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.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Things and More Things

I have Things to write about. Should it be hockey? Writing? Both, you say? That way lies madness, my friend, but let us not go gentle into that goodnight. Yes, I'm punchy. Hockey game + staying up late to take kids to not see comet detritus (disappointed in you, Perseids ) + STILL getting up at 5am to write/edit/pet Chalupa = tired Kit.

Writing: On the horns of a dilemma. I'm still chugging along on the edit/rewrite of Big Stupid Book, heeding the advice of all three colors of my beta reader Traffic Light. While keeping the stuff that Yellow and Green liked I am addressing the issues Red raised - namely getting conflict in earlier and also showing why the protagonist doesn't end up going the spandex route. It's going well, but the problem is that my creative juices have fired up again and I have a couple of short stories demanding to be written. I need more hours in the day and more energy, but at least I'm doing quick outlines of the ideas so that they don't vanish from my porous memory before I can write them like so many, many others. Waiting to hear back on two stories that are out and for another to be published. Hurry up and accept stuff, editors, so I can write self-congratulatory tweets. IT'S WHAT THE WORLD WANTS.

Hockey: man, the line between having a good game and screwing everything up is so damn fine. More so at goalie than defense, but I was having a decent game last night as we played a team close to us in skill level. Well, we were missing Gary, our ringer, and they were not missing their ringer, who may or may not have been named Gary as well (I just checked. He was not a Gary). He was the difference, but we'd actually kept him off the board and were tied at 3-3 with 10 minutes left. And then some JERKWEED made a good read and pinched in to steal a bad clearing attempt but MISSED THE PUCK, which led to a 3 on 1 the other way that our heroic goalie Chaz stopped but somehow got beat on a bad-angle rebound. Again, I MISSED THE PUCK, just had my stick go right over it. Ye gods. We almost tied it but they punched in another before adding an empty netter to seal their win. Still, we played pretty well and when we didn't Chaz was there to cover our behinds. I think having set lines eliminates a lot of confusion for the forwards, and the line of Brad, Kevin, and Ryan (not Kyle, as I wrote on the combat tracker strips I'm using on a white board. That's right, fellow Scurvy Dogs, I'm a total nerd and play D&D and other games like it and your names were on something geeky ahahahahahah) had a second strong game together in a row. I guess this means we won't be letting Kevin go back to Duke. Sorry, man, I understand college is important and all but thie is BEER LEAGUE HOCKEY we're talking about here. Adjust your priorities, man. Anyway, we should knighting Chaz for his work in net or something. I'm missing a goalie opportunity next week as we'll both be away but I'm sure my family won't mind if I have us leave DC at like 1pm so I can make my game and then drive back down that night, right? Ha no.

Other Writing: If you're not reading the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl I'm going to suggest that you maybe go ahead and do so. It's being written by Ryan North, author of Dinosaur Comics and the Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Hamlet book, who is also an EXCELLENT JUDGE of stories about Machines of Death and so on. It's a series presented with tongue firmly in cheek and a hero who doesn't look like she just stepped out of a Victoria's Secret catalog. Terrific stuff. I'm reading it on Comixology but I'm sure it's in your LFCBS as well. I mean, this issue had Cat Thor. CAT THOR.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Biscuit, Meet Basket

The law of averages surely dictates that sooner or later I'd do something that would result in a goal while playing hockey, no matter how inept I am. I've probably come closer to scoring on my own goalie than I had against the other team, as I can think of at least two times I've put clearing attempts off our own posts. I used to get a little bummed out about the fact that I couldn't score a freaking goal but I'm trying to become more zen about hockey. After all, I'm 47 freaking years old and playing against kids half my age on some nights. I try to balance out the bad assessments with some positive notes, although some nights are more difficult than others.

For instance, last night my skating wasn't great. They had a fast dude who beat me to the outside twice, although one instance was aided by my defensive partner bowling into me and sending us both to the ice. Comic merriment for all! But other aspects were good, like, uhm, well, okay I blocked a lot of shots. And my passing wasn't as bad as having a case of dysentery or anything. Plus, I read a play and roared intot he slot as one of my teammates fed me a beautiful cross ice pass that I somehow managed to one-time without falling over or missing (note: a one-timer is a hockey shot wherein the recipient of the pass shoots the puck without stopping it. It's a bang-bang play that usually happens too quickly for the defense to react to, and the fact that I pulled one off absolutely flabbergasted my teammates. Rightfully so, to be fair). My shot was dead center of the goal, which was unfortunate because the goalie got over to make the stop, I was ever so vexed. That should have been it.

Instead, the magic happened with an innocuous wrist shot from the point that floated in serenely and somehow dipped through the goalie's five-hole. My first goal celebration consisted of just shaking my head and laughing, happy to be off the schnide but wishing it could have been something a little more epic. Hell, a few seconds later I actually got off a decent wrister that would have been a little more respectable, but that one he stopped. Oh well. A goal is a goal and a win is a win, and both are rare enough for the Scurvy Dogs that we have to appreciate each one. Ye gods, we have a legit chance at .500 this season. We have just a good as chance of going 2-6. WHO KNOWS? All that matters is that they haven't had to carry me off the ice.