Hey, remember that time I played hockey for 10 days to raise money for Cystic Fibrosis? Well, yesterday when I picked up a copy of the Royal City Record (my local paper), I saw a familiar face from that game: Bill Markvoort. Mr. Markvoort was a great supporter of our game. His daughter, Eva, was an amazing young woman who died four years ago from Cystic Fibrosis, but her legacy lives on through her work to raise awareness of Cystic Fibrosis and organ donation, and through the ongoing work of her family to carry on her legacy. The family generously allowed us to use Eva’s striking image for promotional material for our hockey game:
According to the article, Mr. Markvoort turns 65 this year and he’s taking part in the GearUp4CF 1,200 km bike ride from Vancouver to Banff, with a goal of raising $65,000 for Cystic Fibrosis! I don’t know Mr. Markvoort, aside from having met him at the hockey game, but I feel like I have a sense of what he’s putting himself through – a nine-day bike ride sounds comparable in its level of gruelingness to 10 straight days of playing hockey! And I know that it really helped me out to be supported in my efforts, by both friends and strangers alike, so I figured I should pay forward all the support I got by contributing to his fundraiser.
One year ago today, I started playing a hockey game that didn’t stop for 10 days, 3 hours, and 5 minutes. It’s hard to believe that it’s been a whole year since then, but also, as I’m finding always seems to happen with really pivotal events, it also seems a lifetime ago. Even when I was driving home right after the game, I remember thinking, “Did I just dream that?” It seemed so surreal to have played in something so huge, to have pushed myself beyond all reasonable physical limits1, to have had the honour to have raised so much awareness for so worthy a cause as Cystic Fibrosis, not to mention being part of the raising of $171,000 for Cystic Fibrosis Canada.
As I reflect back, the things that stand out are not the pain & self-deprivation-induced delirium & weird physiological abnormalities2,3, but the gratitude I feel for all the people who supported me in so many different ways and the pride I feel in having been able to help, even in just a small way, to trying to improve the quality of life of those living with Cystic Fibrosis through raising much needed money for research. I was just reading back over my blog postings from the game4 and it reminded me of the families who came to the rink with their kids who have CF to thank us for what we were doing and it was so humbling to hear their stories and their gratitude. It reminded us that the suffering we were endearing in those 10 days pales in comparison to a lifetime with Cystic Fibrosis. I didn’t have any ties to CF before the game, but that experience has made Cystic Fibrosis Canada one of my top charities to support, for life.
The other thing that always comes to mind when I think abou the game is my dad. My dad loved watching the live stream of that hockey game – he had it on running on his computer 24/7 and he had my schedule posted right next to it so he could watch all of my shifts. I’m am so grateful that my dad was around during that time because that was the only time he ever got to see me playing hockey and I know it made him very happy. He was proud of me and he loved the game and that is a part of what I’ll treasure about the experience.
We are going to have a reunion of all the players in September and I’m really looking forward to seeing everyone again!
Hey, remember that time I set a world record? I know, how could you forget with it being so epically awesome and all? Well, I think I mentioned1 that there was a documentary film crew that was following us around before and during the game, capturing the highs and lows and all the various goings on of 40 women who decided to play hockey for 10 days straight to raise money for, and awareness of, Cystic Fibrosis.
Well, the documentarians are hard at work on creating their masterpiece and they are at the point where they have some teaser videos for us to watch. Here’s a 40 second clip:
And here’s a 2 minute preview of the documentary:
1000 points to the first person who correctly identifies the three times that I appear in the second video!
I can’t *wait* until this movie is ready!
I say that I “think” I mentioned because I was kind of delirious from pain and sleep deprivation during most of that game, so I can’t be certain of what I did or did not say during that time. [↩]
I arrived home from work today to find this waiting for me:
So first of all, it’s a piece of mail – and I love mail! And it’s from my niece – and I love my niece! And it references my world record holding status – and you know that I love my world record holding status!
What could be in this package???
As it turned out, it was a card congratulating me on my 10-day long hockey game. With pictures of Queen Amidala on the front, naturally1.
Inside the card:
And not only was there a card, but my niece also made me a ring!
Luckiest. Aunt. Ever!
My niece just happens to be on a Star Wars kick at the moment [↩]
When I first started fundraising for the Longest Game, the online system used for donations wasn’t equipped to provide us with the names of the people who were donating. Once we got an updated system, names of donors were published immediately on the fundraising page ((If the donor gave permission, that is!)) So while I know the majority of the people who donated – and I love you all more than you can know! – there are some people who donated who I just have no idea who they are!
