Sunday, March 16, 2008

AMHL Thursday: Wings

“What’s on your iPod?” George Morton asks me on the drive from Concord Valley Sports to Maynard (MA).

Clapton? Meat Loaf? The Beatles?

I don’t tell George about Alberta's Paul Brandt, whose song “I’m Gonna Fly” was stuck in my head thirty minutes before my game against Aaron Sherman and the Bruins.

Early in the first period a Bruins’ defenseman fell down near center ice. Avalanche left wing Scott Harvey snared the loose puck and flew past the D-man.


But then Sherman took control. He snuck up the middle on breakaways and waited for pucks to ping-pong right to him—just before he would tuck them past or slap them over my goalie..

With less than five minutes in the game, the Bruins were looking like the Red Wings. They led 8–2, but Sherman’s squad showed no mercy.

Brent Delehey had the puck in his own zone, scanning the ice for break-out options. His left-winger was along the boards, fewer than five feet in front of me and about a foot to my right. I was poised to intercept a pass if he angled toward center, so instead he charged straight ahead.

Because Aaron Sherman was scoring points like he was Kevin Garnett, I figured I’d draw the charging foul. I was conflicted about playing the body in a no-check league, but I couldn’t help myself.

I planted myself in his path. Wham!

Sherm flattened me. The ref blew his whistle and then ordered both of us to serve two minutes.

Aaron argued. Loudly. Make that four minutes for the Sherminator.

Forty-five minutes later, in the donut room, I placed my right arm on his back and my hand on his shoulder. “I love you, man.” (Translation: Do you forgive me?)

“Jimmy,” he says is a soft tone, “You drive me insane.” (Translation: It’s hockey, so you’re forgiven.)

George Morton isn’t so magnanimous when I tell him what’s on my iPod.

Gloria Estefan. A little country and a little rock ‘n’ roll but no Donnie and Marie. Anne Murray.

I grab my hockey gear from the back of his Subaru and sing, “Could I have this dance for the rest of my life…”

He laughs, not knowing that ten minutes later, as I walk to work Annie’s, “Snowbird” (duet with Sarah Brightman) is streaming into my ear buds.

“Spread your tiny wings and fly away…”

Perfect. I play it again so it might be stuck in my head all day.
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