With the coldest week of our winter so far, the weather has been perfect for the U.S. Pond Hockey Championships that were held at Lake Nokomis this weekend. Attracting hockey players from all over the world, the games are held outside in the winter landscape of the frozen lake. No matter the temperature, the players are in their element. Some teams show up in full hockey uniforms, while others are playing in jeans and red flannel shirts. But it’s the sport and the camaraderie that’s showcased here. So that’s the good of our winter weekend. However the ice also played a sinister part in my weekend. While I was walking up to the warming tent at the Pond Hockey tournament, I shared an experience that many other Minnesotans have endured this winter. My feet went out from under me and I landed on the ice, trying to steady myself with my right hand. Oops! – not the thing to do. This split-second slip earned me a trip to urgent care and x-rays of my wrist. Luckily it’s not broken, although it’s done its share of swelling and turning black and blue. I now have a renewed appreciation of my dominant right hand and all the things I use it for. Note to self: Be aware, be alert, take small steps, and concentrate on what you’re doing and where you’re going. We still have many more weeks of winter to go and, needless to say, I don’t want a repeat performance.
In the bracing cold of winter, we Minnesotans can not be said to shy away from outdoor activities! And yet Mother Nature has played a cruel trick on us here in the Twin Cities this year. In what is traditionally the coldest time of the season we have had temperatures above freezing, and rain…requiring some adjustments on our activities. This was the weekend of the US Pond Hockey tournament on Lake Nokomis. Unfortunately the rinks were covered with 2 to 3 inches of water, making a puck useless, and postponing the presentation of the Golden Shovel award to a later date. This was also the beginning of our Winter Carnival in Saint Paul — an annual celebration of the enjoyment of our white season. The Vulcans were out en force, celebrating in their raucous tradition, and getting ready for their overthrow of King Boreas in the upcoming week. And there was a sleigh and cutter rally at Lake Phalen, where the horses and ponies were tromping through slush and standing water, rather than gliding along over inches and feet of snow. But we know that winter is not done yet. There are predictions of colder temps returning again. In the meantime, we’ll promise to enjoy the winter, adjust to Mother Nature’s schedule, and revel in whatever is doled out to us.