Something Different

February 16, 2011
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I sat with my head in my hands. My blonde hair turned to an oily black from sweat, and sixty minutes of battle on an unforgiving surface. We had just lost the game and it was my fault, and now that the game was over there was nothing I could do about it. Thoughts begin to race in my mind like it was the Indianapolis 500, and they are all of the same nature. “I should have pinched him to the wall.” “Should have kept pushing him to the wall, shouldn’t have let him gain the middle.” Thoughts that make me think of my performance as lackluster, sub pare, unimpressive, whatever negative adjective would work in this situation. Truth is, I really wish I just could have forced him to the wall.

The game was going pretty well up to that point in the third period when this nightmare began. I had utterly destroyed three of the other teams’ guys, and did it with a big smile on my face as I heard them cry out in some amount of pain. I had almost scored on a sinister snipe from the circles but just missed when the goalie made a miraculous save, and truthfully to this day it haunts me. Yes, everything was pretty well; I was in a flow a groove, executing everything like a well oiled machine without even thinking. It was all read and react. Puck in deep? No problem just clear up the wall, high off the glass. Chipping off the boards? Alright, adjust my angle, no problem. Three on two? Sweet, just stay in the middle, and force the puck to the wall, seems simple enough. Yes the game was going smoothly and I was playing calm and confident, I had an edge that was mean and almost on the edge of uncontrolled violence against my opponent.

Then the buzzer signaled the start of the third period. The puck was dropped and the sound of skates digging into ice was graceful and violent, and then the black rubber disk glided to the opposing fore checker. He came swooping down the wall, trying to gain the middle of the ice, but I wouldn’t give it to him, if he tried I would surely knock him into a coma, but I can’t say that for my partner. He finally realized the middle wasn’t available and quickly slid the puck to a teammate. My partner was nowhere to be found and the game was all the sudden tied. About twenty seconds later the same story. Forced to the wall, cuts to the middle, put a body on, release; let my partner take the man on his side, all standard procedure. Except my partner didn’t take care of the man. I just should have poked that puck away, it would have stopped everything. If I had just kept forcing him up the wall, he would have taken a bad angle shot and this game would still be tied. It wasn’t tied though instead the game was 4-3 and time was running out.

With time running out, I made one last ditch effort to put my stamp on the game. With the puck on my stick, I put on the jets, and speed up the ice, faster and faster, the ice crystals spraying up behind me as my blades molest the surface. Head up, body down low, puck on my stick ready to throw a nasty dangle. Almost to the net, and then the puck rolls off my stick. What luck right? Then the game ended, and they were celebrating and we were the losers this time. So as I made my way back to the locker room, my head down in disbelief and disappointment, I desperately wish that I could have just forced the man to the wall.





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