Posts Tagged ‘adult hockey’

Dirty Joe Sanchez

September 4, 2015

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Rocky Horror Hockey Show

September 2, 2015

The first time I can remember skating with Corey, he was just out of high school and he was coming to the daily Monday through Friday drop-in, shinny, rat hockey whatever you call it from wherever you are. He was a cartoon character of a player who would yell crazy stuff when he scored and as a lefty it was usually on the left side, just inside the blue line, about three to seven feet high. Corey didn’t believe in defense. He would usually circle in the neutral zone and yell for the bomb, step across the blue line and fire a slap shot. What made Cory worthy of mention was that he went away to juniors, got juiced up on steroids, got cut from juniors, came home and wanted to fight everyone.

His first run in was at his former high school’s hockey game. He sat in the bleachers drinking a forty ounce out of a paper bag and harassed spectators from the opposing team and players alike. Of course someone called the police. Who happened to come out to answer the call? Another morning hockey player who was not very good and brought his mentally challenged son who was in his twenties to sit in the penalty box and eat bagels and color a book while wearing a Jofa Helmet. Occasionally Junior would get up and wander off and his dad would yell at him. I felt bad for Junior. He didn’t want to be at a cold ice rink watching something he didn’t understand. I came to learn it was Officer Paul’s stepson and that he really didn’t like him. I always thought Paul was an asshole. His stupid comment about his retarded stepson solidified my feelings about Paul.

Paul walked up the bleachers and grabbed Corey by the lapel of a seventies era silk shirt, walked him to the door and sprayed mace on his face. It got into his eyes and nose. Corey was a mess. Paul tripped Corey face down in the snow and told him to go home before he had him arrested for underage drinking, disturbing the peace and being drunk and disorderly. That following Monday morning, Corey came into the rink with bugged eyes like he had an infection or an allergy. Paul looked Corey and smiled. Corey looked at Paul and said, “Fuck you, man. That fucking hurt. What was that shit you sprayed on me?”

Anyone with average intelligence could have surmised that it was mace. It was a mystery to Corey. Corey was the epitome of a male dumb blond- good looking, in good shape, handsome and intelligent the way Forest Gump was intelligent.

So one morning Corey decided to pick a fight with an older guy who had made it as far as the AHL. He played a few years for the Milwaukee Admirals. He was short and Greek with a wide nose that had been broken several times. He had scars all over his face, was bowl legged and had great hands, great ability to elude people with his hands, a quick wrist shot and great eye to hit the right pass. He was a pretty complete player. For some reason, Corey decided that if he could pick a fight and beat the Greek, he would then be better than him. Corey, even if he could have beaten the Greek up, he still wouldn’t be half as good as him.

“Let’s go, old man. I’ll fucking waste you.”

Corey stood a few inches higher, was twenty five years younger, full of muscles and speed for fighting. The Greek quietly asked Corey if he really wanted to fight.

“Yeah you old fucking bitch. I’ll fuck you up.”

The Greek dropped his stick and gloves and removed his helmet slowly with two hands and then did a quick two handed basketball pass at Corey’s face. Corey’s face popped like a tomato. Blood was in Corey’s eyes and running down his face. He was trying hard not to freak out by all the blood. The Greek skated over and put his arm around Corey in a fatherly manner and softly said, “Son… I’d go get that taken care of now.”

A guy named Joe, a beginner player was horrified by the affair and offered to take Corey to the hospital. The car ride to the hospital by Joe of Corey was the beginning of a long and tumultuous relationship. The Story of Corey and Joe is next.

Ice Hockey: The Most Difficult Sport to Fake

March 27, 2010

            I have heard that to hit a baseball at the major league level, one must decide to swing or not swing as the pitch is being released by the pitcher and to hit a dipping, curving, sliding baseball traveling ninety miles an hour is difficult if not impossible for most.  If it were easy, baseball parks would not be filled with 30,000 people, 162 games per year.

