Hockey, Derby, Climbing, Oh My!

My more astute readers will realize that nowhere in the title above did anything related to my academic progress made the cut.

I’m passing everything… So far. That’s all the excitement from the classroom!

In other, more exciting news, hockey games and derby bouts have been attended and today marked my first official Northern Ireland trad climbing trip. It was a bit cold and only hailed on us for a few minutes!

A few friends of mine got together to attend a Belfast Giant’s hockey game a couple weeks ago which was a great amount of fun. Three of the five of us were from pretty big hockey cities in Canada or America, so walking into the Odyssey Arena in Belfast was a bit of a shock!

Let’s put it this way- there are no cheap nosebleed tickets because there are no insanely far away seats. Tickets are affordable- I think we were about 10 rows back from the ice! And it was students’ day, so we were surrounded by students from primary school all the way up to university. Good crowd!

The Belfast Giants (many of which are Canadian, interestingly enough) won which was a lot of fun; you can tell the fans really like their team even though hockey isn’t super big in Ireland!

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Halftime isn’t complete without a race between boys in sombreros and ponchos.

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Woo hockey!

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Winners!

My dear Norn Iron Maidens also had their first public derby bout this last Saturday against Manchester Roller Derby. I couldn’t play (I’ve complained about that enough) but I got to help officiate in the penalty box in my lovely (*ahem*) pink official t-shirt.

It was fun to see my teammates get to play on a full track with their friends and family watching, although the crowd certainly wasn’t anything compared to a Rocky Mountain Roller Girls game at the Fillmore Auditorium in Denver! Thousands of fans down to maybe 50 or 60, but still- the atmosphere was fun, friendly, and enjoyable.

Annndd then there was me, biting in the shit out of the inside of my face and hiding behind my clipboard trying to hold a poker face while we got the shit kicked out of us….

Tough break.

But, I still can’t wait to see how well we do in Madrid in June for our next game, and I hope to all the deities that nothing gets in the way so I can play. Here’s hoping.

Today was a most excellent adventure to the Mourne Mountains with a couple mountaineering buddies. We braved a questionable weather report in hopes of getting a few climbs in on rock that was hopefully not going to be sopping…

And success! We headed down a twisty country road to a rock area called Pigeon where we began the arduous (maybe) 100 meter journey up a sheep-poop filled slope to the base of a gully.

Three climbs later, I had experienced a brief hailstorm whilst climbing, cold (but nothing as awful as Scotland), the joy of snacking, a reintroduction to abseiling, and more banter than you can shake a stick at. I’ve outdoor climbed before and enjoyed it, but enjoyed it all the more today!

This was my first time seconding (lead belaying a climber up and following after to grab all the gear) outdoors and my first time climbing outdoors since November or so. Trad climbing means you place your own gear (bits of metal that you attach to your rope, basically) for safety as you climb up in case you fall, and theoretically you’ll be caught by that gear and your belayer below.

I won’t even go into the grading systems climbers use because I don’t understand a stinking word of it, but we climbed three routes rated Severe called Faerie Flight, Pi R Squared, and Class Distinction. Getting better!

015 017 019  027 028 031 035 036 037 038 040 044 048 050 052

So we ended up beating the weather, finding dry rock and knocking back some fish and chips on the way home. Yum!

Also… Saint Paddy’s Day is tomorrow and I get to celebrate it on the Isle of Ireland! Life is crazy.

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