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."
Suddenly there are five sets of furrowed eyebrows staring back at me across the table. "You like cats a lot?"
"Not, like, a lot a lot," I say, my eyes bugging as I mimic squeezing a tiny baby kitty. "I just like them."
I proceed to tell these people that I'm a bad driver and that my favorite Stars player is backup goalie Mike Smith, "because everybody probably totally told you they liked Mike Modano, who is of course my other favorite because he's super hot, but Mike Smith is majorly sexy too." I have the mind of a 16-year-old girl who draws horses on her notebooks and watches Kyle XY. I might as well have told them my thoughts on the continuing recording career of Fall Out Boy. This is what I get for focusing solely on how being an Ice Girl will get me in the sack with Mike Modano.
At least the trivia quiz wasn't so bad. And I still had my skating. I headed downstairs to the rink to get some practice skates. The woman behind the counter heaved a pair in my direction.
My heart stopped.
Hockey skates. Unlike figure skates, hockey skates don't have a toe pick, which is what I'd planned on using to make graceful stops. God never intended for me to wear hockey skates! I did manage to navigate between the orange cones set out on the ice and scoop up a hockey puck with one hand. I did not manage to stop anywhere near the prescribed red line. In the process, I accidentally twirled in four circles, ending with my rear end facing the judges, which I promptly shook several times in a pathetic attempt to be cute.
I will not, sadly, be scraping icy residue during home games this season, something I'm reminded of every time I find a little yellow Velcro roller smushed between car seat cushions or peeking out from beneath a week-old Jack in the Box sack. And with each one, a little part of me dies, because I know the distance between myself and Mike Modano grows ever greater.