I don't really know exactly how it started. There's quite a mental and physical leap from Bible Study every Wednesday to street hockey every Memorial Day... unless, perchance, the demographical makeup of your group includes at least one Canadian, as well as a bunch of people who quote Strange Brew and talk like Canadians, even if they aren't from the Great White North, eh?
Ah well. However it began, it exists now in such well-rooted tradition that Brad comes down from Alaska and Matt and Darcy come up from Portland, and the Schaarschmidts and Van Deusens come from--well, right next door to each other. I go down to Anacortes from Bellingham, because traditions are sacred. One doesn't miss the hockey game.
The goals were homemade by Bill or Joel or Zack or all three, and I don't know where they got all of their hockey sticks. Or where Brad and Matt got those goalie pads. Or (and this may bring down the wrath of the hockey gods) which teams the many jerseys come from.
Nor do I know how to convey the hilarity of hearing Brad and Matt yell trash-talk at each other from the opposing goals. They generally dissolve themselves, each other, and their teammates into laughter whether or not the game is in progress. They've been known to stomp into the middle of the playing field and stick-gloves-shirt each other (you have to see the Mighty Ducks to understand that.)
Everybody plays at least a little bit. Sometimes a few of the boys wear roller blades, but most of us just strap on the good old Nikes and run around.
The hockey game brings out a side of Jennifer that shows itself only on rare occasions. Soft-spoken, ladylike me takes a day off. I don't play hockey like a lady. I put my stick right down on the pavement and throw myself into the fighting circle with the boys. The day after the game I feel more sore than at any other time during the average year.
Nobody tackles, but we all get a few bruises. This year, I blocked the ball once with each of my big toes, which would have mattered less had I worn real tennis shoes and not my Old Navy canvas shoes. Lesson learned.
The classic comic moment--and the reason for at least half my current soreness--came when Rusty V. and I ran off the pavement and into the just-rained-on grass "out of bounds" after the ball. We reached the ball, went to fight over it with our sticks, and at the same moment slipped. In an instant, both of us were on our backs on the ground. Everyone roared with laughter, none harder than the two of us. Too bad no one got that on tape. We could've sent it to Funniest Home Videos.