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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

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

I Am The Rocky Balboa Of Bubble Hockey

(Note: This post is almost 100 percent serious.)

Having been home for a few days now, it was time to get down to brass tacks (whatever that means) and start getting ready for The Trouble In The Bubble, which is now just 10 days away.

You often hear about the problem NFL teams have when they prepare to play the Falcons: They don't have anyone who can duplicate what Michael Vick can do, and so they're not ready for his unique abilities. I have a similar problem as I prepare for the big showdown. My dad can't emulate my brother's playing style (or his skills, for that matter).

Nevertheless, it was time to see what kind of shape my bubble hockey game is in, and so earlier tonight, my dad and I squared off for a best-of-seven series. A sparring session, if you will. I won the series pretty easily, 4-1, but the games were a lot closer than I would have liked (4-3, 2-1, 2-5, 4-1, 4-2). I didn't top four goals in any of the games, and that's not good. Also, I let my dad score five on me in the loss, and that was a reality check: I have some work to do before I'm fully prepared for January 7.

A few things I need to work on, based on the five games I just played:

-I have to get quicker to the goalie knob. Particularly in the loss, I allowed too many fluke goals from the other end of the ice, and those are the kinds of goals that you can stop if you're on your game with your tender.

-I need to be more careful with my clears from my left defenseman. On our table, the way the boards are, clears around the USA left defensive corner (which will be my corner) hit the dasher and often bounce all the way around to the Canadian left winger, which is my brother's most dangerous weapon. Too often I turned over the puck to that winger, or worse, trying to avoid doing so, I coughed it right out to the center. I can't be doing either - I have to take my time with those clears and get it out of there more reliably.

-I have to be able to finish with my center consistently. I let Dad stop me too many times when I had the puck alone in front. Those are the opportunities that I absolutely must cash in on.

-A lot of my goals either are scored by or originate from my right defenseman, but I don't think I scored any with him in this series. That's not going to fly.

There were a few good points that I need to keep up - good goalie play, and good play using my wingers. But there's a lot of practicing still to be done before the World Series of Bubble Hockey. I'll be playing a few more with my dad, and I'll see if I can talk him into practicing some situational stuff with me - one-on-ones between the center and goalie, playing defense on his left winger, and so on. I'm also going to have to generally improve my reaction time, so maybe I can look up some drills online for that kind of thing. I wonder if there's any kind of diet that aids that sort of thing?

One thing's for sure: I am going to be ready when next Saturday rolls around. Screw the Rose Bowl - this is the championship game I care about.
It's coming...


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