What I Hate About Ice Hockey

My days off are Sundays and Mondays.  If you work at a restaurant or
as a barber, that’s just how it goes.  Sundays are reserved for my
son’s hockey and then my daughter.  One is a peewee and the other a
mite.  Sunday night, this time of year, I watch hockey if it is on or
baseball on ESPN.  I make lunches like a good mother and then sit on
the couch with a glass of red wine.  Sounds boring, right?  This is
after working about eighty hours between Tuesday and Saturday, playing
hockey four to five times, visiting the gym to lift and so on.
Monday, I get up with my daughter; drive an hour through bullshit
traffic.  Slow ass trucks and fucks that if you leave two feet of
space, will slam their car in front of you just they can have the
illusion of getting somewhere faster even though we’re going slower
than a geriatric on a bike.  I drop my daughter off at school,
navigate my way towards a rink in the city, arrive and change in just
enough time to play.  This is after a Kind Bar and two cups of coffee
and a Gatorade.  It will be the same crew to play pick-up hockey on
Monday as on Tuesday at the same time.  The United Airlines boys who
wear white jerseys with red letters that read “POLSKA”.  I used all
the Polish I learned going with my good friend P back in the day when
we would hang out at Euro/Polish nightclubs.  Finally they told me in
English that they are not Polish.  They got their asses kicked by a
team from Poland in a tournament in Prague, became great friends in a
bar together.  There is B from Toronto who has great hands, speed and
a shot for a man who could receive an AARP card.  There is J, the cop
who tells corny jokes that one might hear in a barbershop and anything
unusual that might have happened over the weekend, out on the street.
I ask him what the body count was over the weekend and he tells me
that he has a good one for me.
“So we get a call that a body is found in a garbage can.  I get there
and one of the guys who took the call grabs me as I’m getting out of
the car…  You know G, right?  Good hockey player.  He says to me,
“Sarge, I think you may recognize this girl”.  I open the lid to the
garbage to find a large ass and even larger asshole staring me in the
face…  Sick fuckers.  Sick sense of humor.”
Of course I asked what happened.  I guess when you see horrible shit
like that, details are not important.  A craigslist call girl who
partied to hard with her client, overdosed and died.  The man who
stuffed her into the garbage reasoned that he would be held
responsible for her death since it was his apartment and drugs.
Rather than call the police, the John got an empty garbage can and a
dolly and wheeled the date out to the alley.  The fuzzy reasoning man
put the can squarely in the parking spot of a man who came home,
lifted the lid and found a dead body…  Sad as it is astounding.
Then there is the young quiet guy who chokes up on his stick on break
always like a shiny stick.  T the Goth goalie, covered in tattoos,
wears a jersey that reads “Fuck You” and the numbers 666 on the back.
He talks about a video he is making for his Heavy Metal band and a
possible tour of Japan.  There is B the fireman and Y, the former
Olympic wrestler for Canada that was raised orthodox Jewish in
Montreal and that was also a symphonic flute player who quit it all to
become a PHD.  Since he wrestled as a boy, he wasn’t allowed to play
hockey and so now he is making up for lost time as a boy.  We play.  I
take one shot but have about 10 assists just with P who I give the
puck in our zone that goes coast to coast and scores.  I took two
shots, scored once.  I’m a play make and passer who plays defence and
everyone knows that.  One guy on the bench, who saw me roll my eyes,
asked me when we were done playing what it was that I hated most about
hockey.  I told him nothing.  Hockey has never fought with me or made
me mad.  A few guys who play the sport have done that. I unloaded a
few things in a snarky way but as I drove away from the rink, I
thought about the things I hate that surround the game.
Where do I begin?  Let’s begin with beginners.  You can’t fault
anyone for loving hockey and taking it up.  What is astounding is the
guy who can barely skate and carry the puck that receives the puck and
skates about as fast as someone can walk, in a straight line and
immediately loses the puck in the neutral zone.  After the fourth
time, I finally ask the culprit if they are noticing a pattern.  No
passing, head down, skating slow…  Bam, it’s gone.  That same guy does
not believe he is good enough to play defence because he has to work
on his backwards skating.  That same guy is two feet away from me when
I get the puck.  Who do I pass to?  Not that guy.  That guy needs to
use the door to get on and off the ice but does not bother to close
the door when he uses it.  He wears an NHL jersey with somebody’s name
on it other than himself.  Matching gloves, socks and a helmet sticker
with the number he wears at his Sunday night absolute beginner team.
He may show up with a few friends from his team and they inevitably
all want to be on the same team.  It becomes one big huge penalty kill
for 90 minutes.  You can hear him coming down the hall.  He has the
brand new wheel bag.  He has no wheels but his bag does.  Then there
are the young guys who have a little skill and all think their Patrick
Kane with the puck.  They skate end to end with out passing.  Toe
drags, kicking it up between their legs to their stick.  You make eye
contact with the kid and he still won’t pass to you.  You get a work
out getting open for no reason.  I finally do one of two things when
that young man is on my team.  I either take the puck off of his stick
and when he asks what the fuck I’m doing, I respond that I thought
that he was on his own team.  If I don’t do something that drastic, I
will just skate ahead of him offside and wait for the same rhetorical
question- What the fuck are you doing?  Answer- teaching you to move
the puck… Asshole.  That same guy gets violent when you stick check
him a little.  He tells you the price of the stick like that would
mean anything to me.  Your stick is expensive and too good for you.
My brother one time told me that he felt like everyone is an asshole.
It was after he came to that conclusion that he discovered that he was
the asshole.  I don’t want to be the asshole but I just want people to
play the game with respect.  You never see the pro’s play like what I
described.  You want to wear a Crosby jersey and play like an
oblivious misfit?  I hope Crosby shows up at the rink, slaps you and
demands his jersey back until you learn to play the game right.  Maybe
I’m the asshole.  I’ll work on my attitude and you straight line,
wheel bag, door opening, colour coordinating dufus, work on getting
your head out of your ass.

I’m kept my legs crossed for Ottawa tonight.  I think a win by them
would have been good for hockey and Canada.

Slapshot quote of the day- “What did he say?”  “He said OWNS”

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