The summer before Bobbie joined the Philadelphia Fire she started a blog. These are the entries she created during those weeks when her life was “normal”.
The days after this “blog” can be read in Fire and Ice.
Brandon told me I should start a blog. I don’t know why but he thought it would be good to do. I think he’s getting tired of me complaining or something.
I guess I should introduce myself (if that is what you do with these blog-things). My name is Bobbie Burke. I hate being called Barbara. I love playing hockey (usually center) and my life seems to revolve around it. I played on my University team with the men since my school didn’t have a girls team then. We even won the Division One championships.
I missed getting on the US Olympic team because I was ill with the flu. I’ve never been that sick in my life. Oh well, maybe next time. I just got my MBA but I’m still working at the rink. I like it there.
What else is there to me? Not much really. I live outside Boston. I have four (yes, four) older brothers. We all played hockey and pretty much every other sport under the sun.
The school year is over so the pee wee camps and the summer league I play in have started up so at least I keep busy. I love playing in the leagues here but its not like how it was when I played in college. I miss that intensity.
Happy Forth of July everyone!
I’m off to my brother’s house (Bill) for a good ol’ BBQ. Not sure what I’ll do after that but I’ll probably go over one of my team mate’s home and hang out. Can’t stay out too late though. I have to be on the ice by 6am if I’m going to get any ice time before the pee wee’s show up.
My summer league team is pretty decent. We have some college kids that came back. They’re okay but there’s no way they are going to make it to the “big show”. I should know, I played with a few of the guys in college that decided to leave school and turn pro. Some of them never made it out of the minors but a few of them, including Mark Jefferson is currently playing for Baltimore.
The thing that gets me is that I was just as good (and maybe still am) as the lucky few to turn pro. I even had the most points on the team my senior year. Oh well, that’s life I guess. I love working at the rink but I think I need to start working on putting my MBA to good use. I’ve heard that Boston is hiring in their front office. As long as I have time to keep training to try and make the Olympics, it should be a fun job although I’d rather be on the ice. Working at the rink makes it easy for me to sneak in training sessions.
My niece is turning three this weekend so I’m going to give her skating lessons for her birthday. My sister in law doesn’t seem to really like the idea of her baby playing hockey but my brother, Mike, is thrilled with the idea. It’s not like she’s going to start fighting on the ice on her first lesson. It will be a while before she even gets to hold a stick. The only way I could get everyone’s “blessings” was to tell my SIL that the skills she learns could also lead to figure skating (Ha, like that’s going to happen in this family. My niece is built just like her father.)
I’m going to kill this new “kid” on the summer league team. It’s his first year that he’s old enough to play with us. Dylan finished his sophomore year of college and thinks he’s all that because he make his college hockey team. I mean, good for him for making it but it’s only a Division 3 school. Its not like my team where it was somewhat regular that players would leave to turn pro when his division rarely sees that happen.
He thinks he’s going to be the next big thing and that the scouts are looking at him. Yeah, freakin’ right. If he would stop showboating and actually play he could be good but he’s so interested in who may be watching him. Times like that, I just want to smack him. Today at practice I swear coach was going to egg me on to do just that. And it was only the second practice.
I can’t believe that I just ranted that much about that stupid kid. Oh well, it’s better than taking it out on someone else I guess.
Pee wee camp is going on and its nice to have the extra ice time. Its funny, all the new kids I get think that I’m just some dumb girl and at first they don’t listen to me. It’s hard playing a “Man’s” sport but in a way I don’t know how to do anything else. I do enjoy teaching the kiddies most of the time and it is very rewarding to see how much they have improved during their time with me but I wish there was more I could do. I guess I just have to wait until the next Olympic trials and pray I don’t get the flu again.
My niece had her first lesson with me today. First lessons are always the hardest, especially when the parents are constantly taking pictures of us. It is some what of a normal thing for parents to do I guess. They are trying to document their child’s first lessons for if they become a world famous figure skater or hockey player. I think my dad even has a few pictures of me on the ice at that age.
Despite the flashing camera, I think the lesson went well, despite my SIL sending her to me with fleece gloves. It was kind of funny when she fell and went to get up. The fleece actually froze to the ice! At least she wasn’t wearing fleece pants.
I have no idea if she’s ever going to become a great skater but I know she’ll be a good one.
I HATE DYLAN! ‘Nuf said!
