At Watercity, roller hockey defines a community.
Thursday, February 1, 2007
The smell of sweat is rampant; caged faces and armored bodies collide. Here the travels of a small black puck are all that matters—12 players scramble after it before the deafening buzzer screams their game is over.
Here at Watercity Roller Hockey in Marina the competition is certainly intense. But for the many who play this sport so uncommon on the Central Coast, this action-packed arena is more than a space for excellent exercise, it’s an oasis and a society.
Coach Ron Hardy explains it succinctly. “It’s the people who make this place,” he says.
Watercity rink co-owner Jennifer Holmes promptly produces a photo to help illustrate the community spirit. It shows a man proposing to his wife on the rink immediately following a game they both played in.
“It’s a community because we truly have had marriages, deaths,” Holmes says. “When things happen here, we come together.”
Many of Watercity’s league divisions are co-ed. Some folks prefer it that way—as one teenage girl told me, “the guys play more rough with you, it’s cool”—while others opt for an all women’s league to avoid dealing with what Holmes calls “all the ridiculous testosterone.”
Watercity’s upper level teams have won national tournaments and produced many top-notch players, including a member of the US Olympic team who played in Nagano, Japan. But Watercity offers clinics, classes, leagues, and pick-up games for all ability levels and ages. New players attend introductory classes that help staff place them in the appropriate league. Games run most nights of the week.
In short, the entry points for joining this welcoming group are nearly as numerous as the potential friendships. “You could walk in here a total stranger,” Hardy says, “and walk out with 50 friends.”
Introduction and evaluation classes take place 6pm Wed for teens and adults or 1pm Sun for youth at Watercity Roller Hockey, 2800 2nd Ave. in Marina. 384-0144 or watercityrollerhockey.com.