Thursday, November 09, 2006

Past the Pain

It’s alright…once you get past the pain…Pablo Cruise’s late 70’s tune is stuck in my head on the walk from work to home. I have no idea why this song is renting space in my head; it wasn’t one of my favorites, and I can’t remember the last time I heard it on the radio.

Yet, as I reflect upon this Thursday, the lyrics have been drifting in and out of my consciousness all day, perhaps as a universal message reminding me to trust that things—my workload in the training department, my performance as an AMHL Capital, the NHL Bruins’ fortunes—will improve.

I played terrible this morning—must have been a minus-5—and nothing seemed to go our way. I was so bad on defense that in the third period and losing badly to the Bruins, I pulled myself from the back line support corps to play forward.

Sure I made a couple nice plays on D, had a few shots on goal, but it was one of those mornings that the harder I tried, the worse the results were. In the first period, I hustled back to retrieve a loose puck along the back boards feeling the pressure of a forechecking forward who lifted my stick as I was about to touch the puck. He bounced off me, into the boards, and went down on the ice (I didn’t have any intention of making contact him, hard to believe as that may be). Penalty, my second of the morning. The Bruins scored on the subsequent power play.

In the second period, I dove, face first, to block a shot. The puck zoomed beneath me and then past my screened goalie. Goal. Damn it!

In the third, I had skated hard on a couple of shifts at forward, heading for the net when I didn’t have the puck and backchecking as hard as I could on an empty tank. I returned to the bench. Ruaaaaaaah! I almost wretched.

Not much was going right for me or for the team. Disconsolate on the bench as we were doomed to lose, 2–7, I was a bundle of negative energy.

After showering and then putting my gear in the back of Chris, “Donut Boy” Howell’s truck, however, the moments of self-doubt and self-imposed shame subsided because the headless golf club on the truck bed reminded me of the time two or three years ago that a few of us AMHLers played golf after our morning hockey game. I didn’t have golf clubs, so I borrowed them from Howell. We brought a few leftover Powdered Sugar Munchkins for warm-up swings on one of the holes on the front nine, thumping the little treasures into the air and splattering sugar onto the green grass. On the back nine, using the club now in Donut Boy’s truck, I struck a real golf ball, and the head removed itself from the shaft as the ball flew toward the hole. Laughter! Best part of the day so far.

At work, I had a little bit of a headache, which flares up every once in a while after playing hockey, but it subsided after half an hour. The rest of the day was alright, once I got past that pain.

And now that I’m home, I’m confident my performance will improve next week against the Stars and that the Boston Bruins, skating on home ice, will bounce back from a disappointing outing against the Atlanta Thrashers to defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight.
Post a Comment