My fundraising page lists “Anonymous Pledges prior to July 15, 2011” of “$587.60” – these are the donations received on the older system that didn’t give us names of donors. I know some of that money was from Sarah and some was from Dan, and some was from another friend (who wants to be anonymous), because I talked to all of them about it, and that some of it was from the, um, Electronic Device Buying Party for Charity that I held at my friend Lianna’s place. But I don’t know where the rest of it came from! Also, on the newer fundraising page, there is an “Anonymous,” a “DG,” and a “Vera Hossack” – I don’t know who these are either!
So, if you happened to donate some money to me and don’t see your name listed on my fundraising page (or you aren’t my “Fuck Yeah” donor – I know who *you* are!), please let me know (you can email me or use my contact page, if you aren’t comfortable with talking about your donation in the comments section)! I want to send a special thank you to all my fabulous donors and I can’t do that if I don’t know who you are. Also – you rock!
Apparently my ability to blog about anything but the game lasted all of one day.
It’s been four days since the game ended and I’m feeling both like I may never fully recover and like it was all just a dream! My physical injuries are all very surface – blisters and abrasions – and I’m a fast healer when it comes to stuff like that and my sausage fingers only lasted for about a day after the game. I had dinner with about 25 of the players last night1 and many people have much more serious issues – groin pulls, toes that are still numb, etc.! But I also am still having trouble temperature regulating – I’m hot, then I’m cold – and I can’t seem to get hydrated. Despite the fact that I am drinking crazy amounts of water all day long, none of it seems to want to stay in my body2! I feel like I’m ever so slightly more hydrated than yesterday, but my mouth and my eyes still feel super dry! If we do this again, I feel like we should have physiologists follow us around to study the effects of insane amounts of physical activity3. On the plus side, I have regained the ability to sweat, which I lost around Day 5 of the game. So that’s got to be a good thing, right?
My main problem now is that I’m still suffering from the sleep deprivation – hence why I’m at home writing a blog posting on a Friday night instead of partying it up like a respectable 30-something should be. Now, I’m no stranger to sleep-deprivation. I usually only sleep about 5 hours a night during the week, so getting only 5 hours sleep per day during the hockey game wasn’t as much a problem for me as it was for some others… for a few days. But in the real world, I typically make up for my insufficient sleep during the week by sleeping 10 or 12 hours per night on the weekends, something I certainly didn’t do during the game! I’m also not usually physically active for 9 hours per day while getting only 5 hours of sleep per night, so the sleep deprivation *definitely* caught up with me. And since I went back to work the day after the game ended, I haven’t gotten nearly enough sleep to start catching up. In fact, I was in a meeting today and the chair asked us to talk about our goals for the meeting – her example was “By the end of the meeting, I want a consensus on this document so that we can submit it to the Director – and I said, “My goal is to stay awake for the next two hours”4.
My plan for the weekend is to take it easy – early to bed tonight, a day on the beach tomorrow and definitely sleeping in big time on Sunday. Hopefully by Sunday I’ll have enough energy to actually get groceries – something I just haven’t had the strength to do as of yet. Maybe next week I’ll even unpack all my stuff from the game, which is currently sitting in a giant pile in my living room!
Big time props to Richport Ford Lincoln who kicked in a bunch of money for dinner! [↩]
I’ve also tried beer, but that doesn’t seem to work either [↩]
Yeah, I just suggested that we might do this again. Near the end of the game, when people would ask me if I’d ever do this again, I would say, “No way. I’ll volunteer, but playing in a 10 day long hockey game is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.” Now that we are a few days out, I feel like I might do it again if they were to plan another game like this! [↩]
Fortunately, my coworkers have a sense of humour and are sympathetic to my plight! [↩]
I’m sure I could probably blog about the game until the end of time! There were SO MANY times that something happened that I thought “I need to blog that,” but given that we had very little time to do anything other than eat, sleep & play, I didn’t get to blog most of them. Now that I’m slowly recovering from my sleep deprivation and have time on my hands to actually write about it, I’m going to try to remember as many of them as I can. Since I still can’t string together a coherent paragraph, though, you’ll have to accept it in bulleted list form.
My random thoughts:
There was a dent in centre ice from having dropped the puck more than 2,300 times over 10 days. Seriously.
