Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Game. Winning. GOOOOOOAAAAAALLLLLLL!

Corrina should enjoy this....so I'm up at the park throwing a puck around, taking my precious moments off from my 5 jobs to perfect my tough-angle shots (far to either side of the net) and ringing the posts, as always (YOU try hitting the front three posts of a hockey net with a puck from 15 feet away and tell me how easy it isn't). I'd been out there for a couple hours, working up a nice sweat, just about ready to call it a day when 5 more guys show up. I HAVE to stay now. For weeks I've been up there and no one shows. Opportunity is knocking, and I gotta get the door.

They amble over to the benches and start getting their gear on while I keep trying (and failing) to ring the posts audibly to intimidate them with my not-skill. They decided we should all play together, if for no other reason than 3-on-3 was fair teams. Puck or ball? We end up going ball. This alone should mess me up cuz the feel of shooting with a ball is very different from the puck I'd spent the last two hours (not to mention the previous two WEEKS) practicing with. Plus, all of these guys had to have been at least 5 years younger than me. I felt I might be in trouble, but cast out all thoughts of performance anxiety, says me.

So we start. We throw sticks to decide teams at random. My team wins the first faceoff. We score the first goal (we're playing three-post, as described earlier, to present at least some challenge in lieu of actual goalies). Things are looking good. Then I take a semi-hard backwards tumble after getting tangled up with another player. It's not the fall that hurt; it's when my stick struck my right shin on the way down (I'm icing it as I write this). I've got a nice goose egg of a shiner on there now, and I skate gimpy for a few minutes. On top of that, the other team finds their stride and comes back to beat us 5-1 in five straight goals/posts. I had an assist on the one goal we DID get, but that wasn't much of a boost considering the sound thrashing we'd just taken.

We break for water and to cool down. The skeeters are biting. After a few minutes we decide to go at it again, same teams, same everything, despite some debate about changing in the face of our previous ass-kicking.

But it wasn't the same. Something changed. We got in their faces more. We didn't hang back and wait for the play to develop and read things after they start happening. One of my teammates feeds it over to me, shot, DING off the post. Score. We're up 1-0.

One of my other guys scores. Now we're up 2-0. Then the other team starts to get into the groove again and posts one, we get one more, they get one more, we get one more. Now we're up 4-2, game point. I strip the ball off one of their players and am GONE. Clean breakaway, shot, (don't get your hopes up yet) DING, but it was contested because it hit the ground at almost the same time it hit the post. Rule says it has to be in the air when it hits the post. I let it slide, we were still up 4-2, but I said "Okay, well I guess I'll just have to do it again." They all sorta chuckled, they take the ball, and we go at it for probably another 10 minutes with no score despite several shots by both teams.

Then it happened. JUST like it happened the time before. Stripped the ball off the same guy and took off. One of their guys managed to keep pace with me, but just barely (it's all about the legs, ladies). I pushed hard to stay ahead of him, and was heading toward the corner, which is always a bad place to be nearing at high speed. I thought, "I don't want to die today. I want to score a mofoing goal." So I turn hard, my feet almost at the red line (look at a hockey rink; it's the line that runs across the ice right in front of the goal; shooting from the red line is THE hardest angle to get one in from). Turn and rip it, just in front of the guy about to clobber me, and DING off the FAR POST HOLY SHIT. To the unenlightened, not only did I score from the toughest angle in hockey, but on the narrowest slice of available real estate. WHO'S THE MASTA, LEEROY?

So I drove home just in time to clock in for work, pretty damn proud of my 4-point game. Two goals, two assists, including a no-look behind-the-back pass to center as I was going behind the net to one of my teammates who proceeded to ring the post with it. That's highlight reel shit. So needless to say, despite feeling pretty gross right now (I desperately need a shower....anyone wanna help?), I'm also pretty damn happy with myself, thank you very much.

We joked a little after the last goal. I said, "Does THAT one count?" knowing full well there's no way they could challenge it. They pretended to anyway. "Yeah, you didn't have both feet on the ground" and "It was too high on the post" and other things, but we all had a good time. They said we might play again Thursday night, if my leg heals up in time.

Then again, it's hockey. I'll play injured just to play, dammit. WHO'S WITH ME??

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