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Just Off-Camera

"They respect you if you write. The dumber the world gets, the more the words matter." -Dan Jenkins


Sunday, March 07, 2004

I Love This Game!

"Hi, I'm Alex..."

"Hi, Alex."

"...And I'm a Hockey Dork."

I went to the Springfield Falcons game last night, by myself, because I am a Hockey Dork and I had nothing better to do, so I figured, hey, it's only a 50-minute drive, why not go see some minor-league hockey on the cheap?

It was time and money well-spent. AHL hockey isn't the prettiest sight, but the games I've seen always make for fun viewing, because the players play hard and they play with grit. Unlike the NHL, where a lot of players coast through the 82-game season, the AHL players aren't playing to reach the playoffs. They're playing to get themselves noticed and to get the call to the Big Time.

So players go flying around the ice and deliver some punishing hits, because they don't know if the guy at their position on the big club turned an ankle tonight. Maybe there will be a sudden need, and if Jim Minorleaguer is playing well, then he'll get the call.

Can't score? No problem, you can impress the brass with your fighting skills. Maybe the big club's star player is complaining about clutching and grabbing and the parent team needs an enforcer.

There were 83 total penalty minutes in the game last night, including three fights. These were good fights, too - the jerseys were off, the elbow pads were off, and the players were swinging away. The funny part about the fights was that as soon as one broke out, the PA guys turned on the music, so the players were going at it while "Headstrong" by Trapt blared in the background and their teammates looked on in amusement.

As for the game itself, it was a little lacking on defense. Providence outshot Springfield, 42-26, and goalie Jean-Marc Pelletier, a Cornell guy, was left out to dry. He took the loss, 4-2, although he played a pretty solid game after the first period.

***

You know how you hear announcers say things like, "LeBron James was born to play basketball" all the time? Well, what if LeBron had been born 150 years ago, before basketball was invented? What would he have done then? Or what if he had been born in Finland? Think he'd be shooting hoops anyway?

Maybe I was born to play a sport that just hasn't been invented yet. Or that I haven't tried yet. Maybe I'd kick ass at skeleton.

Then again, I think I might pee my pants if I had to try skeleton. That looks real frickin' scary. And I struggle on roller coasters.

***

There are these public service commercials on TV where friends are shown confronting each other about their pot smoking, and the point is that you should intervene if your friends are abusing drugs, because it's the right thing to do.

For some reason, this started my roommate and I talking about how intervention should be used to help along skills in drinking games. You could have PSAs like this:

"Look, I'm practicing my Beirut skills four nights a week. You can't just show up on weekends and think your shot will be true. You're letting this team down with your lack of dedication and responsibility. I can't carry this team on my own. And while I'm at it, stop leaving your bitch cup..."

Or this:

"If you can't pound a beer in under six seconds, it's time to improve or get out of the game. Slow chugging: the anti-cool."

I don't think we'll be seeing those anytime soon, though.

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