I got two new nicknames during the course of the game. One was “The Hobbit” – because I would come into the rink from RV World wrapped in my blanket. It was just too damn cold to get out of my bed without my blanket. The other was “Timbit” – this was what Bree started calling Sarah Willie and I due to our short statures (and the fact that I play like a Timbit!).
The arena was freaking cold. Apparently they had to keep it that way in order to zamboni the ice is less than 10 minutes, which was the maximum amount of break time we were allowed according to Guinness rules. Freaking cold.
Scott liked all my witty tshirts. Every day he’s ask “What shirt do you have on today?” Over the course of the 10 days, I rocked such shirts as “I’m blogging this,” “Not that kind of doctor,” “Zombie Research Society” and, of course, “BETH HUNGRY.”
A lot of people have asked if we lost weight by playing so much hockey, but no one really seems to have lost much, if any. In fact, one of the women gained 12 lbs! When I got home after the game, I stepped on the scale and weighed exactly the same as when I left. However, when I stepped on the scale the next day, I was down 3 lbs. I’m pretty sure those 3lbs were 3 lbs of water that I’d been retaining in my sausage-like fingers after the game ended!
Weird things happened to all of our bodies over the course of ten days. I mean, there were lots of things you’d expect to happen from playing a ridiculous amount of hockey – blisters, bruises, a concussion, a torn MCL, swollen knees and such, but then there was weird stuff. For example, Bree randomly had a fat wrist. No pain, no particular reason and it was just one wrist. Why would water be retained just in one wrist? We have no idea. Later, the wrist went back to normal and one ankle got fat. Why? No clue. Frankie got TMJ. How does one get TMJ from playing hockey?? I stopped sweating after about day 5. That’s not normal when you play hockey.
The next time we do this, we should get some physiologists to follow us around to document the effects on our physiology. I think that would make an awesome journal article!
It’s now two days later and I’m still unable to rehydrate, despite drinking water all day long. It’s like the water just goes right through me and I’m still all dry mouthed and unhydratable!
Every person who has watched the clip of me on Breakfast Television has said to me, “You look really tired.”
My six year old niece watched the clip of me on Breakfast Television, which also had an interview with Desneige, who made a very striking piece of artwork featuring the syringes and pill casings of all the drugs that her young son, Beckett (who has CF), had to take in one year. After watching it, my niece said to my sister, “I think I should give my donation money to those kids. They need it.” And she got her jar that she saves money for donations in and counted up how much she had and she donated. What a sweet kid she is!
Very quickly after the game started, we lost all sense of time. By Day 2, all we knew was “It’s Day 2.” I could not have told you the date or even what day of the week it was, but I knew which of the 10 days we were on.
For the last two hours of the game, all 40 players were dressed and on the benches. It was the first time since the first hour of the game that we had more than one sub at a time! I was actually on the ice when we tied the record at 10 am. When we set our new record of 10 days, 3 hours and 5 minutes, I was standing by the door and thus would have been the next to go on – you know, like if the game had gone to overtime. =)
I remember when I was working on my PhD, when I got experimental results, I would sit for a moment and reflect on the fact that I was the only person on Earth who knew the fact that I had just discovered. It’s pretty staggering to think that out of more than 6 billion people, you are the only person who knows something. I can tell you that being one of only 40 people in history to have completed such a momentous feat is just as thrilling.
A little while ago, Dr. Dan wrote a posting about how he didn’t see himself as an athlete, despite all his running, biking, yoga-ing, etc.1. He is, of course, but he doesn’t see himself that way. I used to have that problem too, but I feel like completing this epic game has earned me the right to always and forever be able to call myself an athlete.
My final medical count:
fingers with skin that cracked right open: 4
major abrasions (i.e., ~1 inch x 1/2 inch): 2
I wasn’t too worried that I would get injured on the ice, but I was constantly worried that I would do something really stupid, like fall coming out of my RV or take a tumble down the stairs and break a bone. Because that would be such a Beth thing to do. I’m pretty surprised it didn’t happen, actually.
And here are a few funny quotations that I’ve meant to capture for posterity (I know there were a tonne more funny things that were said, but of course I can’t remember them now!):
“Taking off my skates feels better than sex.”
“Beth, you have such a nice personality, you could say the most asshole thing and people would just say, ‘Oh, I’m sure she didn’t mean it that way!'”
