Friday, August 28, 2015

Ice To Meet You

Yesterday was a rough day for me at work in a physical sense. First there were the bees - SO MANY BEES - and the gift of multiple stings they shared with me. After escaping them I noticed that my left foot hurt and when I got around to peeling off my boot and sock I saw that during my flight I'd somehow managed to break one of my toes (a side note - this is not as big an issue at it might seem, given that I spent years playing a game that featured me in things called 'rucks' and 'mauls' and included 29 other dudes wearing metal cleats. Since I retired from rugby the scale has slid to the 'MORE days with zero broken toes' side of the ledger. All digits, really. I'm sure some of my OW friends recall me showing up to an afterparty sporting a thumb that was pretty much black in color). Later I was pounding on a brake drum with a ball peen hammer (this is my life ::shrug::) and a sliver of metal shot off, nicking my forearm. The cut was tiny - maybe a 1/4 inch - but blood more or less geysered from my arm. I got it under control, but a huge welt rose up around it. With my right knee doing some freelance barking of its own as well, I was kind of a wreck. Certainly in to condition to play hockey last night, right?

There is something about lacing up my skates and getting out on the ice that seems to soothe all my ills. I have no explanation why. There have been nights I've headed to the rink feeling like my guts were trying to escape through my belly button but once I'm out there, sweating while surrounded by chill, my body enters some sort of zen state. Of course sometimes I play like I'm meditating, but that's part of the learning curve. It's been almost two years since Jeff, Joel, and I first started wobbling on the ice together, and it's been a hell of a fun ride. Are we better? Hell yes. Are we good yet? Hell no. We have our moments and our mistakes. Last night was our final game of Summer season and while I was generally happy with my play, I had a few screw ups that grated on me like sand in a swimsuit. There were a couple of giveaways; I didn't get a few clears out of our zone; some of my passes were about as accurate as Carly Fiorina's 'facts' about climate change (why are people interested in someone who took a successful company and drove it into the ground?); I let a backpass get past me at the blue line when we were pressing for a tying goal.

Fine. More than a few.

We played a good game against a team close to our level in ability, hamstrung by some folk taking shifts that were WAYYYYYYYYY too long. If you're playing hockey correctly then after about 45-60 seconds you should be so exhausted that getting off the ice will sound wonderful, but we had players staying out over two minutes and wandering all over the place. There's times when you can't get off the ice for fear of giving up too much of an advantage, but this wasn't the case. I had to keep being That Guy and yelling about shift times on the bench. I don't want to be That Guy. I like our team. We're fun. We're usually happy. We don't care that we're terrible (but getting better). Still, repeatedly taking too long shifts is pretty much just one thing - selfish. That's something we don't need.

Selfless, now, that's okay. Our poor goalie Chaz deserves so much better - we lost 3-1 last night. One goal was a one-timer on a blown assignment that he had no chance on. The second goal deflected off some jerkweed's thigh (spoiler - it was mine) during a penalty kill. Also no chance. The final goal was an empty netter after we came THISCLOSE to tying it. Lola was watching from above and said the puck was 3/4s of the way across the line after one shot. Arrgh. Seriously, though, with an inept clown such as myself as 1/4 of his defense corps Chaz still posted a goals-against average below 4. To put that in perspective, my GAA in 3 games as his backup is 9.33. I can't believe nobody has poached him from us yet. SCURVY DOGS FOR LIFE

In the laugh-for-the-day category, Jeff is trying to hook me up with a team at another rink who needs a goalie. They are afraid I won't want to play with them because they 'aren't good enough.' Oh, you wonderfully silly people. Call me up and give me the keys to the crease. We're going to get along just fine.

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