We just had a game in the summer league. I got two goals and would have gotten a third if it wasn’t for Dylan showboating and not being a team player. The refs don’t like it when you punch your own players though. At least I’ve been playing enough to know that and I’ll save it for tomorrow’s practice. I don’t think coach will be too upset with me since I’ve been playing for him on and off for the past ten years. I think even the coach wants to hit Dylan.
We’ve had a few new faces show up at the game. Dylan swears they are scouts looking at him. If it wasn’t the same tune he’s been singing since the first day of practice it might be funny. I know the best thing to do is to tune him out and let him make his own realizations but he is just so annoying.
The pee wee camp is going well now that the boys know that I won’t take their crap anymore. Speed drills are usually the best way to stop the wining. Either that or threaten to not let them come back. There are only a few times where we have had to go and kick a kid out of the program but I don’t think that will happen this year.
I really do like training with the forwards. Once they try to run drills with me it usually proves my worth but the first week is always the hardest.
It’s kind of weird. We’ve had some of the same new faces watching us at practice and at some of our games. They aren’t new “Rink Bunnies” either. Just vague, middle aged guys. None of the guys on the team know them but Dylan swears that they are scouts looking at him to go and play in the “Big Show”.
Our league is pretty decent and we should be placed well in the playoffs at the end of the month. It’s a short season (about six weeks long) mostly for the kids from college to play in. Even though I graduated already (twice), they invited me back. Eventually, I’ll have to move up to an older league, like my brothers all have. I’ll worry about that when it happens. For now, I’m just happy to be playing.
The July camp finished up last week. Decent group of kids for the most part. The August session just started a few days ago. (They gave us a week off in between sessions.) Some of the kids were really good and others…. well some of them really sucked.
From what they said, my two best forwards are coming back for August. We should have a lot of fun. They are really good players and love the game. If they stick with it, I’m sure the colleges will be beating down the doors to get to them. And the cool part is, I can say that I helped them get there.
I had an odd experience with one of the Dad’s from camp. As they were waiting for the kids to come out of the locker room, its normal for us staff to wander around with the parents in case they had questions or to try to sell the August session. Well, this one Dad came up and asked me out. That doesn’t happen often to me but its really weird when it happens. He seemed nice but way too old for me. I tried to be nice and told him that I can’t go out with a parent of one of my students. I don’t go out with parents of my students and I definitely don’t date hockey players.
I love it when there is open ice and I can have the whole rink to myself even if its too early in the morning. I love how everything sounds so crisp. From the sounds my skates make to the “crack” the puck makes when I nail it into the boards, it’s something that seems to call to me, driving me to keep coming back for more. Every noise echoes and seems larger than life in the rink.
It’s almost August and its hot and humid outside but here at the rink it’s cool. Sure I don’t have a tan but I’m Irish and tanning is a BAD idea for me anyway. I’d much rather be under the florescent lights of the rink anyway.
Even the smell of the rink is attractive to me. There is something about the smell that always gets me fired up. I don’t know how to describe it but it smells “cold” or maybe it smells of cold sweat.
The only thing better than the rink is skating outside on a frozen pond. I haven’t done that for years. It gets cold enough here for them to freeze over to where they are safe. But between work and school and team commitments, I just haven’t had the time to seek out some of the old lakes we used to skate on back in the day. This winter, when it gets cold enough, I want to get down to at least the lake by the house and skate.
Only a few more games to go before the season is over and the college kids go back to school (and Dylan too – yay!). We’re ranked second out of ten teams but if we win tonight, we’ll be back in first.
Being Captain can be very hard at times. I need to show leadership on the ice and everyone knows I can teach so that helps too. At least being captain doesn’t stop me from fighting on the ice… but only when “necessary”. (At least that’s what I tell coach.)
My niece’s skating lessons are going well. She’s staying on her feet more and usually moves the direction she wanted to. She’s also just starting to not fall as much. It can take a bit of time to get the feel on what it’s like on skates and the little kids don’t usually understand that. They just want to GO!
We’ve secured first place in the summer league! We’re all really happy about this and went out for drinks last night. Well, those who could go out for drinks at O’Riley’s so it was really like half the team that showed up. We didn’t exclude anyone due to age but the younger ones just didn’t show. O’Riley’s is a nice restaurant/pub that has relatively cheep food and decent beer that’s not too far from the rink. I personally love their cheeseburgers with fries (of course).
I stayed out a bit too late though and today I’m paying for it a bit. I feel like my butt is dragging but I still did my morning run and got to the rink on time. In college, we would stay out much later and I’d be fine the next day. Man, getting “old” sucks. I’m only 24 so I think I have a few more good years left.
