Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Girl On The Stairs


When we were in senior year of high school our weekends generally went as follows. Fridays were THE night out. By Tuesday or Wednesday the plans were made. We might go to a one of the rare dances at our school or our sister school or at one of the many ethnic halls (we had a buddy who ran a dance almost weekly at wherever he could book - Croatian, Polish, Serbian). During hockey season we'd go watch our team pulverize their opposition - they were OFSAA bronze medallists four years running, including our senior year - and then head to the afterparty. Or we would go to a house party at one of the gang's. When we went to the ethnic halls it was our own small group, about a half dozen of us, in other cases there was a wider group of twenty five to thirty guys or more, plus the same number of girls from our sister school plus a handful of folks from other schools. And each week we'd get some fellows come in from the outlying towns or some others who we would see every few weeks, drifting in and out of our circle.

Saturday nights we'd usually get together, maybe with a few beers, watch the hockey game, play some cards. Sometimes that would be the night but other nights the phone would ring (this was long before cell phones) and someone on the other end would say that something might be happening and then we might make a couple of calls and we'd wait a while and if we were in luck the phone owuld ring again and one of the guys or girls would have their house for the night or there might be another party that popped up somewhere, perhaps someone we might not even know, and so we'd make a couple more calls and it usually meant that the guy who ran the Friday parties would come on over, he was ready to go after a Friday night of working. His name was Bruno and he had a big van and the look of a grown man and so he'd come and pick us up and we'd go and he'd buy beer or rye or whatever our poison was that night and then we'd go careening through the snowpacked streets until we found our destination.

We'd pile out of the van and into the place and we'd find our crew, usually in the kitchen, and you'd crack a beer and wander around and if you ever saw Dazed and Confused, the pool hall scene, well that's how I remember it. You'd go for a walk in the smoke and beer smell of the place, nodding at some, shaking hands with others, Sudbury's a big small town and so you knew everyone or at least knew their faces enough to say hello.

I was just a regular little dude back then, not so lucky with the ladies but I was pretty well liked I think. I was a bit of Joe OffWhite even then but then again a lot of teenagers are. We had a lot of good times, we'd drink a lot and smoke some and there was usually a joint or two passed around.

(One of the guys always was smoking up. One time we were sitting in a sauna (not on mind you) getting high and he told us that the reason his folks had sent him to our school (it was a Catholic private all boys) was to keep him away from the drugs at Sudbury Sec. We had a good laugh about that because a) we smoked a lot and b) he invariably ended up passing out in a closet or under a bed or somewhere else private a couple of hours into any night we were out. Buddy is a wildly successful businessman last I heard.)

There were two girls who we used to see about once a month or two. They were from Secondary and they didn't really travel in our circles but as I said, smalltown, so we'd see them now and then. Both were gorgeous, tall and blonde, and they cultivated a bored above it all look. I remember coming back from University my first year for Thanksgiving and of course someone organized a gettogether and so we all met at one of the guy's houses (iirc it was one of the fellows who stayed in town) and had a few beers and compared notes on our first six weeks away from home. It was the usual crew and it was a good time and amongst the crowd were these two girls, I can still remember them, why I don't know, they were both sitting on the stairs coming down into the basement, long legged in jeans, both barefoot, hair teased out in that eighties style, both looking as bored as can be.

I don't think I even ever said hello to them. Out of my league.

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So its a few years later now and I'm at a party in Toronto and all of a sudden one of my buddies who is from North Bay (we Northerners stick together) comes over with a buddy from his hometown who goes to York and with him is a girl who goes to York and its one of the girls from the stairs. And I'm a bit older and a lot more confident and probably somewhat drunk and so we strike up a conversation and I have her laughing and next thing you know she is asking me if I want to go out sometime.

Um, yeah!

We're talking the highschool dream realized here.

And so we go out and you know what?

That was it.

I never called her again.

Apparently that blank face wasn't haughty boredom. It was just that there was nobody home, like when they show what Homer is thinking and its nothing but Meowmeowmeowmeowmeowmeowmeowmeow.

Its like a girl we know back on the Island. She is beautiful and smart and funny but as an exboyfriend said she may be perfect on paper but she's a mental case.

Perfect on paper.

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I love Ales Hemsky. Love him. He's not a perfect player but nobody is. On a team that has been both bad and boring for years now he has been neither. He is brilliant. He is tough. He is the one player on the Oilers right now who can win a game singlehandedly and along with Tom Gilbert and Ryan Whitney he is the only guy in his prime on a team full of kids.

