Half an hour before a game, I packed my equipment, loaded it in my car, and drove five minutes to the rink. I then suited up and left my things in the locker room. After the game, I loaded my equipment in my car, drove home, and aired everything out on my porch. Total time elapsed: 2½ hours.
- An hour and a half before my game, I take a train from my office to Penn Station.
- From there I walk 15 minutes to a Manhattan Mini Storage facility where I keep all of my equipment.
- I go to the 10th floor and unlock my locker, whose locks are above my head and almost out of reach.
- I locate a rolling safety ladder and push it near my locker.
- I open the locker, move the safety ladder into place, pack my bag, and unload all my gear.
- With leg pads slung over shoulder and sticks in hand, I drag my hockey bag eight blocks south to the ice rink at Chelsea Piers, which takes about 10 minutes.*
- After putting my equipment on, I put all of my belongings in my bag and drag it out into the arena, since the public locker rooms are not locked. Other players opt for more security by carrying their bags onto the bench—a sight previously unseen.
- After the game, I drag my 50 pounds of equipment back to a locker room and get undressed.
- Tired and sore after the game, I cart all of my equipment back to the storage facility, often facing no choice but to brave the elements.*
- With my hands full, I manage to prop up my hockey bag so I can retrieve the access card for the storage facility.
- After swiping the card at three different card readers, I make it back to my locker.
- I unlock my locker and use the safety ladder to load my equipment back in.
- I lock the locker and leave the facility.
- I take a cab back home, but on occasion have opted to walk across town to the 6 train.
*Now, I could make this all easier on myself if I chose to take a cab to and from the games. But an eight-block, 10-minute walk with my equipment in tow is just short enough where I don't want to pay for the short commute, but just long enough to not look forward to.
What's worse about all this is that I often play twice a week on back-to-back nights. Meaning, after I complete this process late Thursday night, I rinse, wash, and repeat on Friday night. It's a rough life.
So why do I do it? That's what I asked myself after the first few games I played here. Why go through all this hassle? And then I quickly realized why: because I love the game. Simple, but true. Despite the time commitment, social sacrifices and lengths I go to just to get on the ice, I love the game enough to put up with all of the inconveniences that come with playing in New York City.
Maybe love *is* all you need.