Rock-em, Sock-em Hockey

October 23, 2008
Marty was dazed on the ride home from his hockey game. The heat flew into his face as the sweat on his shirt dried up. He was tired, but still excited from his victory. The Rangers were 8-0 after the win.

“Terry is a good defender, He’s pretty small though. I don’t know if he is going to be able to help you guys next year, or even in the playoffs this year,” said Mr. Tucker.

“I guess so. Our offense is good enough to carry us though, as long as the defense doesn’t give up a goal more than once a period we should be fine,” Marty continued. “I’m kind of hungry, can we stop and get some food,” he asked. “Some Cheesy Eddy’s burgers and fries would hit the spot right now.”

“Sure,” his dad said. “You did have a great game.”

They had to stop, and Marty and his dad bought a couple of orders of burgers and fries. They finished eating and drove back home, about five minutes away. Marty felt awkward talking to his dad about anything except hockey now, he had slipped into a negative period after he lost his job.

Mr. Tucker had been an office manager at a small, locally-owned business that went under. Marty knew that his dad wasn’t going to have a huge backlash, but he still wasn’t very sociable and the way he handled his problems weren’t always healthy.

After a quick shower, Marty fell straight into bed when he got home. He got as much rest as he could before his next game in two days. He forgot to do some of his homework, but he could finish it up before school. Marty wasn’t the most popular kid at school, he played hockey for one of the less known teams, but one of the better ones. He kept to himself during class, but got himself out of his shell during gym and recess.

Marty got through the next two days and raced home after school to get in a nap before the game. He was a bigger name on his team, but quiet in the locker room. However, he was good at firing up his teammates, he liked to lead by example. Everyone arrived at around the same time and started to prepare for the 5-3 Trojans. They taped their sticks and sharpened their blades.

The game looked good for the Rangers on paper, but on average each Trojan player was 15 pounds heavier than Marty’s team. The Rangers looked past that and saw only the final score, a stepping stone to their dream of a perfect season.

The game started, and within 8 minutes of the first period, the Rangers had gone up 2 to 0. The second period rolled around and as each time tired more points were put up, but the Rangers still led 5 to 2. Marty was taken out for a few minutes to get his legs refreshed. When he came back in, the Rangers had hung up another point on them, infuriating the Trojans. Most teams just flopped at this point and rolled over, but the Trojans stuck around.
Marty knew that scoring one more point on them, would be the final nail in the casket. He went to pass to his teammate with an open shot on the goal, but his teammate was hit in the back. The Rangers had a power play with one of the Trojans players sitting in the penalty box. He went down and was about to shoot, but he got nailed in what he thought was the back, the referees called it the side. He was getting angrier and couldn’t focus on the game as well.
Coach Phillips called a timeout, but Marty couldn’t pay attention he was so filled with distress. He tried to get refocused as play started back up. Marty went down and had another open shot, he swung his stick back and was clocked in the back, he fell on his face and his helmet flew off. An eruption was set off in him and he got right back up, threw the Trojan defender’s helmet off and started swinging. The fight went on for about 45 seconds before the refs called it dead. Marty and the other player were both ejected from the game.
Marty had a bloody nose, a fat lip, a bruised cheek and a missing tooth, but everyone knew the Trojans’ player had gotten it worse and had to be helped off the ice.
Marty had to go to the emergency room, he was a little roughed up but the coaches thought it would be best if he were checked out. On the way out, they saw the other kid and his father walking out too.
“Marty, I’m going to do something that you should never do, but once I do it, you and me need to run like hell,” Mr. Tucker said.
Marty looked up at his dad confused, but had an idea that what was about to happen wasn’t going to be good for anyone. Mr. Tucker ran over and sucker-punched the other dad in the face.
“Teach your kid to play with some respect and not cheap shot other people,” Mr. Tucker yelled. His face turned red as he and Marty ran out, Mr. Tucker was so embarrassed. And it wasn’t even that he sucker punched the dad, but what he said after was so hypocritical.
Mr. Tucker tried to joke with Marty about what had happened. He asked if he knew what he wanted for Christmas yet, if he had been lying to Mr. Tucker through his teeth and the whole corny assortment of jokes he could think of.
“There’s a smile,” he finally said. “Or at least I think it is, I can’t really tell.”
Marty smiled back and they joked about other things and finally got to talking about how school was going while in the waiting room. Mr. Tucker found some pride as he talked to his son and regained his courage, even though it was there before, just hidden.
Mr. Tucker got employed by his son’s league as an official, and now is working for the Colorado State Youth Hockey League as a ruler maker. Marty is playing on his High School team, starting on offense as a sophomore with that same who’s who attitude.

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