“I really hope this game doesn’t go into overtime!”
“Sleep deprivation, physical pain, and isolation. Isn’t that what people do to torture prisoners of war?”
I was known as the girl with the blog who was also constantly tweeting. A few days into the game, Sarah W said to me “You keep having real people come to visit you. I didn’t think Internet people had friends in real life. YOU ARE MAKING ME QUESTION ALL MY STEREOTYPES!!” A few days later, she asked me, “Are you friends with Miss 604?”, but when I replied “Yes,” she went, “Oh. I was being sarcastic.”
I’m sure I’ll remember more things I wanted to record for posterity sake, and I’ll add those later.
I’d link to the article, but I’m too tired to go searching for it [↩]
I can’t believe that the game ended just yesterday! When I was driving away from the rink yesterday, all I could think was, “Did I just dream that?” It was a truly surreal experience and if I didn’t have the blisters to prove otherwise, I would really be wondering!
I’m still pretty exhausted, even though I slept a full 8 hours last night after I had a 6 hour nap yesterday afternoon! I did, in fact, go to work today1, but I spent the entire day catching up on all the emails that came in while I was away, as well as making sure to take some breaks to stretch my legs. I don’t think it’s very good to go from 9 hours per day of intense physical activity to 0!
Anyway, while there is still so much more to say about the game, I’m too exhausted to say it all today, so instead I want to say a bunch of “thank yous.” I’m sure that I’m going to forget to thank someone because there were so many people that made this event possible and I’m still all sleep-deprived and not thinking straight, so please forgive me if I forget to thank you! In no particular order, I would like to thank:
Val Skelly, our fearless leader who came up with the idea for this game, who inspired us all to play for this cause that is so near and dear to her heart and worked so unbelievably hard to make her vision a reality. I will always be inspired by her leadership, her vision, her positivity and her great sense of humour!
The entire committee that organized this event. The amount of time and effort that went into pulling this off was astronomical and each and every one of the committee members was doing this on a voluntary basis, in addition to their already busy lives!
Meaghan Wong, one of the leads for the volunteers, who bent over backwards on an hourly basis to get the players whatever they needed or wanted to keep them going. From finding us pizza at 3 in the morning simply because I tweeted that we wanted some to having a physiotherapist come onsite to treat us on the Sunday of a long weekend, Meaghan was an absolute rock star!
Jen Graham, another one of the lead volunteers, who was also always bending over backwards to help out the players, whether it was getting us food, doing our laundry or putting up inspiration sticky notes in the dressing room2.
Brian Wong, our chef extraordinaire, who kept 40 very hungry athletes fed at all hours of the day and night for 10 solid days, accommodating us in every way and always making sure that the players came first!
Scott Tait, the organizer of RV World3, the keeper of the score and the playing schedules, the chauffeur to the hospital for injured players, the man who found players to fill in when the injured/sick players couldn’t keep going, and I’m sure many other tasks that I didn’t even know of. And he never once got annoyed when I continually asked him, “How many goals have I scored now, Scott?”
All the massage therapists who also donated their time to keep the players able to move. As with the physiotherapy, I don’t think I could have made it without my hip flexors being stretched out and my psoas muscle being released!
The zamboni drivers, who managed to clean the ice in record time, sometimes as fast as six and half minutes (instead of the usual 10:15) so that we could meet the Guinness Record requirements of no more than 10 minutes break after every hour of play.
The refs who volunteered their time to come out to the rink at all hours of the day and night, working in 4 hour shifts in our freezing cold arena, getting many a blister themselves, to make sure that the game could go on!
Tash & Jamie, our bootcamp trainers. I don’t think anyone else could have gotten me to “sprint” that mile twice a week! Thanks for your patience with us!
All of the many, many volunteers who made this event possible. Whether it was blowing the beloved/despised air horn to ensure we kept to the rigid playing/ice cleaning break schedule required by Guinness, serving us our meals, going on Tim Horton’s runs to get us a caffeine fix, staffing the reception desk/security/silent auction, provided us with much needed first aid for our many wounds, or doing a myriad of other behind the scenes tasks, we could not have achieved this momentous accomplishment without your support. I was especially touched by the families who came out to volunteer – it was so amazing to see kids out volunteering with their parents – such an amazing thing for parents to instill volunteerism into their children’s lives. Special thanks to my friends who came out to volunteer – Lianna, Krista Lee, Ryan, and Sandy, you all rock my world!
