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“Alright boys, it’s game time. Get angry. Last year they made you look like little girls. Let’s show them how much we improved, and get ourselves a win!”
I was used to hearing coach’s pregame speeches, and they always got me going, but this one kicked in a little deeper. There was no way I was going to let them get the satisfaction of beating us on the ice. Even if they beat us on the scoreboard, it wouldn’t matter as long as we outplayed them and they knew it.
We charged onto the ice from coming out of the locker room while the music was blasting behind us. We started our warm ups and five minutes later we got ready to start what was going to be a very physical game.
“Devin, G, Stoff, start with Schwandty and Chewy.”
Before the puck hits the ice it is silent, and instantaneously as the puck first touches the frozen water, the noise picks up.
“Off the boards!”
“Go go go!”
Everybody was skating as fast as possible, the puck moving faster from stick to stick to stick. Everything going on out on the ice was going on so fast that if you were not used to such a fast sport, you couldn’t follow it properly.
Where is the puck? Who’s that? What?
The other team got the puck and came down ice on a two on one and they got a shot off on net but our goalie was quicker than the puck flying through the air.
Now it was my time to play. I stood at the faceoff circle waiting impatiently, while visualizing what was going to happen when the ref released the puck out of his cold hand. Smack! The puck hit the ice and then my stick. From my stick it slid across the ice to Nick behind the net and he came around and passed it up the wing to Chris, but he lost the puck and the other team was on it immediately. Their best player came out with the puck and deked around one, two, three people and fired a rocket on net. Nolan stuck out his glove and snatched it out of mid air. But as he was standing up, one of their players slashed Nolan’s wrist. And by the time he fell to the ground in pain, I had already charged in and cross-checked the person who slashed my teammate as hard as I could and he flew into the boards and onto the ice.
“Hey!” the referee screamed at me. Another player came in fast and I punched him in the facemask.
“Get off the ice right now!” I’m pretty sure if he yelled any louder at me he would have had a heart attack.
I skated off to the penalty box while the parents of the other team booed the parents of our team cheered, and the players of the other team swearing at me. And you’d think I wouldn’t reply anything, but I actually threw a few words and phrases back at them.
Now sitting down in the penalty box I glanced over to my bench and coach Tim who gave me a thumbs up and mouthed the words “Good job.” By the way he looked, I could tell he was proud that I stuck up for my teammate.
Teams bring people together whether they like it or not. During that chunk of time, even if the two people hate each other, they have to work together to make something happen; Otherwise nothing is accomplished. Teammates have each other’s back no matter what.