He Could Throw That Speedball By You
I remain a sporadic (at best) blog poster while our lives get turned upside down for about a week. This week we’ll physically move everything out of this house, where it will reside on a truck for several days while the house we bought gets some work done (wood floors, etc). In the meantime, we’ll be staying with the in-laws. Everything is a mess. In flux. In transition. It won’t be settled for a few weeks.
Anyway, last week I was invited to play in the Nashoba Regional High School ice hockey alumni game. The game was held this past Saturday night over in Boxborough, MA, a rink I haven’t liked playing in since the early 1990s. They keep the temperature too damn warm. Regardless, my thoughts were that I’d be seeing some old classmates and having a good time talking about some of the ridiculous things we did back then. My fondest high school memories have to be the four hockey seasons I played there. There isn’t much better – not only does it keep you in shape and keep you mentally sharp, it also establishes the importance of teamwork, both in sports and life. So anyway, I was expecting a lot of laughs.
When I arrived, I was a little shocked at how organized it all was! There was a check-in table for the players, locker room assignments and hockey shirts given to us – with our names on the back! There was a green team and a white team (all Nashoba alum) and I was on the white squad. There was about 30 total players. In each locker room there was a case of water and the night’s agenda taped to the door, which included 10 minutes of warmups, individual player introductions and then the national anthem. This was like a real hockey game!
Now, without sounding too narcissistic, I must now relay that I am one of the school’s career leaders in points. I’m not the top guy and I don’t know where I rank, I only know this because I’m apparantly one of 6 or 7 players in school history who amassed 100 points in their careers (one is Hall Gill, who now plays for the Toronto Maple Leafs). This is only important because when the game started, it felt like almost everyone out there was a 100-point scorer. Much to my surprise, this was a competitive, super-fast, back-and-forth hockey game, made up of mostly graduates from the 1998-2007 era. There were a few of us from the 1980s, although only one other guy on either team was a person I was actually a teammate with.
So there was very little reminisicing and a LOT of skating – certainly the fastest game I’ve been involved in since I tried out for a division 1 college team back in 1990 and I played in a scrimmage. At 36, my age certainly showed – some of these guys really had wheels, but I took some satisfaction in the fact that I got off a few very good shots and kept pretty good pace for the first two periods. Either age or conditioning started showing in the 3rd – I’d like to think it was age, as I’m still skating twice a week these days. But who knows.
So yes, it was fun, but in a far different way than I expected. The green team ended up winning 10-9 on a late third period goal, but in the end, it was just a fun game and good to talk with some of the guys who came after me, many of whom went on to college hockey careers as well. I was very pleasantly surprised by how excellent some of these players really were.