By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
Today, there are 13.5 miles between myself and the Dr Pepper Starcenter in Farmers Branch. That's 13.5 miles between me and the possibility of demonstrating to Mike Modano that I am the woman of his dreams. Helen to his Paris. Guinevere to his Arthur. Liza to his David Gest. And, of course, I am running late.
Pedestrians beware! A girl with 36 Velcro rollers in her hair will, in fact, be driving 55 mph down Ross Avenue, and woe unto you if you cross her path. Auditions for the Dallas Stars Ice Girls--the rough hockey equivalent of Cowboys cheerleaders--come but once a year, and the sooner I get to skate around in a skimpy top in front of Mike, the better.
I hit traffic on Interstate 35. Everything is at a standstill, as far as I can tell. I have limited peripheral vision because of the rollers, which is probably not the best approach to highway driving, but beautiful, voluminous hair takes priority over basic safety. In front of me, a Sentra and an F-150 are letting people cut into our lane. Godless sinners! Part, ye, and let the hockey fan pass! To calm my nerves, I call my mother for a Stars trivia rundown. There will be a quiz.
"Name three Stars players."
"Mike Modano...and, uh, Brett Hull."
"Andie, Brett Hull is retired."
"Playing for the Panthers."
Maybe "hockey fan" is a little generous. I like fighting, skating and small, black projectile objects when Mike Modano is involved. I'd like clubbing baby seals if Mike Modano were involved.
I begin yanking the rollers out as I enter the parking lot, stuffing them into cup holders and empty fast-food sacks. I'm five minutes late, but having tried out for the esteemed Cowboys cheerleaders earlier this year at Texas Stadium, I know it doesn't matter because there will be a long line of my fellow hopefuls who won't have checked in yet.
I also learned at the Cowboys tryouts that I'll need a giant bag full of hair spray, makeup and various electric styling tools, because when I walk in, the place will be packed with primping females.
Wrong, wrong, wrong. I saunter into the audition room, and I barely make the tail end of a line of just four girls who haven't registered. There are maybe 35 girls here, and none of them is staring obsessively into travel mirrors, applying and reapplying glitter eye shadow. I should have known. Hockey just ain't football. Not in Dallas.
There's also the fact that an Ice Girl's job is to skate around between periods with a big shovel and clear off the ice, versus a Cowboys cheerleader's job of being an object of male fantasy the world over. But Ice Girls have more cred. It's like being PJ Harvey instead of Britney Spears before she started mainlining ugly.
The real catch is, of course, ice skating. Many people can fake a booty shake or two if necessary, but it's far more difficult to pass as a decent ice skater if you truly suck. Miss a dance beat and nobody notices. Take out six wobbly schoolchildren as you skid helplessly across the rink at high speed, and people point and stare. But I can, ahem, skate. I'm not exactly Oksana Baiul, but I do better than most.
The former Ice Girl running the audition tells us what we're about to do: an interview with a panel of judges, then the Stars trivia quiz followed by actual ice skating. I figure that with my skating ability, my reasonable hockey knowledge (I do know about icing and stuff) and the ease with which I have breezed through every job interview and extemporaneous speaking competition in my entire life, I'm a shoo-in. Somebody tell Mike I'm on my way.
I like my potential fellow Ice Girls. These are not the dipshit dancing princesses I'd endured for nine hours at Texas Stadium. These are friendly sports fans with natural breasts (mostly). We bond over our shared love for Mr. Modano. How sad it will be for them when they find out I'm with Mike. I really hope we can still be friends.
"There's, like, a rule though," says a blond girl with feathered hair, "about players dating Ice Girls." Suddenly everyone looks concerned. To be an Ice Girl, or to be the one true love of the sexiest man ever to wear a hockey mullet? Seriously, is this supposed to be a hard decision? Gosh, I'd really love to rock Mike Modano's world, but honestly, it's just so much fun to skate around on the ice with a giant shovel. So sorry, Mike. I love shoveling.
I laugh with my future Ice Girls mates until my number's called for my interview, which I could not have been less worried about. Calculating percentages: hard. Baking cookies: hard. Being poised, witty and thoughtful on the fly? Oh, so easy. As I stand in front of the panel of Stars polo shirt-wearing decision makers, I grin. They ask me to tell them a little bit about myself.
"I like cats."
What am I saying?
"I like cats, like, a lot."