Scott's Soapbox

Thursday, March 29, 2007

We Won The Hockey League!

We squeaked into the playoffs by finishing 7-4-1 and claiming fourth in a 12 team league. Our reward? A doubleheader to decide the championship. First up, the #1 seed, a 12-0-0 team. That had beaten us twice this season, including our heartbreaker last week. They scored 46 goals, only giving up 16 this year. Had won 26 straight games. The first shift, after feeling so stiff in warm-ups from my back I knew I was in trouble, I went to make a turn and pop! I'm down, I am crawling back to the bench, my back is just on fire. Our leading goal scorer down- do we fold?

No, it's complete domination for us Chili Dogs. We are shelling them...it's 1-0, then 3-1, they are arguing amongst themselves...they have not even trailed in a game in 2 seasons. I am trying to stretch, trying to play. I cannot bend over, can barely skate, but I am playing literally through my tears of pain. Brad (my line-mate and our co-best player with me) has two goals and then swings with the puck around circling behind the net. Using my patented move, he stops, twirls and throws it out the back side against his body and momentum, fooling everyone. Everyone except me, who knows it's coming. It's on my stick for a millisecond, then it is just pured into the top corner. I mean, I just crushed this puck. 4-1. Game over...we win 5-2 but it's not even that close. 3 points for me. Afterwards they, being totally class guys, come up to all of us and say how well we played, how we deserved it, et cetera. They wish us luck in the next game.

We get to sit now and watch the other semi-final. I take 4 Advil, stretch the whole time and cannot sit down because it stiffens. I am lying there with ice bags on my back wondering how much more I can do. It's game 2 against the victorious number 2 seed- they have lost only twice and outscored their opponents 52-21. They also lead the league (by far) in penalty minutes. It should be a chippy, dirty game.

I call the team in before the game starts, cautious that people are so excited we beat the best team that they may be looking past this next game. "Guys, what is the prize for second place in our league? The t-shirt? The picture on the web?" Blank faces. "No, it's jack shit. Nobody remembers second place. We're forty minutes from the whole thing, let's go." It's over before it even starts. 1-0 on a fluke, then 2-0 on a deflected shot from the point. Their goalie is standing on his head, or could easily be 5 or 6 by now. He stones me on a breakaway, Brad on a pure 2-1, and makes a circus catch behind him on a one-timer. Our team is passing, moving without the puck and it's like I have them on strings putting them in place. They are frustrated, slashing, hooking, holding, doing anything, and finally score late to make it 2-1. Brad and I call a change- no way we're not going out to finish this game. Under a minute left, they move it back to the point to their best player- he winds up a takes a huge slap shot. Nothing to do but block it with the palm of my hand. Crack- yep, that sounds broken- no padding there, but we clear the zone. I am hunched over with my back, holding my stick in my right hand as I cannot flex my left- got me right on the inner thumb. They take another shot near the buzzer and the rebound goes right to their biggest (and dirtiest) player. He's got an empty net, time running out, he turns to the front...and I hit him as hard as I could hit him in my new car. Of course, it's a no check league, but time's almost over, right. My shoulder hits him and he (must be 230 pounds) literally lifts off the ground and crashes into the boards. I am standing over him as a result of my momentum, he is just lying there motionless, crumpled into a little fetal ball.

Buzzer. Celebration. Champions.

Man, hockey's great. I can barely walk because of my back (chiro at 10:30 tomorrow), my thumb is swollen up and sore, my legs burn.

Totally worth it.

1 Comments:

  • Scott, I know very little about hockey, but you described it so well that I could almost see it!! Congratulations!! Hurrah! Now that the season is over, I hope you have recovered the use of your thumb AND that your back is "back" in!!!

    By Anonymous Elaine ( Your Dad's cousin), at 1:24 PM  

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