A philosophical question for you: what makes one a jerkweed? I'll give you an example to fuel the debate no doubt raging within you right now. You are a skilled hockey player, playing in a division you're too good for but man it feels good to see your name on top of the goal-scoring leader board, amiright? Your team is up by 7 goals - SEVEN - in a game against some hapless schmucks and there's only like 45 seconds left but hey, if you bust your ass and skate as hard as you can RIGHT NOW you can have a breakaway on their obviously inexperienced goalie. So of course you do just that, you kick in your special turbo-skakin' strides and bust in all alone, making dekes and shaking left and right before tucking that puck right between the goalie's pads. Man, that felt good, right? But it does beg the question - are you a jerkweed?
Well, at least one of my teammates thought so and got up in his face right before the faceoff to my right a few seconds later. Possible jerkweed was completely unrepentant, and there was some shoves before the ref came over and - what? The hockey-minded among you are asking wait, why was the faceoff to your right instead of at center ice? Because I stonewalled that son of a bitch. The sexy explanation would be that I read his moves and gave him nothing, but the truth is I guessed correctly and, after dropping to the ice, slammed my leg pads shut as the puck was going through them, getting enough to have it squirt out to the side and miss the net. This moment of triumph didn't make up for the other seven goals that had previously gotten past me, but it was a nice way to end the night. The first goal I gave up was the first I've been truly embarrassed about, a dribbler I should have already been butterflied for. Most of the goals that were scored were of the weird variety - rebounds the went the wrong way and were jammed back in; a pass I blocked that went directly back to the passer who made a better pass the second time; making a nice glove save I one side of the net but admiring myself a little too long and having the ensuing rebound go all the way to the corner on the other side for a guy to shoot into the open net; and so on. My teammates seem happy as hell with me - evidently we're giving up 4 less goals a game on average, and while I do get frustrated when I give up easy goals (and not easy goals, and really any goal, to be honest) I am having so much damn fun out there that it's impossible not to enjoy. There is zero pressure to be great - zero. It's the perfect learning environment, albeit one with a wicked learning curve.
So, back to our quandry - was our friend #88 a jerkweed? If you ask my teammates, absolutely. I've never been in the position where my team has had an obscene lead and an opportunity to score so I can't say I know the feeling. I can say that as a goalie learning the ropes (boards, whatever) I was happy he came in on the breakaway. I need the reps, need the practice, and I'm not going to improve my people taking (much deserved) pity on me. But I suspect my opinion might be slightly influence by the fact that I stopped him. 7-0 looks much better than 8-0, no?
The legs held up okay, but my knee was barking by the end of the game. Last night was a much appreciated evening of rest (although the sensei at my son's karate school offered to have me jump in on the adult class and I'm going to tell you the temptation was damn near overwhelming but playing on two hockey teams is going to have to suffice for now) before tonight's game against the chippy Hoboken Rockets. The penalties, they shall flow.