I didn’t want to go. I tried to drop out. “Listen, guys,” I said. “I’m ready to admit it. I will never be an NHL player; I will never make it to the Olympics.”
Week three was too hard. Coach Chase, our Programs Manager, refused to let me use a skate aid. I was forced to be on my feet for the whole 50 minutes. My only rests were spent sitting or laying (sometimes rolling) on the ice. But even after explaining why I wanted to quit, Chase refused to let me (just like how he refused to let me have a skate aid the week prior!). So, I laced up my skates, put on my helmet, and made my way over to the Players Bench ready for Week 4 to begin. Mohamed was on the bench; he was very happy to see us.
In fact, in thinking back over the last three weeks, Mohamed has always been happy, positive, and has more determination than I have ever seen in another Canadian Zombie. I asked Mohamed why he was taking skating lessons, thinking that perhaps he was planning on playing in the NHL as well. He explained that, in India, where he was born, there were very few ice rinks, and so he never had an opportunity to learn to skate. He and a friend from work would like to play hockey eventually, and these lessons were the first step (or glide) in that direction.
Mohamed and I (and the rest of our class) went onto the ice with Coach Daniel as our instructor. It was difficult, but I was able to put to good use some of the things I've learned over the last three weeks, and I felt a little more confident when class was over. After class, I told Mohamed that, once we were done all our skating lessons, we could join ASHL 101 together. That program would teach us how to play hockey, and then maybe we could even create a co-ed team. These, of course, are long-term goals -- but perhaps more attainable than my original goals of making the NHL or to the Olympics.