Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas


 At this time of year we can lose track of what its all about. I almost lost sight of this last year. Life is busy and December can be even busier and in the running around and shopping and wrapping and preparing and last Christmas, well, I wasn't all bah hambug but I certainly felt worn down by it all. I enjoyed the day, its impossible not to when you have three little ones, but the leadup was an unpleasant grind.

 This year is no less busy, if anything its busier. Jenn has taken on new responsibilities at work which have squeezed things even tighter when it comes to time and sometimes it seems like there's no moment to breathe. Except ...

 I don't know if its the fact that I am getting older(turned 45 last week) but I think it is. I'm not 'old' by any stretch but I'm aware that I am now closer to 50 than to 40, if only by days (and how the fuck did that happen?) and I'm quite aware of, what is it, my own mortality? Sounds crazy and don't get me wrong, I'm not thinking of buying a Porsche (not that I could afford one) or having an affair with a neighbour (who has the time!?) nor for that matter am I sitting by the window looking at the moon thinking maudlin thoughts. I'm just ... aware of it.

 I've always enjoyed myself. I've always enjoyed the moment. It just seems that these days I've gotten a tighter grasp on this idea. Call it wisdom. Call is desperation ;) But things are good. They've always been good but they're even better now. The white noise, the grind, the little nags, these are all fading into the background, as they should.

 And so this Christmas season, despite the grind, has been a wonderful one, filled with parties, food and drink, laughing with friends, playing hockey, having a grand time. The kids are beside themselves with excitement at what comes tomorrow and I'm a lucky lucky man to have three healthy young ones.

 For those of you who drop by here now and then I want to wish you the merriest of Christmases. Celebrate! Eat, drink, spend time with your family and your friends. Laugh.

 The very best of the season to you all.

Pat

Monday, December 17, 2012

Glory Twice Over



Hey there how are you doing, well that's great, glad to hear, yeah I'm doing well thanks for asking.

Its been a hectic few weeks here, after that quick spurt (heh) of activity in November I thought I was getting back on that blogging horse but as always life has gotten busy and so the old interweb blogsite has had to take a backseat. I have next week off though so maybe I'll write up a few. If I'm not too drunk.

Drunk.

When last we checked on our greying balding gut ever expanding loveable losers at Capsule things had been riding a wave made up of the blood of their vanquished opponents. We were firmly ensconced in the top four of our beer league division. Two of the teams below us had picked up some new players which had boosted their fortunes so these were early days but things were going well going into a four game stretch which included games against the top two teams as well as doubleheader against a club which had gone from getting smoked every game to suddenly beating everyone in sight thanks to the addition of a couple of guys who were ripping it up.

So a test of whether we were for real or not or if this was going to be another mediocre season in a history of mediocre seasons.

After two games we were failing. Not terribly, both games could have gone either way. We lost to the up and comers on a standout performance by their goaltender and then we lost to the first place team, undefeated so far, on an outstanding effort by one of their guys out of nowhere with just minutes left ended up being the winner.

Still two losses are two losses and one of our top Dmen gone for the next two games. Two more lossed and we'd be at .500. Mediocrity thy name is Capsule.

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First we had our rematch at the revamped Maple Leaf Gardens two weeks ago. We came out slowly and ninety seconds in we were somehow down two. We dragged ourself back to a tie only to watch them pot two more thanks to great individual efforts by their big guns.

So with seven minutes we were staring at a third straight loss and being a single game over .500.

And then our best player, who had scored once already, took over. He's the youngest guy on our team, an absolute horse, a Hossa type, big and strong and overpowering. He brought us within one and then with a few minutes left he tied it up and it looked like we would at least get a point.

 And then with less than a minute left a flurry from them, a shot hit our goalie high and popped up in the air and behind him, teetering on the goalline while our keeper went down, swimming like a madman and our two D tried to clear the puck while boxing out their frantic forwards flailing madly at the victory just inches away. One of our guys chipped it into the corner, averting disaster. In the ensuing battle his partner came away with the puck and wheeled behind the net and as he did our centre sped out of the zone, heading up the left wing. Hard up the boards and onto his stick and down his off wing your man roared, a defenceman backpedalling furiously before him.

 The wrister, the goalie screened, the puck in the net, seventeen seconds left.

 A month ago or so we had scored to take a lead with a minute left and seconds later we had lost it and so I admonished one of our D to make sure (we had both been in the ice for that failure), he smirked and moments later we had broken up their last thrust before it entered our zone and he sent the puck the length of the ice into the empty net.

 After the game the chatter was hyper, grown men happy as boys, the hero saying this past weekend that that night when he went out he had immediately told the story to his companions, one of whom he had never met, thinking halfway through 'what the hell am I doing?' and then continuing:

 So tonight we were playing at Maple Leaf Gardens ....

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 A week later, this past weekend now, and we were facing the second place team. Our only meeting this season had ended in a 0-0 tie when an unfortunate accident ended the game prematurely.

 A win and we're two points out of second. A loss and we might not catch them.

 We scored early and so the game stayed for the longest time as things slowly got uglier and uglier. Their best player is the biggest man I have ever played, at one point after I was pushed into the boards and I got up in a rage he stood between my assailant (who was sincerely apologetic) and I and the sun was blotted out as I stared at his ribcage smouldering. He threw two of our men down in separate incidents but when one of our guys held his ground (although admittedly dropping his shoulder when the collision came) he charged over shouting about body contact.

 Yeah it was one of those. A player from each team tossed and barking from both teams and otherwise a pretty good game as they tied it midway through the last period.

 And then a minute thirty nine left somehow a man left out front and the puck behind our goalie and the centreman, the most laconic guy on our club, who meets every jibe and poke with a quiet shrug (he has two teenage daughters so maybe its just exhaustion?) and has never raised his voice or stick in anger, smashed his Sherwood over the crossbar in a rage. Our opponents celebrated as if they had just won the Cup.

 As I readied myself for the draw the ref admonished us 'ok now lets try and play this last 1:39 like gentlemen alright'.

 Our best player, sucking wind, lugged the puck through the neutral zone, barrelling through hooks and slashes and getting it deep. Their big man fired it high and hard up the left side but our blue gloved it down and fired it back in as our goalie raced to the bench. They rung it around the other way but there was no winger and so our left D picked it off and with time straddled the line, easing into a lane and wafting a high wrister. After the game he laughed that it was going three feet wide but what happened is it hit one of us in front of the net in the shoulder and bounced into the net as we shouted.

 Back to centre and this time they gained our blueline and suddenly their big man activated, charging into our zone, calling for it. For the majority of the game they had been looking to get it on his stick and now he rushed in, looking to end it, and their winger telegraphed it all the way and floated it into the middle of our zone, behind buddy, off our winger's stick, past their Dman who had just collided with said winger and fallen.

 And the puck skittered out into the neutral zone and Ben (our big winger), exhausted, pounced on it and raced the other way with their centre in pursuit. The length of the ice they charged and Ben went backhand and the keeper sprawled to stop him and did so but our other winger, who had scored the equalizer moments before, picked up the loose puck and flicked a backhand over the fallen goalie into the top corner. As he turned he gave me a sardonic smirk as I leapt into his arms roaring. (He later said he thought I was rubbing it as revenge for their own celebration. The reality is I'm just a goof who needs a life ;) )

 And so Capsule sits pretty now, halfway done, 7-3-1, lofty heights we haven't seen in years.

 Glory days for these oldtimers. *rubs gut, drinks*