One more game to go before we’re done this season and right now we are in first place for the league tournament. We are favored to win as well. That’s always a nice thing to be walking in to the final game of the year as the hopefuls and not the underdogs.
The next team I play for doesn’t start up until mid October so I’ll be working out on my own for a while. Its a nice break though, to go from team to only training individually once in a while. I still train by myself when I’m on a team but when there is no team it can be challenging to check where my skills are when I’m not playing against someone.
The kids in the pee wee camp have come a long way this summer. I think they will be taking a lot from what they learned into their league teams in the fall. Maybe some day, years from now, I’ll be coaching them. I hope I won’t have to coach for a long while but I know I can’t play hockey forever either.
We won the league tournament despite Dylan’s normal antics. At least he is heading back to school soon and he’ll be out of my hair for a while.
Even with the challenges of the summer league, it still felt so good to play with a team. Training by myself can get a bit lonely but I have to or else I wouldn’t be able to keep up with the guys. I think part of why I work so hard is because I’ve always tried to keep up with my older brothers. It’s a hard thing to do when you are the baby of the family sometimes. I love being on a team, even when it’s for a few weeks in the summer. It’s nice to be on the winning team too. But winning really isn’t everything. I’d play on the worst team in the world as long as I can still play.
Had a nice Labor Day. Dad had all my brother’s (and me) and a few friends over for a cook out . Its funny to watch him try to grill. It’s usually a matter of time until he turns a burger into a hockey puck and Mike takes over for him. At least the old man tries.
School’s back in session and so are our skating program. It’s neat to get new faces and wonder who is coming back. I always like looking at the lists before I head out to see who is back.
I got the advanced (under 12) hockey kids again. Most of them knew me from either lessons or pee wee camp so we had a lot of fun today. I try to make drills as much fun as possible for the kids but sometimes we just have to do the “boring” drills too. They hate it when we do speed drills because I do it with them and they know they have to keep going as long as I do. The kicker is, I usually take it a bit easy on them. If I went at the speed and length that I do in my league, the kids would get too frustrated.
It is weird that I don’t have classes to go to now. My goal tonight is to work on my resume and see what I can find but still keep myself in the hockey world. I love teaching but it would be nice to have a good paying job and eventually move out of my dad’s place. Heck, Brandon and Bill still live at home to so Dad doesn’t seem to be kicking us out either.
That same guy who was watching us during the summer league was back at the rink today even though all we had were lessons and private lessons. I hope he’s not a stalker or something. Maybe he’s looking to buy the rink or invest in something here. Don’t know what his deal is but he doesn’t seem to be bothering anyone.
September 17 – Last Entry…maybe.
I think this is going to be my last entry for a long while because the most amazing thing happened to me today.
I finished up my private lesson this afternoon and that guy that Dylan thought was a scout showed up again. He came up to me and I though either he was going to ask about lessons or the whereabouts of another player but he was asking about ME. Dylan was half right. This guy was a scout but he wasn’t looking at him… he was watching ME.
Turns out he is a scout for the Philadelphia Fire and they want ME to join the team. And better than that, they want to sign me to the team and not send me to the minors. Sure the Fire were the worst team last year but any team can pull themselves up from there. Heck, I don’t care as long as they want me. I was told they want me to “score goals… win games”. They are even letting me keep my jersey number! Between current players and retired numbers, nine is sometimes a hard number to get.
We’ve looked over the contract and they want to give me a million dollars for the year! That’s if I last that long. Never before has a woman played hockey for a whole season. There are two other women who have played with the pro teams but they were for one game each as a one time deal. If I do well and keep up with the team, they might even sign me for a multi-year contract.
The only problem is that I have to be down in Philadelphia by Monday for the first day of camp. They are even doing my pre-camp physical that day before the first practice. They have a hotel room for me for a bit until I can find an apartment. My brothers offered to bring my stuff down to me once I find a place to live but I think they just want to hang out with the team.
On top of all this, my dad is so proud of me. He put me in hockey, just like my brothers because he didn’t know what else to do with me and it cut down on the driving if we were all going to the same place. Now all that work is going to pay off. I’m going to fight so hard to stay on the team, the Fire won’t know what hit them.
I can’t believe that my dream is actually coming true! Wish me luck and look for me on TV! Watch out for number 9, Bobbie Burke, center for the Philadelphia Fire!