This is First Time Wreck, talking about my first rec league and first team. I play at the Ice Ranch in the RMHL in Denver, CO. You can find our league here, and our team stats here. I wear number 5, even though the stats list me as 84 (and now 35). I don’t know why.
(What happened to game six? I missed it due to work. I was going to write about that, but we have moved on to game seven, so we are letting game six go.)
I don’t want to talk about game seven. I should talk about it, because that’s what bloggers are supposed to do, bare their souls and all that. But this game, I don’t want to talk about. I have never felt this upset after playing hockey. I have never been this angry and disappointed after a hockey game. I have never wanted to give up.
We lost 2-1, which isn’t an awful score. I wouldn’t even mind losing, were it a game that I felt I came away from having fun. But I didn’t have fun tonight, despite my initial intentions. And it had less to do with the play on the ice than with other factors.
A few of the highlights:
- Both goals against us came off my stick. The first deflected off my stick right to an attacker in front of our net. The second one deflected directly off my stick and into our net. So yeah, not a good night for me on defense.
- I blocked – unintentionally – a slap shot with the boney part of my ankle. It hurts. I’m limping.
- I got into it with one of our teammates. The guy from game 4. It got ugly. It did not get physical, but words were said. Loud, angry words. We had to be separated.
- Things got pretty chippy out there. And hey, when you have a trainer and a good medical staff, and insurance, and don’t have to be at your day job tomorrow, and get paid to play rather than pay for the privilege of playing, by all means, get chippy. But this is rec league hockey. I don’t want to separate my shoulder because you want to “play hard” or “play the right way.”
- I was OK on defense, but my few shots on goal went wide, including the last shot of the game, with five seconds left. A wide hard shot that went around the boards and out of the zone. So yes, the last shot, the one that could have tied it up on, was off my stick and wide. So that felt AWESOME. :-/
If it isn’t obvious, it’s that third point that I don’t want to get into. I would be biased towards my side, no matter how hard I tried not to be. I would color things with my own involved perspective, and that isn’t fair. What I will say about it is that I lost my cool, and I shouldn’t have. I apologized to my teammates, and they were good about it. But I was as much a problem as the guy I got into it with, and I made things uncomfortable and less fun as much as him. I had my part in it, and I am not proud of it.
Words were going to be said at some point. This issue wasn’t going to go away on it’s own. And it’s probably a good thing that it happened now, rather than later. Still, I’m not proud of myself in that moment. I’m not pleased that I wasn’t able to blow him off, or relax a little. I can be nice to our opponents, and even after a fight for the puck in front of our goalie, I can turn to the guy afterwards and say “good battle.” It happened tonight.
But my own teammate getting under my skin doesn’t feel right. And even after telling myself that I was just going to have fun tonight, I didn’t. Part of it was the stress of being on defense (which I know I’m going to write about) and part of it was this guy. And then when things escalated, it didn’t get any better.
I want to have fun. I didn’t pay this much money to be on the ice and not have fun. That doesn’t mean I have to get my way or be catered to. It doesn’t mean we have to win every game, or even most of them. But it does mean that if something is ruining things for me, something needs to change. And if that change needs to be me, so be it. If there is something I need to figure out for myself, then that’s what I need to do.
When the NHL returns, and the fans weigh the value of going back, the only thing that is going to be worth going back for is the game. And the game should be fun, to watch, to write about, and especially to play. And if it’s not fun to play, and you aren’t making a ton of money doing it, what’s the point? It’s time to make it work.
(after our game, I went to Denver University to watch Ryan Bolding of Hockey on the Rocks play in one of his many rec leagues (ok, he only plays in two, but still…) and it was great to see how much fun they seemed to be having. I prefer that.)
Have any perspective on this? Comments are open. Just be nice.