All the families with CF who came out to support and encourage us. Your words moved us deeply and helped keep us grounded as to why we were doing this crazy thing in the first place. When the sleep-deprivation and the pain got bad, it was so important to hear your words to remind us that what we were doing was so much bigger than ourselves and quickly made us realize that while we were suffering, it was very minor compared to what CF patients and their families go through. Your strength gave us strength.
All my friends who came to visit me. You provided me with such strength and many laughs and made it possible for me to keep going, because I knew you were behind me all the way. In addition to Lianna, Krista Lee, Ryan and Sandy, there was Heather, Kalev, Linda, Casey, Chris, Deb, Candace, Roger, Hannan, Henley, Monica, Erika, Paul, Tanis, Matt4, Kim, Lance, Martha, Andrew, Joanie, Clayton, Sheri & Lindy – your presence at the game means more to mean than I can ever express. Heather, Chris & Deb, and Erika, the cookies, cake and brownies that you baked for me and my fellow players were absolutely delicious and very much appreciated! Kalev, Joanie & Martha, the medical supplies (and the mocha from Martha!) you brought were life savers! Clayton, the Timmy Ho’s coffee that you brought me before my final 4 hour session pepped me up like I cannot even explain! Lianna & Krista Lee, who brought me more things than I can even remember, from medical supplies to blankets to chocolate milk and diet Pepsi to a McDonald’s breakfast, I owe you both big time!
All my friends who could not be with me in person, but who kept supporting me from a far. My parents who watched the livestream of the game pretty much 24/7; my sister Nancy who did as well and whose constant stream of text messages supporting and encouraging me; Dan, who also watched and whose tweets kept my spirits up; and Sarah who also watched the livestream constantly5 and whose brilliant idea to donate $1 per goal I scored6 then inspired *six* other people to do the same!
All the people who donated to my fundraising efforts – currently at $4,131.72 and counting! You helped me surpass my fundraising goal and you have truly made a difference in the lives of people living with CF.
All of my amazing teammates, on both the White and the Red Teams. We were all in this together and I know that I have made 39 amazing life-long friends!
As I said above, I’m sure that I’m completely forgetting to thank people because there were so many people that supported us in this epic event. If I remember anyone that I forgot to thank, I’ll add them to the list!
Also, I have to say that I am absolutely in love with the song “Barbra Streisand” by Duck Sauce. I don’t think I’d ever heard it before the game7, but it was played many times during the game and was an awesome song to skate to!
This morning at 11:05 am, 39 of my closest friends and I made ourselves a part of Canadian history. At that moment, we completed a 243 hour and 5 minute game of hockey – the longest ever in the history of the world! We are the “unofficial” world record holders for the moment – we have to wait for the people at Guinness to review all the footage and the log books and such before we get certified as the “official” world record holders. But we know we did it – and we have the blisters to prove it!
I’ve just woken up from a 6 hour nap – in my own bed! After taking a hot shower – in my own shower! After enjoying a well-earned beer with Lianna and Kim – in my own living room! Sorry, I’m just a little bit excited at having been released from the compound to which I’ve been confined, in accordance with Guinness World Record rules, for the last 11 days.
I will blog more about all of this later – I’m still physically and mentally exhausted and it’s a bit hard to type since my fingers are blistered and cracked and swollen. I’m going to get some cold ice packs out of the freezer to replace the ones I was using to ice my hands while I napped so I can continue to ice my hands while I sleep!
But I do want to say a quick “thank you” to everyone who provided me with so much support over the last eleven days. To all the people who sent me text messages, emails, tweets, and Facebook messages with words of encouragement and who came to visit me during my captivity, bringing me much needed supplies from the outside world, along with hugs!: I’ll never be able to express just how much your support meant to me. I could not have gotten through this grueling experience without you! You kept me going when the times were hard, when the exhaustion set in and the pain felt like it was too much to bear and it seemed like the game would never end. And when the times were good, and I was just flying down the ice, scoring goal after goal, and having an absolute blast with some of the most amazing women I’ve ever had the honour to play with, it made it that much sweeter to be able to share it with you!
So, yes, I’ll blog more when I’m less exhausted because I have so much to share about the experience. But before I go back to sleep, I have to answer the question that I know you are all dying to know: Despite the pain and the exhaustion, I do still love hockey. And I’ll be back at it just as soon as these blisters heal!