Sunday, October 26, 2008

On the Shelf, Part V: Just in Time

“…Nothing hurting. Nothing sore. No one suffers anymore. The doctor’s found a simple cure. Just in time.”

-“When I am I King
Great Big Sea

I miss playing hockey but am trying to count my blessings. The hockey and donut gods (I bet at least fifty percent live in Canada) have followed me more closely than they usually do, perhaps because the lower body injury I incurred six weeks ago is taking its own sweet time in healing. The deities haven’t cured my torn and tender iliopsoas but have delivered other extraordinary gifts.

On October 4th, the AMHL Photographer (a.k.a. my wife) and I watched the Bruins lose to the Islanders, and then we took the Green Line to the Theater District. We went to a comedy show, and a donut fight broke out. Almost. The warm-up dude (dude because he’s from California) for TV’s Craig Ferguson mentioned Krispy Kreme. I heard myself boo. And I wasn’t the only one. We caught him off guard, but the comedian recovered, joking that the audience was coming after him with “pitchforks and torches.”

On October 16th, Fort Collins’s Mr. Hockey (a.k.a. my dad) arrived from Colorado. The next morning, with my wife behind the wheel, we drove to Ottawa. We watched, from section 106, Row D (two rows behind the B’s bench) the Bruins beat the Senators, 4–2. The $176.00 (per seat) was a splurge but well worth it if only for providing a close-up view of Aaron Ward’s mouthpiece. After conducting extensive undercover ops, we returned to Boston—to watch a hockey game on October 20th.

The Bruins, in their home opener, would lose to the Penguins in a shootout, but to watch Mark Stuart during the pre-game ceremony was priceless. In numerical order, Bruin after Bruin heard his name announced and then glided to the blue line. Stuart, (Number 45) watched Aaron Ward (Number 44) embark for the blue line as Stuart waited for his turn. “Number 46, David Krejci.” Stuart, still waiting in the tunnel, shrugged his shoulders and then walked to the back of the line…“Number 91, Marc Savard.” Before the house lights came on and the smoke machine was dissembled, though, Stuart (unannounced) stepped on to the ice and raised his stick to acknowledge the cheering crowd. Then he joined his guffawing teammates.

My own teammates were in the locker room this Thursday morning when, for the first time in six weeks, I was on the ice, a stick in my hands and a helmet on my head. After a few tentative clockwise twirls around Rink Two and then a few counter-clock wise rings around the center face-off circle, I returned to the scene of my injury. Backwards, I crossed my left foot over my right and then vice-versa. No pain. I retrieved a puck, aimed for the seam in the boards, and then wristed a shot toward the target. Right on.

On Friday night, my wife and I and two non-hockey friends were at the Orpheum Theatre for a Great Big Sea show. We listened to front man Alan Doyle segue from one song to another. Boston is a great hockey town, he said, and “Helmethead” is a great hockey song.

“Helmethead,” “When I am King”…they’re Something Beautiful, and they came just in time. “Lucky Me.” Amen.
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