BLOG - HOCKEY & HEAVY METAL
June 27, 2015
8-BITS GAME 13: THEN CAME THE LAST DAYS OF MAY
You wouldn’t be interested in coming along
Instead of staying here?
They say the west is nice this time of year
That’s what they say
After a solid two weeks of grey weather here, I had my fingers crossed for a sunny day for the drives to and from the rink. Since it was May 31st I couldn’t resist making Blue Oyster Cult’s “Then Came The Last Days Of May” part of today’s driving soundtrack. If you’re not familiar, this 1973 Buck Dharma-penned song from their debut album is possibly the most chilling and foreboding song in their repertoire, complete with drug-deal-related, first-degree murder lyrics. The definitive version of this song is found on the band’s double live album from 1975, “On Your Feet Or On Your Knees”, and even though BOC are a New York band with predominantly dark, sinister material, I’ve always associated the band with sunlight and beaches, which is an odd juxtaposition. I do know why, though: when I was a kid my family used to go to Rehoboth Beach in Delaware each year for a week, and when we were there in 1976 Blue Oyster Cult was all over the radio with “Don’t Fear The Reaper”, a song that most millennials learned about via the admittedly hilarious “More cowbell!” skit on Saturday Night Live. 10 years later in 1986 I had acquired my first copy of “On Your Feet…” on cassette, and I remember playing it constantly at Rehoboth that summer.
But I digress. Today is our fourth and final game against the Magic Dragons - the first two were marred by rough play and the third was our low point of the season when we were shut out in a late-night game. And we were in an odd position today. For the first time since really early in the season, we’re really shorthanded as a lot of people were out of town. We only had 8 skaters, but we did have something working in our favor - there was no way that the Magic Dragons can pass us in the standings and make the playoffs, so even if they did win today all we had to do is not get blown out so that we could maintain our current lead in the goal-differential tiebreaker if we end up tied with Top Shelf at the end of the season. We also got another break in that the Magic Dragons only had 10 skaters, and their leading scorer was not in the lineup.
It was not pretty, but we did what we needed to do, barely. We lost 6-4, managing to make it respectable by getting two 3rd period goals after they got a lead and sat back. With 8 skaters, the three players who were on the bench at any given time had to possibly go in to sub for one of two defensemen or one of three forwards. This was an area where I was a liability because the terminal device I use to play hockey does not break away from the stick, which is a necessary thing to play defense for fanning your stick and poke checks. The folks back on defense did stick with keeping one player back deep the whole time because the Dragons rely heavily on long clearing passes and cherry picking to get their goals, and also served a dual role of lessening the skating for the players who were out there the most.
This was one of those games where, if we had iced a full team, I feel like we could have and should have won. But if a bullfrog had wings he wouldn’t kick himself in the butt every time he jumped, too. In our case you can’t really get angry about it, because we don’t have anyone on our team who just blows off games for no good reason - everyone who didn’t make it today was either out of town, injured, or dealing with something more important. (Yes. This wonderfully obsessive game is recreation at the end of the day, and sometimes you have to give yourself that reality check.) The first two periods were a slow, gradual descent into defeat, with the Dragons scoring goal every few minutes to gradually put us away despite a couple markers of our own. As we headed into the 3rd, our goal was just to try and limit any further damage, and we definitely iced the puck a bit more to have shave some time off the clock here and there. Then Dan scored a couple goals to make it 6-4 - one of them came after the three of us who were out there as forwards at the time did some great forechecking to keep it in their zone and create chances - as I remember Dan scored on about or 3rd or 4th good chance on the shift, and he actually ended up with a hat trick and an assist on the day. The Dragons chased Adam around all day but consistently left Dan open, and he made them pay.
On a down note, I took a two hard falls today, one when I landed on the small of my back and another when I came down on my right side at an angle, and when I hit my body twisted in a way that I instantly knew was going to make me feel lousy after the game’s adrenaline wears off. Sure enough, the drive home was augmented by the arrival of major soreness in my back and my right leg, and some minor complaining about that second fall from the tendons in both knees. Sometimes you just don’t bounce the way you’re supposed to bounce. Now it’s do-or-die next week.
Once again, I had issues with the prosthetic arm popping off throughout the game because my arm will just not stay wedged inside it. And once again, I’m sitting in the dressing room afterwards with steam rising off me, peeling off equipment and prosthetics to find the same spots rubbed raw and bleeding. This time I say aloud, “Okay, I think this prosthesis might need to be adjusted because it’s not fitting correctly any more. This is happening every week now.” And at that point two teammates who are sitting across from me say something along the lines of, “No duh, Andrew. Your arms are bigger.” Okay, there could be something here, since my weight training for the last couple of months has focused much more heavily on upper body. “They are?”, I say. “Yes. Whatever you’re doing, iit's showing. " Well, then. I guess that’s the culprit. Time to get this prosthesis adjusted, and time to give a shout-out to my trainer Zamia Cohen at Equinox Century City. See what she did?