Chapter 10: There are other hockey leagues. THERE ARE OTHER HOCKEY LEAGUES?!
Lest you think that all of Billie’s hockey-related gender problems magically vanished as the whole community of New Waterford came together to pay for her car repair, chapter ten is here to tell you otherwise. It’s another Friday evening, and Billie actually considered not playing because clearly no one wants her there.
Apparently the town is large enough for a coffee shop because while she was at it that morning, some dude never before mentioned named Ike airs his opinion on women playing men’s hockey.
They weren’t favorable and they weren’t subtle. In his opinion—which he shared with everyone in earshot—it was plain wrong. It was men’s hockey and a man should have one night in the sanctity of a locker room without any female presence. How in hell could you scratch your balls and fart when there was a woman on the bench? (168).
Wow. First, who the hell cares what some dude named Ike says? Second, no seriously, who cares enough to listen that he’s not shot down and told to shut up already and get over it? Third, “the sanctity of a locker room”?? How about all the boys who are afraid of Billie’s cooties go build themselves a little treehouse and put up a “No Girls Allowed” sign so they can drink their beer and be all manly or whatever. Finally, I can actually answer that last question for Ike—how can they scratch their balls and fart with a woman on the bench? Exactly how they can when there isn’t a woman on the bench. She’s not asking them to change their behavior (except for the parts where they target her on the ice and vandalize her car—those parts she’d like changed, I think).
Also, I don’t share the anatomy in question, but I have to wonder if it’s even possible to scratch your balls on the bench, not so much because of the bench but because of all the gear a hockey player is wearing, impeding the path to the itchy crotch.* But you know what? I genuinely don’t want to know an answer to this.
No, what I want answers to is why the hell this novel didn’t include the fact that Billie actually had options for playing hockey until now, 168 pages in.
But maybe he had a point? She could have played in a mixed league in the city, or joined the local women’s league but the skill level just wasn’t the same (168).
Okay, what? There’s a local women’s league? This was never mentioned. And there’s no evidence that the skill level isn’t as high, since it was never brought up before. Where did Billie play before going to Sweden (and before college)? She had to play somewhere! And there’s a mixed league “in the city”? If “the city” isn’t all that far away, why not join it? (The writing here is unclear as to whether both the mixed league and the women’s league are of lesser skill levels or if just the women’s league is.) But Billie joined this (men’s) league sight unseen, based on a flyer she saw in the duct-tape-selling hockey shop. How could she have known that it was high skill level, particularly as it’s still referenced as beer league? (And how high is the skill level, when she scored 8 out of 11 goals her first game?)
All these questions aside and unanswered, Billie is determined again to play hockey in this league and heads off to the rink. Once there, she is greeted by a female, teenaged hockey player who lives near her, as well as the girl’s teammates.
They all wore their hockey jerseys, the bold maroon and gold was pretty hard to miss. They must have a game on the second ice pad (172).
They’re wearing their jerseys but not the rest of the gear, yet Billie assumes they have a game? That’s … kind of odd. And in fact she’s wrong. The girls have all shown up to watch Billie play, which is pretty cool, in my opinion. In fact, once the game starts, Billie is surprised to see that multiple people have shown up just to watch her play, which is super sweet. (People don’t tend to come watch beer league hockey unless you’ve guilted them into it, or they’re a teammate who can’t currently play, or they want to sleep with you.)
And due to reasons that probably won’t be explained until book 2 (and I don’t plan on reading book 2), Shane asks Billie to blow the other team’s goalie out of the water. Check back to see if she does in chapter 11…..
*The crotches in question might be itchy due to locker room sex.