Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Team dyamics

My ice hockey team has made the women’s league playoffs, much to my surprise. I’ve just been informed that I’m not eligible to play, because I joined the team too late in the season to play enough games to qualify. I have mixed emotions about that, after spending the last three weekends playing road games in, around, and beyond greater Sydney, including a trek all the way up to Newcastle (260 mi/460 km from Canberra). (Driving ten hours to play two hours of ice hockey is all part of the scene in women’s hockey—and probably plenty of other sports as well—but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t get old.)

It'll be interesting to see how my team does, because the ranks have been a bit thin since I’ve been around—we haven’t managed two full lines for any of the games I’ve played, which, if you’re at all familiar with ice hockey, means a lot of ice time for the six to nine skaters who do show up. (I had mixed emotions about that too.)

I’ve stuck pretty well with my plan of not paying too much attention to any simmering factionalism or drama I might notice along the way—although with so few players showing up, most of the locker-room griping has been directed at the many players who have been MIA during the second half of the season. So mostly I just show up, keep quiet, act pleasant, and skate my shifts.

But I did bake for my teammates last weekend. It was our last weekend of regular-season play, and we had a long drive. I figured it was a good excuse to bring treats. And these have oats in them, so you can pretend they’re healthy. People who do sports like that in a treat.

Oat-Fruit Bars
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cooks!
A big part of the adaptation is experimenting with different fillings, since the original calls for apricot jam, something I am unlikely ever to have on hand. I’ve made them twice in the past four days—one batch for the team and one batch divided between home and DP’s office. I may be making them again this weekend. They’re that good.

1½ cups/210 g all-purpose/plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1½ cups/120 g old-fashioned/porridge oats
1 cup/200 g packed brown sugar
1¾ sticks/200 g butter, cut into pieces*
1 10-12 oz/~300 g jar good-quality jam or equivalent**

Preheat oven to 350F/180C. Grease an 8 in/20 cm square baking pan.

In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients except jam. Spread one-half of the mixture into baking pan, pressing firmly into corners and into an even layer. Spoon the jam over the mixture in the pan, then smooth with the back of the spoon to cover the mixture as completely as possible. Cover with the rest of the mixture; press this lightly to form an even layer.

Bake for 30-40 minutes***, rotating halfway through, or until light brown. Cool completely in the pan before cutting into bars.

Makes 16 2 in/5 cm bars.

* The blog entry for these says only that it’s better if the butter isn’t ice-cold, but I found the mixture pretty dry and crumbly made with cold-ish butter. The second time I made these, I used soft butter, and I liked the consistency better.
** I used a fancy French raspberry fruit spread (sweetened with fruit juice) for the first batch, and homemade apple butter for the second batch. Both worked great.
*** My oven, which runs slow, took 40 minutes and more both times, and I still wasn’t convinced they were done, so you might need to experiment.


Cheryl Arkison said... Best Blogger Tips

You sound like my Hubby and his hockey team - he just wants to play and stays out of the personal dynamics. Funny though, I don't think he bakes for them!

Roving Lemon said... Best Blogger Tips

Funny that! I'm not sure it makes any difference to the team dynamic (it sure didn't on my last team), but if nothing else, sometimes you need to bake and it's useful to have a hungry horde handy to feed your efforts to.

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