“Dude that was awesome,” Zack told me as I skated around to him.
We were just finishing off our practice game, and I had hit the puck at an angle make it slide in with ease while the goalie thought it was going in the other side.
Once we finished the game, all the guys gave me high fives and thumbs up, telling me I did a really good job for my first practice. I thanked them, and followed them all out of the rink and to the locker rooms that were just outside the rink.
“So Harry,” Adam said walking up to me,
“What was hockey like in England?” he asked.
“Yeah what was it like?” Zack chimed in,
“Were they tougher on the players more there, because you had a great practice, everything seemed like a breeze for you,”
“It wasn’t too different, I guess just more was expected of us there,” I told them.
I didn’t want to tell them the real reason I had to work harder back in England, because they might think of me differently. My dad was the coach, and because of that people thought that was the only reason I made the team. So I worked extra hard to improve and show people that I was meant to be on the team because I worked for it, not because of my dad. I wasn’t sure what people here thought about children of parents who worked with the professional teams of the sport, but I decided it would be best not to know.
Once we all made it to the locker rooms, the guys all opened up lockers and began to take out clothes and towels and other things if they were going to take a shower. I remembered that I still hadn’t gotten a locker yet, and I reminded myself to go get one later at the front desk. Some of the guys went to go take a shower, and I just sat on the bench. I contemplated changing into the pair of clothes I brought; I wasn’t even that sweaty so I didn’t see the need to change.
I didn’t understand why everyone showers and changes hear when they’re perfectly capable of doing it at home. Probably because it was just easier doing it here I think. I thought about just going ahead and leaving because there was no reason for me to stay, but I didn’t want to just leave and have them think I bailed on them and have them be confused as to where I was and why I left already. Plus maybe Zack had something’s to say to us after everyone is done with whatever they’re doing.
“Hey Harry,” I heard one of the other guys say, I think is name was Ryan.
“Yeah?” I said back.
“Why aren’t you getting dressed?” he asked me.
“Well, um, I didn’t really see the need to right now. I’m not very sweaty, a-and I’m going straight home anyway,” I said a bit nervously since he didn’t seem to think it was normal for someone not to be changing out of practice clothes.
“You’re not coming to eat with us?” he asked, giving me a bit of a weird look.
“What?” I asked, a bit confused.
“Oh, no one’s told you yet? After every practice we go down to the All You Can Eat Buffet, and veg out for about an hour,” he informed me.
“Oh, okay,” I said.
“So you coming?” he asked me.
“Um, yeah sure,” I said hesitantly, but still agreed.
“Great! Well I’m gonna take a shower,” he told me and walked off.
I really wanted to correct some of his grammar, but decided it wasn’t worth it and was a total loser thing to do. I realized that I was supposed to get dressed now, so I grabbed my bag and took out the change of clothes I had brought just in case. I was getting pretty bored just sitting on that bench anyway, so changing would occupy my time for a couple of minutes.
I looked around and saw that there was no other place to change, and some of the guys had just changed out in the open, so I figure that’s what I was supposed to do. I quickly took my skates off first, forgetting I even had them on, before I start changing. Once they were off, I set them aside and began to take off my red shirt with my old rink’s logo on it. I set the shirt to the side and grabbed the plain black shirt that I preferred much more than the red.
“Whoa dude,” I heard someone say, and I looked up to see Adam looking at me.
“Nice tattoos,” he said, and I couldn’t tell by his tone if he meant it or not.
“T-Thanks,” I said, taking it as a compliment.
“When did you get all these?” he asked.
“I don’t really know, throughout the years I guess, ever since I was seventeen,” I told him.
“And your parents are okay with all the tattoos?” he asked.
“Yeah, I mean I don’t think they care for them, but they don’t mind,”
“That’s pretty cool, my parents would kill me if I ever got a tattoo,” he told me, and I just nodded.
“So what’s with the butterfly?” he asked, and once again I couldn’t tell if he was making fun of me or not.
Considering how awestruck he seems to the tattoos, I’m going to guess he actually wants to know.
“I just thought it was nice so I decided to get it, I don’t like it much anymore thought,” I told him, and it was true.
“It’s still cool. Say, what do you do about tattoos you decide you don’t like?” he asked me.
“I don’t like to get them removed, so if it’s small I usually just have it covered up with something else. As for the butterfly I’m pretty much stuck with it, but it’s okay I’m still fine with that tattoo, it just isn’t my favorite,” I told him.
“Well it’s all pretty cool dude,” he told me and I thanked him.
I wasn’t really sure what to say next, so I went ahead and put my shirt on.
“So you’re coming to the buffet, right?” he asked once I was finished putting on my shirt.
“Yeah,” I answered.
“Okay, awesome. I’m going to go get in the shower for a bit so I’ll see you later,” he told me, and I just nodded, thankful that he had better grammar than Ryan.
After I changed into my dark blue jeans, I stuffed everything into my bag that I had, and sat back down on the bench I was sitting on earlier. After awhile more of the boys began piling into the center of the locker room where I had basically been the whole time.
I had received a few comments and a few stares concerning my tattoos, but I guess I didn’t really mind, they were all pretty nice and seemed to think the tattoos were cool. While we had been practicing I was wearing a long sleeve shirt, but now I had on a short sleeve shirt. So no one could’ve even noticed the ink on my arms until now.
We were all talking for awhile before Zack decided to silence us all to tell us that we should probably go ahead and leave for the buffet now.
“Hey Harry, do you know where the place is?” Ryan asked me.
“No, I don’t,” I answered.
“No problem,” Zack said,
“We’ll both leave at the same time and you can just follow my car, okay?” Zack suggested.
“Okay,” I said back.
“Well shall we head off then?” Adam asked us.
“We shall,” Zack said, and I picked up my bag and followed them all out of the locker room.