Albert in the sitcom Steptoe and Son (I hope!) and I can take it most of the time.

However, it happened again.

Last Thursday, we decided to order fish & chips for supper through Deliveroo. I really fancied scampi then, therefore, I could hardly wait for the arrival.

Mmmm…, they are finally here…

Bella asking me, ‘What the heck are they?’

Their witty packaging made me smile…

Hello Your Majesty!

Then, I was devastated…

‘Oh bu**er! I didn’t know their scampi was battered, not breaded!!’

I asked Hubbie if he knew which way was the right way to cook scampi. ‘I never have scampi so I don’t know.’, he replied absentmindedly as he was busy with squeezing a wedge of lemon over his cod.

Oh shit! It was not supposed to be like this!, I pecked on the battered scampi and I was quietly pi**ed off. I was furious.

At least, Bella had some fun…

 

Next time, I will call up a chippy and ask them how they cook their scampi before placing an order…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

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