In an effort to become a better writer I'm starting a blog. It will mostly be my take on the amateur teams I see and my photos, I may have a few hand-knit photos and stories as well.
31 teams, 16 states, 5 provinces
2018 will mark the completion of my best friend, Vannessa's, hockey tour. I have always been envious of her, being able to travel to different hockey arenas. It took some time, but great for her she did it! Since I go to a hockey arena each year, mostly for her, I decided the end of her tour would be the beginning of mine, it is after all, on my "Life List".
The start date will be March 22, 2018, we are going to the Blackhawks vs. Canucks in Chicago, or Shitcago as I like to call it. United Center! I hope my first game on this very long tour will be a great one! The Canucks have been playing great hockey against the Blackhawks this season, and for any Canucks' fan that's just good to see. Strong in D, strong on the PK, it feels more, and more like a team every game. I just want these boys to get it together and win a cup.
While knitting one night and looking up Shitcago hotels, I was texting Vannessa on one of my knitting breaks just to give my hands a rest. During this texting relay (Vanessa and I have tons of these as she gets very lonely on the road from time to time.), I came up with an epic idea. At the time I just tossed it out to Vannessa to see how she felt about it. The idea was to add St. Louis to our trip. I have always wanted to do a hockey roadie, like the cool kids in Vancouver, and there was no time like the present. So I pitched the idea to her and she said she would try her hardest to meet me in St. Louis, the last stops on her hockey tour.
There is not another person in the world I would want to spend this tour with other than Vanessa. We met on the Canucks facebook, we stalked the Canucks together, we laughed at the funny warm up moments, we cheered during the great times, and cried during the not so great times. Once I even threatened to beat some crazy Dallas Stars' bitch up for her. Friends like that are hard to find, so for her friendship and loyalty I am very grateful.
I even got a new camera to document the adventure, Polaroid Snap Touch Instant Print Digital Camera With LCD Display with Zink Zero Ink Printing Technology, most rinks won't let me take in my SLR, one reason I love Dallas, they rarely care what I bring in.
Looks like I'm starting my hockey tour off with a bang! Three games in four days, three cities in four days! Excited doesn't even begin to describe it. I feel like I did the very first time I saw Luongo go down in a butterfly, the way I felt at the age of four when I saw my first hockey game. I feel young and alive again. I feel as if I can take on anything.
So what are the top 10 things I MUST bring on the first leg of my hockey tour?
1.) Canucks away jersey (Has to be the away jersey!) I don't wear this jersey much but a roadie seems like the perfect time to start wearing it.
2.) Luongo Canucks hoodie (Best find Vanessa has ever spotted for me in Texas of all places.) The good thing about it is my jersey slips right over it.
3.) Polaroid camera (See above.)
4.) Laptop. I need a way to blog and print tickets. I went back and forth between the ipad and the laptop. There are pros and cons for both but the laptop (today anyway) is wining.
5.) A sharpie. You never know who will be staying in your hotel during a roadie/hockey tour so keep a good sharpie on you at all times. I use a liquid type because it looks great on my jersey but you will have to put it in your TSA 3-1-1 bag.
6.) Gordie Moose, and maybe Marty. (See photo below.)
7.) My knitting. I can get a lot of knitting done on the plane.
8.) My Tom Bihn Synapse 25 because I don't like to check my bags.
9.) My Tom Bihn Travel Cubelet, because most arenas have restrictions on the size bag you can bring in. I don't want any surprises, the game is quite far from our Airbnb.
10.) A sign folded up. I can't go to warm-ups without a roadie sign.
11.) Warm boots because it's cold in the arena. (I know I said 10 but boots!)
Around the end of December 2017, I was trying to find a new vegan cookbook online, mostly because I have pretty much eaten all the good things from the cookbooks I already own. Variety always helps you stick to a diet plan. So I stumbled on Minimalist Baker's Everyday Cooking: 101 Entirely Plant-based, Mostly Gluten-Free, Easy and Delicious Recipes, by Dana Shultz, a book I have yet to buy mind you. I remember thinking, "Minimalist? Sounds like another crazy hipster fad." Why do the hipsters mess everything up?
Anyway I digress. While searching for the book, Amazon, lovely Amazon, gave me a list of more minimalist, and decluttering books. I thought to myself. I need to read more, and get rid of this crap I never use. So this search led me to The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, by Marie Kondo, I thought 12,000 + review?! I have to give this 4 hour read a chance. That was a bust as I have no time to read, I work two jobs! So I later downloaded the audio book, so I could listen on my way to work and at the gym. It really was life changing... (I'll touch more on this later, in a future post. Future me is so good at doing things.)
I'm still getting rid of A LOT of excess stuff but I couldn't help but wonder about other takes on minimalism. So I brought The Minimalist Mindset: The Practical Path to Making Your Passions a Priority and to Retaking Your Freedom, by Danny Dover, and that was also life changing because it not only focuses on clutter in your home but minimizing EVERYTHING. I'm, as the book recommends, am starting with my debt.
I thought to myself, "Nothing bad can come from me reading more and more about how this has effected others." So I brought another book. Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life, by Joshua Fields Millburn, and Ryan Nicodemus, I looked at the front cover and thought, "Man what a bunch of knobs!" but I decided to read it anyway because I was watching some YouTube video I read about one bag travel. The book itself wasn't the best I have read. But these guys have many great points that I did find helpful, plus that Josh is a good writer, see their blog, theminimalists.
The point I'm trying to make here is on my journey to find, and own less, I found more, I found life. Now I hope you aren't looking for a magic answer, because you won't find it here, this is my blog, so you are welcome to read my journey, but you will have to read their books to find your own.
