BLOG - HOCKEY & HEAVY METAL
June 24, 2015
8-BITS GAME 9: FEAR, PART I: THE ENEMY WITHIN
The last two months have been wall-to-wall work and travel, to the point where I only ever got the opportunity to jot down some postgame notes on the six games the 8-Bits played during that time. Regular readers saw the first music blog entry in about a year, and thanks to the folks at Rush Is A Band a lot of people found their way to this site for the first time. Hopefully some of you are back.
With all that in mind, there’s no sense veering away from a good thing: the first four of those games will be recapped them using Rush’s 4-part “Fear Trilogy” as a theme. (Yes, non-Rush fans, it’s a 4-part trilogy. Do what a Rush fan would do: Google it and read up.)
Pounding in your temples
And a surge of adrenaline
Every muscle tense to fence
The enemy within
This 4-0 shootout loss was the low point of the season thus far. We lost to the Magic Dragons, the team at the bottom of the standings and whom we had beaten twice before. It was a frustrating game from beginning to end - were shut out despite a 30-18 edge in shots and having the majority of the play in their end of the ice. Their strength is their transition game and that was how they scored all their goals, the last one an empty-netter. We’ve now lost three straight games, and due to a couple bye weeks we’ve not won a game in over a month.
On the bright side, there was no aggro between the two teams tonight, unlike the previous games this season. (New readers can scroll down to the “When Goalies Attack” and “Dragon Slayed” posts to see what happened earlier.) This time around, their goalie concentrated 100% on hockey, played himself a perfect game, and earned that shutout. Credit where credit is due.
On the dark side, this is one of those games that started at 10:15 p.m. on a Sunday night. That means you’re not actually home until after midnight, and then it takes 2 or 3 hours to fall asleep because of the adrenaline rush from the game. I frequently get up at 4:30 a.m., so you can imagine what this does to my body clock - I basically get a case of jet lag to start the week.
Tonight there were additional ingredients present: a bad loss and a losing streak, both of which can and do affect the enjoyment of playing hockey. Every so often even this most beloved activity can stop being fun for a while, and tonight is one of those times. So now I’m lying awake with a headful of snakes, and tonight’s missed opportunities, and it dredged up memories that I’m generally pretty good at suppressing: I only got to play organized hockey for two years as a kid, at the Bantam level for the Pittsburgh Amateur Hockey League’s imaginatively named Eastern team. We didn’t even have a team name, and maybe that was for the best as we won exactly one game in those two years. We were completely winless in my first season, going 0-18-0.
That’s right. We were 0-18-0 the first year and then we did actually win a game fairly late in our second year to improve our record to something like 1-12-0. And in both of those years, we were bad, bad, bad. We’re talking losing by an average of about 9-2 kind of bad, and these were games of three 15-minute periods with a running clock. One low point came when a team from Ohio ran up a 17-2 score on us during a Christmas tournament so they could get through the round-robin portion on goal differential. Their coach did barge straight into our locker room immediately afterwards to apologize, and we understood, but still…man. It was my first year playing in a real league and on that level it was great just to be there, but it really did become a case of, “It’s not whether you’re going to win or lose. You are definitely going to lose. The only question is how badly.”
I tend to gloss over that part of my time with Eastern now, or at least try to, and I definitely remember finally throwing some sort of minor rant/tantrum about it early one morning at home during the second year. Fortunately, my parents handled it perfectly – they were sympathetic, and in a way happy, because I actually let my hair down and actually vocalized how frustrated I was after holding it in for so long. I guess I hung in there pretty well, but it came to an end after a team trip to Hamilton, Ontario for a tournament where I got really sick and fell out with a couple of teammates. I skipped the last couple games and the end-of-season league banquet, and three months later I got into the accident that ensured I didn’t play another game for 29 years.