The hockey locker room is such an interesting place for so many reasons, many of which I won’t talk about in this post. Haha. But two things struck me over the past few weeks about the locker room. You see, I’ve been playing in this early-morning league for the better part of 8 years now. We play at 6:30 in the morning, which I love, and then I presume we all go off to work or whatever it is we do in our daily lives. It is great fun and I can’t think of a better way to get valuable exercise and cardio. I do not like the gym and I’m not particularly interested in things like CrossFit. I’m blessed and so incredibly grateful that I still have the physical capability to do this three mornings per week.
It’s also important to note before I get into the two things that every few months, they basically mix up the 4 teams and re-draft. So over 8 years, you end up playing on the same team with pretty much everyone. And you end up playing against everyone. It’s the perfect setting to get to know all kinds of different people.
So first, it occurred to me that, for the most part, I know very little personally about this group of people. You catch a little here and there through locker room conversation, but the oddest thing to me as I looked around the room was that I still don’t know what 90% of them do for a living, and I don’t really know what town they live in. You think that would have come up at some point. And hockey locker room conversations are not and should not be about deep feelings. There is a high level of amusement to them, another part of why I value being able to do this. But then I double-take and realize, “oh, maybe it’s ME?” Perhaps, because I’m more on the introverted side, I am the one not making enough of an effort to find out? I do think it takes most people longer than usual to get to know me. And that’s probably on me. Last year I recall talking to a referee who mentioned that I was always “serious” or something along those lines. If you know me well, I think the last thing you might say is that I am serious. I have, in fact, the maturity level of a 12-year-old. I guess it just takes five+ years to get to know me? I don’t know. You are reading inner-conversations with my brain right now! Congratulations.
The second thing is more specific. The conversation in the room a few weeks back turned to beer, local breweries, etc. So, history lesson for you, my life trajectory with alcohol looks very much like this:
This trend-line is relatively normal, yes? Late teens and 20s were copious. There are a lot of good stories from college and in my 20s. My 30s were a dramatic ramp-down and I’d say since the age of about 40, I have a single beer with dinner and that’s it. There are definitely days when I’ll have 2 beers, there are days when I will have no beers. But on average, it’s one a day. There’s probably a whole different blog post on why I’ve taken this approach, but to put it succinctly and simply, a lot of it has to do with my overall physical wellness, keeping weight down, and just…here we go again…risk aversion. I definitely do not want to deal with hangovers, either. The last time I was probably drunk, I mean really getting after it, would have been New Years Eve of 1999, Y2K! That’s now 23 years ago! I think that part is probably not as normal, but also not crazy. “Getting hammered” is just not something that interests me as it did in my 20s. But I love, I mean really love, a good beer. So that’s my alcohol track. Now, back to the locker room. So I shared that rough history with my current teammates in the room and it was an interesting moment. A few of the guys expressed real surprise about my non-hammeredness for 23 years. There were a few other good laughs from guys who said “yeah, it’s been a while for me, too, I think since last Thursday.” One other person said “well, we know who’s on the no-fun list now.” All this is why I love a good hockey locker room. It’s all in good fun and jest! Put me on the no-fun list! (please don’t)
And to think that peak is when we became friends. I see no correlation, though I do recall a mass of Rolling Rock cans on the stage in front of you at a Son Volt show in the Fall of ’95. You may not recall.