Antarctica Countdown 9 Days and Counting: Close Call and Getting Closer

I had a close call with injury during a Friday night hockey league game. I lost an edge and crashed hard into the boards and onto the ice. The player checking me also went down and landed right on top of me. What wind I had left after the first fall was pumped vigorously out of my lungs. Fortunately, other than the momentary lack of oxygen, nothing seemed to hurt too much. Everyone at the rink held their breath when I first went down then Paula skated over and said “Get up misses…you have a mountain to climb.”

As I usually do what I am told, I got up and I was OK. I was a bit rattled but OK. I played my second game that night very gently and wasn’t sure how sore I’d be yesterday but other than a few spots, I feel like I got off easily, like when the police officer lets you go with a warning rather than a ticket. There comes a time before every expedition that I start to worry about getting hurt. It usually comes around the 30 day countdown mark when there really isn’t time anymore to heal up a serious injury. That concern showed up for this expedition right on schedule and I’ve been playing smart, heads up hockey and hiking with clear intention/attention since then. I don’t go into corners hard, watch for races to the puck, and generally try to keep the passion for the puck in check.

People will ask, “Why not stop playing?” For me, hockey is an integral part of my life and my training. I don’t feel like I want to bubble-wrap my life. In almost 20 years of playing, injuries have been far and few between. So I’ll play my last game on the day before I get on the plane. Accidents can happen anywhere and I’m thankful that I got off easy Friday night.

I had a good training week and I look forward wrapping up all the pieces of gear, training, and mental preparation over the next 9 days. I know it will be intense and rushed and there will be great relief and anticipation in stepping onto the plane and having some transition time to ready myself for the challenges ahead. The weather cleared and let some teams and individual adventurers get to the ice over the past few days and that’s good news.

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