The next few months was smooth sailing. Kayla and I hung out almost every day and it seemed like we might have backed up a little bit, but in a good way. We got to really know each other. Sure, she still has her happy hands, and we’d have rockstar make-out sessions, but it always ended there. Ending before anything regrettable could happen. Before we gave something away, we could never get back. It does make me happy that Kayla feels the same way, that sex is special, and not just something you do to get off. I warned you before, that I’m weird. Well maybe Kayla is weird too.
October creeped in and Mother Nature did grace us with a real Minnesotan autumn. Complete with all of my favorite elements. Kayla and I spent a lot of time in the forest, savoring the beauty and isolation. Exploring, drawing, painting, wrestling, and whatever else we felt like doing. Kayla was earning her own “nature girl” nickname, although I never called her that. Not once did the farm, and another visit, come up. I was grateful for that as well.
The end of October also brought the much dreaded swim unit in school. In the few months I had to worry about this situation, puberty had still managed to evade me. As it turned out, I was not alone in my lack of development. The empirical evidence I gathered, definitely put me in a minority, but I’m happy to say, I wasn’t the smallest. I can also admit that I thoroughly enjoyed collecting my data, ogling my classmates. I can now walk through the school and tell you what 20 select 7th grade boys are packing.
The only backlash from the swim unit is in 6th period Spanish, two of the boys from my gym class, started calling me pene pequeño. I had to look it up too. Funny thing is neither of them are particularly blessed either. Side by side, one of my tormentors is barely bigger than I am. The nerve of some people!
In all, it was exciting to see my peers naked. A revelation I did not expect. I would not expect any of them to be too happy about my excitement either. So I kept it to myself.
November hits with a couple of big events in my life. First, I become a teenager. Another milestone in the game of life. Second, bantam hockey. I graduated from pee-wee, where I was oldest, only to become youngest again. It’s scary because bantam hockey has 7th and 8th grade boys, so there is a huge size range within the league. There are little guys like me, and huge kids that develop at a young age. In peewee you’d get tall kids, but they were still skinny. In bantam you get monsters. And some of them do want to hurt you.
By the end of this segment, you will be well tired of hockey, but that’s how it is.
The only time my father and I see eye to eye, is when the topic is hockey. It’s a rare glimpse for me, into what I think a father-son relationship should be like. The fact that he and I both love the sport, and the fact that I am very good at it, makes him proud of me. It makes me happy that I can make him proud of me at those times. I can see it in his eyes, watching from the bleachers, with all the other fathers. It’s as if he is saying “yup. That’s my boy.” Sometimes I wish hockey season went all year round. Maybe then I could have a good relationship with my dad.
I’m not one to toot my own horn. In reality, I’m quite the opposite. But when it comes to hockey, I cannot deny that I have a certain sixth sense, or a greater understanding of the game, than most kids I play against. I can predict what’s about to happen, which gives me a head start on the rest of the players. I also was born with “skates in my feet.” From the age of three, I could skate fairly well.
Normally, a player like me would play on the wing. A shifty, speedy forward, trying to score goals. The defense is usually your biggest players. With a long reach, and punishing hits, they protect the net and goalie. They are usually not fast skaters, or very crafty with the puck. In my first year of pee-wee, my coach made the controversial move of putting me on defense. It was unpopular amongst my teammates, and the parents, as I was a fairly natural goal scorer. Defensemen, especially at kid level, don’t score much.
Coach stuck to his decision, and it didn’t take long for everybody to hop in board with him. My vision of the game, and my ability to quickly react to the forwards entering the zone, made me a stingy defenseman. Most forwards would lick their chops when they saw me on defense. They would take a few runs at me, and more often than not, end up on their asses, and I would have the puck, going the other way. About half way through the game, they would try to run up the other side of the zone. They were not getting by me.
Even though my dad enjoyed watching me as a scoring winger, he saw how I controlled the game from my defensive position. He signed me up for a mini-camp on how to check. It was run by an ex-NHL’er. It was pretty funny. Most of the players at the camp were in high school or entering college. I was the only kid there in my age group. I learned a ton from this camp, and my game improved a lot. The idea behind a check is to remove a player from the puck, thus removing a scoring threat. Most people think the idea of checking somebody, is to blow them up, or injure them. With my small stature, it’s unlikely that I would hurt most players. However, I did learn how to get the most power out of a hit. Once you can put together all the finer details of a proper check, you can more or less, stop a larger player in his tracks, or put him right down to the ice. I was living proof of that.
In peewee I blew everybody up and I rarely got bested. I got in the heads of my opponents by just playing clean, legal hockey. I can’t count how many times I was challenged and harassed by other teams. It really gave me a great advantage and a lot of open ice to make plays with my teammates. It also helped that I never reacted to their attempts at intimidation and trash talk. I’d just give them a smile and skate away. I know, shitty!
Now I was moving into bantam, where my size might become a problem. Bigger, stronger, faster kids would be racing at me now. Tryouts are less than a week away and I really want to make the A squad. Not too many first year bantams make the A team. It’d be my first year on the B team, if I fail. It’d also be a disappointment to my dad. My nerves and the tension have been the central focus in my head. I just need it to start, so I can try my hardest to get what I want.