More recently, on Sunday night, I was asked to sub in during The Cleaners' first Broomball game of the season against The West End Chili Dogs. Broomball (in case you do not already know) is played on a hockey rink where all of the players wear regular sneakers and carry brooms that have had their bristles duct-taped solid. The object is similar to hockey, where you aim to hit the semi-hard ball (just larger than a men's softball) beyond the goalie into the opposing team's net. Players wear helmets and kneepads.
Having never played before, within the first five minutes I had tripped an opposing player with my broom and was sent to the penalty box for two minutes. This sounds much cooler than it actually was.
Later in the game, that same player (an experienced broom baller who stood over 6 feet tall, and who, for courtesy's sake will remain unnamed) took a swing not completely unlike a golf swing. And not completely unlike a golf ball, the ball left the ice at the moment of contact and at mach speed sailed directly at my face, only eight feet away.
Having seen the blue mass hurdling toward my face I was still not able to drop to the ice with my teeth (or dignity) intact. Instead I made friends with the ice with my gloved hand over my mouth, where the better part of my two top front teeth swam alongside all the other teeth they had never before met in the blood from my busted lips.
At my sides were my good friends Brent Englund and Lisa Smith, both from The Cleaners. Far from veterans to what I now believed to be barbaric sport, they struggled to assure me that I was fine, though between sobs I informed them my teeth were gone. Brent insisted that I hadn't lost my teeth until I turned to him and grimaced. He then changed his tune to a not-so-comforting "they are only teeth."
Realizing that I wasn't so much in pain as I was in despair, I turned to Lisa and made a half-witted attempt at a joke regarding my perpetual dental problems. Now, having heard my childhood lisp had returned, I brought my glove back up to my mouth and secretly vowed to never speak again.
Brent and Lisa got me to my feet and began to shuffle me off the ice. (Mind you, it's no small feat to remain upright wearing tennis shoes on an ice rink.)
Through my teary eyes I caught my first glimpse of boyfriend Tommy Thacher. Earlier, he had told me that he wouldn't be able to come to my game, and although I was embarrassed to be missing so much of my front teeth, I was relieved that he would be taking me to the medical center, and not some broom-wielding heathen.
It took about 15 minutes for Tommy to convince me to show him my broken smile. And although it was hideous, he told me that he still believed me to be beautiful, and that I looked tough, like a hockey player. I thanked him, lispfully. I was also pleased to hear him say he actually was there long enough to see me look cool before I looked busted.
Moving forward, my dentist coated my ragged teeth the following day with something akin to silly putty to ease the sensitivity of my exposed nerves and to protect my busted lips from the jagged edges. On Friday I will have something more permanent done.
Until then I'm learning a valuable lesson in humility, and working to avoid words that either begin or end in S.
As for my future broomball plans, had teeth not been lost during my first outing, I would have asked (perhaps begged) to be added to the team roster. Instead I may just have to write up a few more freelance sports articles for The Watch to pay my dental bills.
The Cleaner's went on to lose 4-0 (without me).
Talk to you later (a lisp-free way to say see you soon)!