I was against trading Dustin Penner. I have always been against trading Ales Hemsky as long as his new deal isn't ridiculous. A healthy Ales Hemsky will bring futures, again. A contending team isn't going to trade a top four dman for him. If they trade him they will be a weaker team. Guaranteed.

Keep your good players I have always said. Keep them. You can never have too many good players, however many sexy kids are in the pipeline. Ales Hemsky is a very good player and he is the type of player who can contribute to a championship team in a meaningful way.

And Ales Hemsky has injury issues, specifically his shoulders. In the first game of the season and the first period of the second game, he was the best Oiler, the guy who stirred the drink, who led a dynamic first line that was running roughshod over the opposition.

Before the end of the first period of that second game he had to leave because of shoulder pain. He has not been on the ice since.

There was no big hit, no crash into the boards, no crazy torquing of his skinny frame by Robin Reghyr. The tipping point may have been a crossice pass.

It may be nothing, it may just be a little precaution until they see what happens with the MRI, in fact it may just be residual soreness and the club is being careful for once. He may miss tonight and be back out for their next game.

Or he may be done for an extensive period of time.

And if that is the case then can they really sign the guy? I doubt that he could get a longterm deal anywhere so perhaps a one year deal might work, its not like the Oilers have cap issues anyhow.

But really if this is it, if he's going to be gone for months then the truth of the matter is they can't really afford to give him money or term and that breaks my heart. He's a wonderful wonderful player. Here's hoping that its a bump in the road and he plays eighty one games this seaosn and they sign him forever and a day.

But sadly likely not the case.

10 comments:

Olaf Peacock said...

I will remember the goal in the pic forever. What an incredible moment.

Never thought we'd win that game or series, and when it happened...holy crap.

Murat said...

Two weeks, Hemsky says, and his shoulder is fine, he says.

I say please, for the love of all things Oil, please let that be true.

Pat: Some perfect Sunday evening reading right here. The perfect mix of relateable, accessible prose and keen insight. I think we all have our gorgeous yet vapid lessons learned in our histories. Hopefully Hemsky turns out to be the "went through a phase but turned out just fine" type.

Swabbubba said...

Let's not bury the guy yet. Lets see what the MRI shows. For all we know he shoulder pads don fit right and he has deep bruise. After watching last night's game I wondering about Hordichuk. You know everytime it looks like the Oilers are gonna go on a roll... they get a injury or two and wheels fly off.
Saw your comments on Horcoff he plays a fine D game and faceoffs but seems to not want to go to tough areas anymore. I think the the C is for cursed on his uni

Black Dog said...

Olaf - yeah that was the greatest for sure, only thing better would be a Cup winner

Black Dog said...

Murat - thanks for the kind words

Yes here's hoping that he just rushed it. WOuld be great if that's the case. And really I think if it were playoffs he'd be playing but they're just being cautious

Swabb - well they've certainly had some goofy injury shit go down over the last number of years if you want to talk about curses. Apparently Eager and Whitney may be about ready so that will help.

I think Horcoff has been quite good so far and I see him in the corners and along the boards. Lost his man Saturday night though.

Certainly his faceoff work has been terrific

Murat said...

Gregor just tweeted that if EDM wins tonight, they'll give Whitney until Thursday to heal but if they lose he might play in Calgary.

I'd say there's your proof decisions don't tend to get made with the player's best health in mind. I'm not blaming the GM, coach or player because I know there are reasons any or all of them could want a player to rush back. That said, I'm still saying it's stupid. Just my two cents.

Black Dog said...

Agree with that Murat

Bruce said...

That was Gregor's own theory, as he said on the radio a time or ten yesterday. Since then:

a) Oilers won
b) Oilers announce Whitney will play tonight.

So much for theories.

Bruce said...

We might go to a one of the rare dances at our school or our sister school

This sentence caught my eye because of the typo. Not pointing it out to be an asshole, but to comment on how very rarely I and my proofreading eye ever catch one on this site. Accepting the occasional run-on sentence as being conversational in tone and simply part of your style, I must compliment you on how clean your writing is.

Well, not exactly clean, you understand.

Oh, and then there was this one:

Saturday nights we'd usually get together, maybe with a few beers, watch the hockey game, play some cards.

"maybe"?? OK, now you're just lying.

Black Dog said...

Bruce - yeah so much for theories eh? And Whitney easing in tonight and now the icetime piling up after two periods.

As for the typo God I'd figure there'd be more. I take pride in it but am a little out of gas these days,

As for maybe, yeah, we were 17 or 18 after all ;)