Leaving Comfort Zone, Step One

I am always up for an adventure!

People often talk about doing things outside of their realm of comfort, or comfort zone, and the amazing experiences that ensue when they do so. For myself, a completely unathletic person, learning to play ice hockey is probably as far away from my comfort zone as I could get.

I’m the type of girl who will find any excuse not to exercise, be it that one lingering cloud in the sky, plans for (much) later in the day, or quite simply an “I really don’t feel like it”. I haven’t played any sort of organized sports since I was younger, and have pretty poor coordination. So, needless to say, I was pretty hesitant to actually sign up. However, I am always up for an adventure, and I think that’s my redeeming quality here, and probably what made me finally take the plunge.

Hockey just always seemed like something way out of my reach. Oddly, I think it was being on a team that scared me the most. Knowing my level of fitness (or lack thereof), I was afraid of holding everyone back, or letting them down.

Discover Hockey caught my interest because it seemed like the program was accessible for people like me – a complete newbie. So, I decided to just go for it and see what happened. And here I am, one ice session down! How did it all go, you may wonder? Read on.

I was a little overwhelmed at first, but honestly, every single staff member I interacted with was absolutely lovely.

The first meeting was actually the orientation at The Hockey Shop, where we had time to grab any hockey gear we were missing – in my case, that meant literally everything, from head to toe. I was a little overwhelmed at first, but honestly, every single staff member I interacted with was absolutely lovely.

One of them came up and introduced himself right after the orientation, and took me through the entire store. He was helpful, not condescending (important, since I kept looking down at the equipment list and asking, “What’s this? What’s that?”), and took the time to explain everything, answer all my questions, and make sure I was comfortable in the gear. He advised me on what to buy new, what I could buy used, and even gave me tips on where to find used equipment. He really was just very helpful and I honestly can’t say enough good things about my experience there.

I walked out with a hockey bag I probably could fit myself and three friends into, and a stick I was gingerly clutching like some sort of weapon about to go off. Lugging it all to my car, I was pretty excited, but also thinking, what on earth did I get myself into?

One of our teammates brought a box of girl guide cookies to share and honestly, he has my vote for MVP so far.

When it came time for the first ice session, I was definitely nervous, but that sense of adventure was really kicking in. I had practiced putting on all my gear at home, which was a real eye-opener!

I had never really thought about the order of things, until I suddenly couldn’t tie up my skates because my shoulder pads were in the way. Even with that practice though, it still took a little while to get everything just right in the dressing room, but there were others in the same boat as I was. We got our jerseys, and it was really starting to feel like I was a part of something.

I was scared to take my first steps onto the ice. I had skated before, but only on figure skates, and again, when I was younger. It was definitely a rough start, as I shimmied myself slowly around the ice, but everyone was super supportive.

It was awkward holding something in my hands, while instinctively trying to “airplane” my arms out to balance myself. Others around me gave me little tips as they skated by, and I had to keep telling myself that the stick would become my best friend one day.

I slowly started not to hate having it there, and even by the end of the first session, the stick was already feeling slightly more at home in my hands (but only slightly – sorry to the person I whacked on my way out that night, oops! It’s a work in progress).

I had never really thought about the order of things, until I suddenly couldn’t tie up my skates because my shoulder pads were in the way

We focused on different skating skills, like what a proper hockey stance looks like. That was quite fun, as our coach came around and gave us each a small shove from behind to see if he could knock us down. We learned how to properly fall on the ice (and there was a lot of falling!) and how to recover and get up.

We worked on stopping, which is definitely important, since my current go-to is giving my reflection in the boards a high-five as I come crashing in. It became apparent quite quickly that I was quite literally the worst one out there – but it was totally ok!

Again, everyone was so supportive, and very patient with my being last at everything. And at least I felt better knowing that, should any of my teammates suddenly feel a lack of self-confidence or ability, they only need to look my way to feel much better about their skills!

Yeah, what even is a comfort zone anymore?

All in all, it was a lot of fun! We collapsed back into the dressing room, and I was definitely tired, but in a good way. One of our teammates brought a box of girl guide cookies to share and honestly, he has my vote for MVP so far.

I got to meet some pretty interesting people, and I’m excited to continue to get to know them over the coming weeks. Contrary to my imagining myself landing on my face, or completely wiping someone out with a fall of epic proportions, the first session went off without a hitch, though I did end up on the ice laughing at myself more than once.

And really, what’s more Canadian than hockey and self-deprecation? I already can’t wait to get back out there, so I’m pretty thrilled I decided to just take the leap and sign up. And remember that comfort zone?

Yeah, what even is a comfort zone anymore? I’ve stepped completely out of it, obliterated it, left it far away in the distance, without so much as a second glance, and I couldn’t be happier.

Denise splits her time between teaching K-12 as a substitute teacher and flying the friendly skies as flight attendant. The variety is the best part says Denise – “One day I am teaching kindergarten kids, and the next I am off, on a plane to some exciting destination.” When she’s not traveling or lesson-planning, she enjoys spending time with friends, curling up with a good book, or snuggling her dog.

She also enjoys watching hockey, and has been a Vancouver Canucks fan since birth. She resides in Coquitlam, BC. Finally this Fall she took the leap and decided to learn to play hockey. Denise is a complete newbie. We asked her to keep track of her experiences on the blog, to give everyone a fresh perspective on the program. So join us weekly to follow her progress. And if you are considering taking the program, but have not been brave to do so yet, these are the news from the trenches. Hopefully you will join Denise and others soon.

Discover Hockey is a beginner program for adult men and women who want to learn to skate and play hockey in a safe and fun environment. Learn all the basics of skating and game play without the fear of being judged, form life-changing bonds with your new teammates, and join a league as a team to play hockey in a real season!

Discover Hockey beginner adult hockey classes are currently offered in CalgaryEdmonton and Richmond, BC. If you and your friends want to take the program please visit the schedule pages. Save $50 per person when signing up with 2 or more friends with the Buddy Bonus!

If you think this program should be offered in your area, please contact us.

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