So I started creating my "Life List" as Dover called it in his book. The list itself is insane and I have no idea how I'm even going to get out of debt, let alone do anything on this crazy list. OMG I'm turning into a hipster!!! Someone get me some hockey sticks!!!
Sorry guys this blog sounded a lot better in my head before I wrote it down. But as I said in my previous blog I HAVE to post it no matter how bad I think it is, because posting it and getting it out is FAR better than never posting it at all.
My first seasons with the Dallas Ice Jets ended with a very difficult game three lose to the Texas Brahmas (or 'Texas' as the league likes to call them). One player was cut in the face and received a concussion, another with a hurt shoulder, and I watched another take a tough check and go to the box.
There I stood in my photo spot powerless to do anything about the outcome. As the clock wound down on the power play to the Brahmas in the last final minutes I stood there frozen, not shooting and hardly breathing, just waiting; waiting for a goal, waiting for some miracle to keep them in the playoff run. Sadly my wait was in vain.
As the clock ran down everything seemed to be in slow motion. Somehow I managed to raise my camera and take shots of my team. You can talk to 100 sports writers and photographers and they will probably all say the same thing, "There is nothing like watching the team you follow all season long go down in the playoffs." But they will also give you the sound advice to, "Keep going." This to me means there will always be great moments, like the SICK SAVE Tyler Hough made in the Pink In the Rink game, or the beautiful goal Chris Schutz scored (Can't remember which game but the goal was so great!), or the stellar passing between defensemen Bryan Siersma and Spencer Roth. But at the same time there will always be low moments. It’s the low moments that keep you employed in the NHL and AHL. Local newspapers love to see defeat. You learn best from defeat, even if you don't realize it at the time. On this day, at this game it took everything in my power to keep shooting.
So call me a girl, but we all know how hard it is to see the people you have grown to like as individuals so disappointed. "It comes with the job," says a Vancouver Canucks sports writer, "It's never easy, but it should never be easy if you are doing your job right."
So I shot, and I shot; and as my eyes welt up with tears I shot some more. In the beginning of every game you wonder if you can continue to shoot the loses, I answered my own question game three by shooting the young players' final moments.
The following photos are for any new sports writer or photographer still wondering if they made the right choice. At the end of the day the client will employ you to shoot the game and not get emotionally attached to the team. This is your job and the more you do it the better you become. I love those young men and everyday they make me want to write better and shoot better, for this I am grateful!
So lately I've been trying to get my writing mojo back. Most days it is just me writing by hand in one of my many journals trying to figure out why every word sucks so bad. At the end of the three hour journey I'm left with nothing but balled up sheets of paper I refuse to let anyone read. And Micheal is very little help as he is placing the soul reason for us not starting the pilot squarely on my losing the previous note we had on said pilot. Truth be told he is just as afraid as I am. Afraid or failing, afraid of succeeding, afraid of letting me in and have an amazing time while doing it...
At any rate I'm now more determined to start writing again, start living again, start waking up with a purpose, and more of a zest for life. The only way I know how to do this and get through it is to write. Not write well mind you, but just write. I found so many old drafts that I never posted. Why? I'm not really sure. Maybe I thought they weren't good enough, maybe they weren't, but never posting them isn't really helping anyone. Not me, not the reader, and not my future as a writer.
I know this will be a long road but I need to get it back and keep it going. So my hope for 2018 is to blog. Blog about everything and nothing all at the same time. Blog until my hands bleed.
Are you ready for this journey? Well good. That makes one of us.
“One thing that helps is to give myself permission to write badly. I tell myself that I’m going to do my five or 10 pages no matter what, and that I can always tear them up the following morning if I want. I’ll have lost nothing—writing and tearing up five pages would leave me no further behind than if I took the day off.”
“To gain your own voice, you have to forget about having it heard.”
I can't help but laugh at the mere thought of this question! The truth is photographing hockey is really no harder than playing hockey. If you have never played hockey the following quote will give you an idea of how challenging the sport is to play:
Is hockey hard? "I don't know, you tell me. We need to have the strength and power of a football player, the stamina of a marathon runner, and the concentration of a brain surgeon. But we need to put all this together while moving at high speeds on a cold and slippery surface while 5 other guys use clubs to try and kill us, oh yeah did I mention that this whole time we're standing on blades 1/8 of an inch thick? Is ice hockey hard? I don't know, you tell me. Next question."
So to answer the question YES! Hockey is the hardest sport to shoot! You have some of the worst lighting conditions in any sport, some of the fastest moving players in any sport, if you are lucky you will see the puck in time to duck, and did I mention you can't use your flash without running the risk of blinding a player. Plus, when you are not moving around your hands and body will go numb from the cool temperature, as most rinks are kept very cold. Oh yeah and just about every time you try to shoot on the ice you slip trying to get the angle you want.
When I tell people I shoot sports I get a response like, “How cool! You get the watch games for free.” I wish I had the luxury of just watching the game. I have to shoot the guy with the puck, the guys without the puck, and the guy who is receiving the puck. And through all of this I have to make sure the shot is in focus, properly composed, and properly exposed.
To say shooting hockey is hard is an understatement! Most games I am lucky if I end up with five good shots.
But all the sports photographers I have met in my lifetime say hockey is their favorite sport to shoot. I must agree. I think it is the overall challenge that makes it so loveable.
Goaltender John Groth, of the Dallas Ice Jets, makes a glove save against the Texas Brahmas. A one-in-a-million shot that took me all season.