Monday, October 24, 2005

this week in hockey news...

i finally got to play hockey again this weekend, after a very long two-week lull thanks to last week's thunderstorms. i missed it. a lot.

first, i took my little brother to his hockey practice on friday. when we got there, dr. dave, who is andy's coach and out for the season in a walking cast, told me to suit up and scrimmage with the boys. that was really fun, because i used to coach a lot of those little boys. the ones i didn't coach thought i would be a pushover, but were they ever wrong! ha! i got on a team with my old friend gordon and another kid, gabe, and we played against andy and lee and about three or four other kids. we totally dominated.

after the kid's practice, the adult league had a scheduled practice, but as usual, no one showed up. i had already worked up a sweat from the kid's practice, but i wasn't ready to go home yet, so i started skating laps and doing sprints and working on my weak slapshot. as i was skating, the sun set and the whole sky turned bright pink and orange and the mountains turned purple. the rink is in the middle of a really large sports complex that takes up several blocks, so there's flat softball fields or desert parking lot on every side. this makes for a very nice view of the sky.

so there i was, the nice, clean, smooth rink and the brand-new boards to myself, surrounded by a huge rose-colored sky, thinking, i could just stay here. i could just not ever go back to school. las cruces is my favorite.

next day i was back at nine for the little kid's games. lee scored to goals for me. phil, my little sparky, scored two goals for me. hugo scored two goals for me also, which was interesting, because he was playing against my team. i'm not sure my teammates saw the humor in that.

he went into that game pretty mad, because my team picked up kevin christeson, who really should not be allowed to play in the over-seventeen league, mostly because he's seventeen. i didn't want him to play, either. hugo put up a big fuss about it, but lost, so he and his team were mad. they picked up a couple of subs also, to make up for ray not being around, and they beat us by three or four points. collin did great, as ever, dinger was alright, i did alright, teague played awesome as goalie, and kevin was, eh... he was kevin. and that brings us to rick.

i told you from the beginning that i don't like rick. mostly this is because he's a playing time hog and a jerk. last season, when he was the new guy, when i didn't even know him, i stuck up for him when some people on his team were talking schmack. later he told me off for taking up his playing time. i got really mad, and a lot of people were mad for me, too. but since then we really haven't bumped heads. i just steer clear of him.

so at saturday's game, rick's being his usual self and not subbing out. that wasn't really a big deal. the big deal was, he was tired, he was playing tired, it was affecting his game, we had two guys on the bench, and he still wasn't subbing out. collin was all alone on defense, and i was rushing back to help, and rick was just standing around, taking a breather. i wasn't trying to be ugly, but i called to him, "rick, if you're tired, take a break."

he didn't say anything until the play stopped. then he blew up at me. just... yelling. "if i'm tired, it's because i'm playing your position!!!!" okay, first of all, he wasn't playing my position or his position, he was standing still watching the play. but i didn't get into that. the point was, he needed to sit, and he was tired. so i said, "well, then take a break! we have subs." and he yelled the same thing, about how he was tired because he was playing my position. and then he just started saying that i don't know how to position. so i thought, okay, enough of this.

i know how to position. i consider it to be the strongest part of my game. i'm not the best puck handler, i don't score a lot, and heaven knows my slapper sucks. but i've been a coach and a player and a statistician for a long, long time. i've been involved in this league longer than most of the board members. i watch almost every game. i have watched more three-on-three hockey than probably anyone in the league. so i said, "no rick, you position weird. you're playing like this is five-on-five, but it's not, this is three-on-three. that affects the positioning." and i was so right.

rick, still yelling, now got sarcastic on me, even though i was pretty calm and not yelling at all. he said, "oooooh, suuuuure, and how long have you been you been playing? half a year?!?" to which i replied, "no. eight." so rick said, "ooooooh, eight! woaaaaaaaaw...." like it was nothing. we ended it then, because collin and teague were just standing there all bewildered, as well as the ref, and rick had already made himself look like a jerk. surprisingly, i wasn't hardly mad at all. i was annoyed, and i don't like him, but i didn't get upset.

people came up to me for the rest of the day and told me in hushed, dramatic tones that i was right and rick was a loser. they thought it was funny that he said i'd only been playing half a year. he really proved that he doesn't know what's going on with that comment. rick played two more games after that, and his teams were all over him about subbing out on time. he got in another argument with chris about it. it's like i set the stage for other people to confront him. it's funny, that league reminds me of middle school sometimes.

i love it. i wouldn't miss it for the world.

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