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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Fun Takes A Holiday

Game Report

January 19, 2009

Killer Strawberries 3 Red Stripes 3

What a letdown. In the Strawbs’ game previous to last night’s tussle with the Red Stripes, all the qualities of a great matchup were present: good play, fair play, excellent play, and laughable errors of execution and judgement. In short, the previous game was a celebration of hockey.

Last night was almost as far from the apotheosis of enjoyable hockey as you could imagine. It started out badly. The 2 worst referees in the universe, south, east and west of Alpha Centauri, showed up to weave their inimitable magic. One has been the bane of Strawbs’ existence since the days when dirt was still a rock. Referee (and I use the term “referee” loosely) Napoleon Fizzlecracker has been banned from officiating in more leagues than George Bush has had bad ideas. Typically, he does his best to be incompetent, loves to taunt those who can’t talk back without receiving a misconduct, and succeeds in ruining every game he touches. His counterpart, referee Blithely Useless, is always content to let things go for a while and then to pounce upon the most marginal of infractions and to make the most incomprehensible of calls. A collective shudder went through the team when they saw who had been assigned to officiate the game. It was clear signal to the team to forego buying any lottery tickets after the match.

As everyone knows, the Strawbs are not what is normally termed a “dirty team”. Yes, we have our own butcher, but he is a benevolent butcher who loves kittens. Yes, we have the aggressive MagBoy, but he is a controlled aggressive MagBoy who is still learning how to stop just before he reaches the end boards. The rest of us are not angels…just naughty enough to be very very attractive to women. We normally don’t start any hostilities but we’ll be damned if anyone will transgress the bounds of fair play with impunity. Slash us and we’ll slash you back. High stick us and we’ll take your girlfriend out on date to prove to her your uselessness/inadequacy to the cosmos and to her personal needs. We are nice guys till we get crossed or crosschecked.

Last night’s match, as was described earlier, did not look auspicious from the outset. Despite the enormous potential for crappy refereeing, the Strawberries put their best skates forward. They took a 3-0 lead which lasted till the last minute of the first period. The Red Stripes were not pleased. Their lack of sportsmanship showed and increased with their frustration. Nevertheless, they made the score 3-1 by period’s end.

The second period was ugly…uglier than Dr. Thug in a purple thong. It was chippy, vindictive, and joyless with refereeing to match. The final score was 3-3 and the game did not end soon enough.

It may all sound like sour grapes. Perhaps it is, somewhat. We did blow a 3-0 lead. But I think we all know, that in the big scheme of things, victories come and victories go. Losses come and losses go. The true joy in hockey comes from playing the game well without having to worry whether you will be able to get out of bed the next day still in good health. You know it’s been a great game when, at the end of the match, you have earned the respect of your opponent and your opponent has been elevated in your esteem. You want to shake hands and thank each other for a game well and respectfully played, no matter the numbers on the scoreboard when the final whistle goes. Unfortunately, last evening, this did not happen.

The Strawbs did not assemble, post-game, at the Terminal Tavren.

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