Search This Blog

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Fly In The Ointment Still Tastes Sweet

Killer Strawberries Win Championship

Game Report
March 1 2007

Strawbs 1 Blades of Steel 0

It was a bittersweet ending to a Cinderella year.

The early scouting reports published in September had pegged the Strawbs to a 4th place finish, based mostly on adulterated photos obtained surreptitiously over the summer by the team’s unauthorized papparazzi. One particularily damning photo, allegedly taken in August, showed the unflattering aftermath of the team’s annual summer Bacchanalian Babefest and Shoe Shine at its retreat at the Aloha Baby Compound in Oahu. The photos were obviously Photoshopped by devious minds bent on sullying the immaculate character of this august squad of almost-canonized hockey saints.

In September, the whole team, save for an ovoid-shaped Butcher Brophey, showed up to training camp in better shape than ever. The Butcher blamed his faux pregnancy condition on a summer diet of potato chips, high-cal fatty tissue poppers made from the preserved spleens of his previous on-ice conquests and beer by the keg. Pyjama Man Gibbons lost over 65 pounds since his last game in February 2006 and he could not stop repeating the fact that, for the first time since 1965, he could actually see his own feet without the help of a well-placed mirror. Dr. Thug, fresh from picking unwitting mosquitos out of the malarial swamps of Nicaragua, was limiting himself to one 10,000 word treatise per hour on the subject of Non-EuclidianVariants In The Airborne Dispersal of Anopheles Vectors of Toxicity. Freight Train Laronde reported to camp armed with a new wristshot capable of exceeding 35 miles per hour at sea level (yeah, the Sea of Tranquility maybe). The Vice Ice, who hadn’t set a significant fire in over 2 years, boasted of a new liver donated to him by the estate of Dean Martin. “It may not be top quality, but it’s a lot better than my old one” quipped this newest hunk of hepatic handicraft.

Gumby Pettigrew, although 3 days late to camp due to a mixup in his self-prescribed medications, did show up sporting a new, less irascible attitude. While in the past, his Orneriness would ostentatiously ignore any questions related to his summer whereabouts, the current genesis of this Pumpkin-socked Picaroon was a lot more forthcoming by informing all questioners that perhaps they might like to ask their wives/girlfriends about what he was doing when they (the questioners) weren’t home.

Archilles Perron came prepared for a gruelling training session. Every muscle in his body was athletically taut. He attributed his stellar condition to the fact that his wife had walked all over him for the previous 6 months. Whether the “walking over” was metaphorical or not has yet to be determined but Archilles did let it be known to management that he was to be home by 3:30pm everyday during camp and that he had better not be late or else.

The team’s goaltending situation looked slightly less bleak than it had in the past. Jesse The Leak had spent the summer practising his coverage of loose rebounds and fishing the puck out of his own net. He also boasted to the whole squad that he was a changed netminder. That did not stop management from continuing to seek someone else for the position until it finally gave up on its search on October 25, 6 minutes before the team roster deadline.

Magnesium Boy, who self-concusses for fun, spent the off-season kissing his enamorata’s butt, in the vain hope that he would be let out twice a week during the season to hone his game with Strawbs. He must have done a half-assed job because it became quickly apparent that his bachelor days were vanishing quicker than his recent erections (he builds and sells ice huts). Strawbs’ management arranged an intervention on his behalf and was able to charm Magnesium Girl into letting her personal slave play twice a week, providing he buy her a new squirrel fur coat with matching boots so that she could fish comfortably in the warm side of the ice hut. The coat and boots were picked out for her specifically by that arbiter of good taste and beacon of sartorial splendour, Miss White Go Go Boots herself.

The Ice Marshall showed up with his own good news in tow. He had been scouting all summer for players who would fit the Strawberries’ mold without breaking it. While sojourning with The Paducca School For Wayward Babes Cheerleading Squad at his personal retreat on Lake Mindemoya near Wiky, the astute hockey man spotted Wanderin’ Warrin’ Peace practising his peerless stickhandling manoeuvres on a hockey rink made entirely of ice cubes purloined from Rusty Erickson’s trailer camped on the shores of said lake. The Ice Marshall immediately signed the Manitoulin Magic Man to a one way, 2 year, three clause contract to join the illustrious Strawberries starting in the 2006-2007 season. On hearing the news of his new contract, his second main squeeze at the time, Miss Samara Desert, joyously advised the rookie that they were now engaged and would be getting married after the season ended, preferably at a venue with indoor plumbing. The ever alert Ice Marshall, having noticed the desperation accompanying both the betrothal announcement and its reluctant acceptance, parked himself the next day at the only bus station on the island, caught the frightened rookie by the arm as he attempted to board the outbound bus for Sudbury and reminded him of his contractual obligations. After a brief paroxysm of tears, Warrin’ finally caught his breath and accepted his fate. He spent the rest of the summer picking out wedding stationery.

The team’s missing link was found by the Ice Marshall at a little known but well attended event put on by The Nuns For Nookie in beautiful Pembroke. Whoahorney Richardson was operating an A535 kiosk at the event’s small trade show, surrounded by itinerant hawkers and pedlars selling wares unknown to even Larry Flynt and his ilk. “A535 is a cure-all” Whoahorney told the IM. “I’ve used it for all my ailments since peewee. It even cured my onanism.” On the strength of his vocabulary alone, Whoahorney was signed to a day to day contract extending through November 2006 and extendable at the option of Strawbs’ management.

With this motley crew of chronic underachievers, the Strawberries entered the current season in hopeful fashion. Performance in the pre-January part of the schedule was tepid with wins equalling losses. But something happened over Christmas. Maybe it was the bonhomie of the season. Perhaps it was the strength of overblown New Year’s resolutions. Or the A535. Whatever it was, it worked. The Strawbs stormed out of the gate like stallions on Cialis. They lost but one game from then on, and a close one at that. With every on-ice battle, the squad became stronger, more tight-knit and more determined to prove those pusillanimous, pre-season pundits wrong. They entered the playoffs seeded #1 and did not disappoint. In a double elimination format, the Killer Strawberries’ juggernaut rolled over every opponent who dared get in its way. The team was firing on all cylinders, a well tuned machine of 12 moving parts focussed on the Cup. Undefeated. Defiant. Delirious with the anticipation of Cup glory.

But the fickle Gods of Hockey, ensconced on the icy side of Mount Olympus, are known for their love of irony. In what turned out to be the last game of the season, the Strawbs were to face the Blades of Steel, a team which was but one game from elimination. To claim the Cup, they would have had to beat the Strawbs twice in row. It was an unlikely scenario; so unlikely that the Gods decided the Blades should forfeit the encounter to which the Strawberries so looked forward: a case of hockey interruptus at its worst. There was joy in Hockeyville but it was a bittersweet joy.

In the past, the Killer Strawberries have tasted the acrid bitterness of victory stolen away by lesser mortals. Indeed, the Gods have pulled the rug out from under the Strawbs on numerous occasions. Hopes have been dashed and dreams trampled under the hooves of Olympian whim. Well screw you, Gods. The fly you put into our ointment this time is still oh so sweet.

4 Bud, 5 jugs of Keith’s, 1 jug of bad Kilkenny, 2 Bud Light, 3 Guinnesses, 1 Bass, 2 Blue, 1 glass of white wine (spilled onto her squirrel coat), 4 pounds of wings and a sweet tasting fly were consumed. For an instant, harmony reigned in an inscrutable universe and the Killer Strawberries proclaimed CHAMPIONS.