"Why aren't you on the ice?"

As one, we turned on the bench to see the director of our ice hockey league walking up behind us, carrying a clip board.

"We're not allowed until the referees get here," volunteered one of my team mates. "Last time we went on before them we got into trouble."

Helmets nodded in agreement. In truth we had been gathered up and lectured at length about skating before an official rink attendant was present. It was pointed out to us that no one was going to rush to take responsibility if something HORRIFIC and AWFUL happened during warm-up. Like ... a mass pile-up in the goal .... or a puck rebellion.

"That is wrong," our director told us crisply. "You are not minors."

Blank faces peered at her from behind wire helmet cages. We totally were a minor league team. If there had been a mistake and we were this night facing a team from the pro league .... oh my.

"You're over 18," the director explained patiently. "You don't need to wait for a referee to warm up. Get on the ice. This will be resolved tonight."

There are some people you argue with and some people you really don't. Unfortunately, both our league director and the referee were examples of the latter case. Still, since the referee wasn't here ... We pulled open the door and pushed out onto the ice just as our captain appeared.

"Hey! How come we're on the ice?"

"She told us to!" At least five arms shot out to point accusingly at the director, who had moved across to talk to the other team.

Yes, we're clearly twelve.... That was probably where the confusion arose from in the first place.