Unless there’s a loser’s game, I’m done with hockey. We (surprise!) lost the first playoff game for this quarter.

Hockey was really the first sport I enjoyed playing. I did basketball and baseball in grade school, but I always dreaded the games - I only played because everyone else did. I did some volleyball in middle school and soccer in middle and early high school, but was never too thrilled about either. Hockey has been more fun than I ever thought a sport could be. College was really my only opportunity to try it; my high school started a team my junior or senior year, but I certainly couldn’t afford equipment at the time. I spent about $250 on gear two years ago, and I’ve been playing free ever since - no ice fees for intramural.

While I’m going to miss playing, I’m sort of relived that it’s over. I’ve never been the alpha male must-win-everything-I-do type, so I’ve been perfectly content with losing pretty much all the time. I wasn’t content, however, with accepting our fate as crappy players without trying to get better. I don’t care if I lose, but it’s going to piss me off if I’m not doing the best I can. When the team around me isn’t too interested in doing any better, it’s just frustrating because I feel like I’m never moving forward.

That’s not to say that this is the prevailing mentality on the team. A lot of the people that I’ve been playing with for the past year or two have gotten a LOT better, and I see it every time they’re out on the ice. Even so, it sort of felt like there was a backlash from people that just wanted to stay mediocre as a team.

It doesn’t matter. It’s over, and I had fun. I would have liked to have done better, but life has to have some shortcomings or you won’t appreciate the good stuff.

It’s unlikely that I’ll ever play hockey again. I could join a men’s league, but they’re pretty pricey and the other guys are bound to be a lot better than I am. If I get a job at RIT or come back here for grad school, I’ll play again, but that’s probably the only way it will happen.

And I won’t miss the stink of hockey equipment in my room, that’s for sure.