            To hit a little golf ball into a little hole takes masterful technique.  To hit a jumper from fifteen feet away with a hand in your face takes skill and rhythm.  To jump up in the air to grab a high pass while a safety or two drills you in the ribs and then have the foresight to drag you toes in bounds takes uncommon talent.  All sports take skill and hard work to become a master.  No sport is better than another sport.  There are sports that interest those that participate in a sport or are spectators.  Any sport that I can think of with the exception of Water polo if you cannot swim can be faked by a participant who is muddling through a first try but ice hockey is not one of them.

            With the Chicago Blackhawks doing as well as they have this past year or so, recreational, drop-in players have been coming out of the woodwork in Chicago.  You can always spot them as they walk in.  They have two composite sticks that cost the equivalent of what it would take Sally Struthers to feed a village in Angola for a week and there is no sign of ripped up tape or slash marks on the shaft.  Their bag is new, their socks are matching and have no holes, their skates are the same size as their street shoes, their gloves have palm, their pants are stiff as a board and they usually wear a Patrick Kane jersey from the Winter Classic.  Their first act as they are tottering like Bambi is to wind up and take a slap shot at the goal while the goalie is down on his knees stretching out or putting in the pins.  To the regulars who wear torn and worn jersey they were lent while filling in at a men’s league game from three years ago, no palm in either their left or right glove, ripped pants, socks with more holes than Swiss Cheese, chopped up holders on the outside of both skates from other skaters running into them in the corners and the smell of cat urine from the younger guys who never take their equipment out of their bags after playing.  The regulars who have played all their lives and continue to play for numerous reason, get annoyed with a brand newbians who probably loves the Cubs and Wrigley Field with all his might and during the cold winter months, have heard that there is now a professional hockey team worth watching again since about 1991 and they too want the glory of playing pick up hockey or low level men’s league.  Problem is this; if you cannot skate, you cannot play.

            For anyone who has ever gone ice skating on a field trip with school or found that Friday nights was where all the other junior high kids hang out, learn to flirt and play tag during public skating, you know that skating is not automatic.  It takes time to learn and time to master.

            For any hockey skater who has ever laughed at a male for being a figure skater and I am included on this, it is not easy to jump up and spin knowing that you have no hip or tail bone protection.  Now try doing all the spinning and jumping with some cute little thing in your arms while her overbearing mother sits with her latte in the stands, complaining how you’re not up to her daughter’s standards.  However you feel about figure skating, it is not easy and for as long as I have skated, I have never wanted to attempt a triple toe loop or whatever it is called, for the mere fact that falling and hurting my ass is inevitable and painful.

            For the football players, basketball players, baseball players and soccer players who look at Ice Hockey as some hybrid of roller derby and WWF on ice, I can assure you that it is a thinking man’s game. 

            In basketball, when a team sets up in the other team’s end, it is much like hockey.  You have five players passing and getting open.  The passing in soccer is much the same.  A Drew Brees quarterback in football is like a Nik Lidstrom in ice hockey.  They must be able to look up and know all their options and choose the right one before the pass is made.  Passes get intercepted in ice hockey and football and that is inevitable.  It is the incredible foresight to lace a pass in where it did not look possible that is a thing of beauty.

            Now lace up a pair of skates along with fifty pounds of protective gear, take a rubber disc while you skate and try to keep an opponent from taking that disc or knocking off the disc while you keep your head up, not thinking about what your hands or your feet are doing because it is imperative that you make a pass very soon before you are knocked into next week.  If you cannot skate, you cannot fake it.  You will look like the Johnny-come-lately fans in any city in North America that just so happens to be doing well.  Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Ottawa, Vancouver, Boston, Miami ( Miami?!) all have adults male and female that come to know the sport and want to play it too.  That is not a negative thing by any means.  My point is that before you can speak Portuguese, you have to learn the language and that will take time.  You cannot fake Portuguese anymore than you can fake hockey.  Until next time…  I’ll see you on the ice.