(Bonus points if you can ID the title quote without Googling it. No cheating. I'm watching you . . .)
To say I'd been looking forward to playing goal for the Mustangs would be an understatement. While I love playing defense for the Scurvy Dogs as well, the few times I've swaddled myself in 40 pounds of protective gear to have talented people shoot hard rubber discs at me have proven strangely addictive. In a weekend that sorely, sorely needed distractions the planned ones got disrupted by the storms, so time seemed to crawl until Tuesday night's 10:50pm start time. Yes, that's late. Not the latest start time this season, though. And I pay hard-earned money to do this. Well, okay, as a goalie I don't. But I pay with DEVOTION. And sweat. Hoo boy, lots of sweat.
I met my new team (plus one defenseman I snagged from the S-dogs) and immediately approved of their decision to take the edge off with a pre-game beer (not for me, alas. Stupid gluten). They seemed like a decent bunch of guys who were thrilled that I'd managed to meet the crucial qualification of showing up. Our foes would be the Goats, with their vaguely Satanic logo. Not at this game, though, because while they already have like 12 jerseys they were sporting new ones that were awesome, done in the style of those crazy-ass Phoenix Coyote jerseys from years ago. Shit, like 3 people are going to get that reference. Hang on a sec, let me be all full service here):
That is a hell of a jersey right there (Yes I know it's technically called a 'sweater.' Shut up). I would get married in that thing. You see someone standing in front of you in that thing and you know you're getting someone on the cutting edge of taste and style. Where was I? Right, the Goats. Playing for the Goats were my S-dog goalie Chaz and my co-captain/friend/little brother Jeff. I was determined to keep Jeff from scoring, because that's the sort of weird competition thing dudes do sometimes. I would stymie him! Keep him off the scoring sheet! Send him home in tears, demoralized and broken!
He scored one minute and twenty-one seconds into the game. 1:21. Ye gods. What a bastard. My fault, as I let a shot/pass/something from the corner kick through my pads to where he'd set up camp in front of the crease. He was there all game, pretty much. I felt like I was sitting behind him at a horror movie called IT CAME FROM THE FACEOFF CIRCLE or something like that. We fell behind 2-0 pretty quickly on that goal and another I should have stopped as well, but then suddenly we started pressuring them and I managed to get in the way of a few pucks by accident and at the end of the 1st period it was 2-2.
In the second period one of their guys juked me so effectively on a breakaway that I thought my frantic scrambling back might have slipped a disc in my back. But lo, we tied it up again and so it remained until about 5 minutes left in the period, when my face decided to get in the act. The puck was shot around the boards behind me, and as I tried to slide across the crease to follow it I stumbled a bit, which turned my body in that direction. The Goat who received the pass unleashed a wrist shot from on the goal line. From that angle, it couldn't break the laws of physics and go in unless it got some help. A deflection off a teammates' stick, or anyone's skate, or, well, my mask. He lifted the shot and it pinged off my cage, going sideways into the goal as if he'd planned it. MAYBE HE DID. In any case, we were behind AGAIN. It stayed that way until we took a penalty a few minutes into the 3rd period and they scored on the powerplay. That pretty much opened the floodgates as their guy-who-is-too-good-to-be-in-our-division decided he needed to skate through our entire team, do a toe drag (it's a fancy hockey shot), and beat me. He had so much fun he did it again. Then he did it a third time but passed to an open teammate instead as I flailed around. ALL IN THE SAME ONE MINUTE LONG SHIFT (or maybe a little longer, it's all a blur). Oh, my goals-again-average. And this a contract year!
The final was 9-3 and at least half, if not more, were goals I should have stopped. My teammates seemed thrilled with me anyway, which could be warning signs of visual deterioration or mental issues. In any case, I get to do it again in two weeks. What's that? I have games Sunday, Monday, and Wednesday night that week? WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG. 47 year old legs work better when you play 3 games in 4 nights, right? Right?
(title quote answer - Big Trouble in Little China, of course)