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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, January 15, 2006

Ever Seen A Zebra Yak?

Every so often you go to a sporting event and see something you've never seen before. It happened last March, when I saw a player hit a grand slam and then get called out for passing a runner on the basepaths. And it happened last night in our hockey game against Washington.

We were up about 4-1 with about seven minutes left in the game, when Jake Gunn, our second-leading goal scorer, knocked down a waist-high clearing attempt in the attack zone with his stick and then beat the goalie to the top left corner, popping up the water bottle. It was a sweet goal, the kind that would earn a spot on SportsCenter's Top 10 if, you know, Pac-8 hockey had a national audience. And although the goal was nice, what followed was extremely unusual.

The two teams were lined up at center ice for the faceoff, but the linesman wasn't there to drop the puck. Where was he? Over by the penalty box, helping the ref - who was doubled over and vomiting his brains out. On the ice. In mid-game.

Now, I've seen players throw up during a game. I myself have been guilty of heaving in more than a few practices this season (although there are extenuating circumstances there). But I have never, ever seen a ref hurl during a game. And I don't think any of my teammates or coaches have, either, at least until last night.

I also hope I never see it happen again. We had to delay the game while our trainer and a rink employee scraped the ref's dinner off the ice with a shovel. Jake was out there helping them at first, until we yelled at him that it wasn't his job, especially since he'd just scored a damn fine goal.

Even after the puddle of puke was gone, the stench around the area was still pretty potent. The left winger on my line even tried to switch to right wing for the rest of the game, but the right winger would have none of that. And I offered a couple of our defensemen $10 if they could knock a Husky player to the ice where the ref had barfed (maybe with more time left in the game, they might have).

To the ref's credit, he booted and rallied, finishing the game without further incident. It must have been kind of embarrassing for the guy, but at least there weren't many fans on hand, thanks to a 10:15 p.m. start. After most games, I shake the ref's hand following the team handshakes, but this time I passed on that one.

Anyway, that unusual event aside, we went on to win the game 6-2. Coupled with our 8-1 win the night before, we've clinched a playoff spot and knocked Washington out of contention. It's a nice measure of revenge after Washington upset us in the first round of the playoffs last season. We wrap up conference play next weekend with a pair of home games against Stanford, whom we beat 8-0 and 10-2 earlier this season.

(And if you're counting, that's nine different synonyms used to describe spewing. Make that ten.)

(Yes, I'm a second-grader at heart.)

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