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Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Gift of Hockey

Game Report

Killer Strawberries Some Free Agents Fewer

January 20, 2011

Last night’s game against the Free Agents marked the 473rd time the Killer Strawberries, a team of incomprehensible nuances, contradictions and chemistry, had taken to the ice as part of the Canadore College Intramural Hockey League: 26 years of glorious losses, improbable victories, smelly dressing rooms and jokes so bad they continue to merit repeating at every possible opportunity. If the Strawbs did not exist, they would have been invented by some 20th century Voltaire.

In one of the most serendipitous bequests emanating from the Great Inscrutable Cosmic Void, the Killer Strawberries were ,from the very beginning, favoured with the Gift of Hockey. The Gift takes many forms, some recurring, some astonishing in their novelty. It is the Gift which pries the Strawbs from the comfort of couches everywhere, at 11in the evening, with the thermometer moaning at 35 below. It’s the highlight of every week.

And how did the Gift manifest itself in game #473? As always, it was in small things. It was in having the dressing room go from virtually empty at 10 minutes to game time to so full by the Zamboni’s last lick of the ice that the Executive had to once more make room for the final straggler on their throne by the door. The lateness of stragglers never goes unremarked or unscathed. “Pyjama Man, you’re late again. Take your time buddy, you’ve still got 30 second to get ready . And by the way, get rid of that erection you shoulda taken care of at home. Maybe the Butcher can help you with it when he finally shows up.”

It manifested itself again, 3 minutes into the match as the aforementioned Bonehead Butcher Brophey finally emerged from the locker room, half dressed, to boyishly press his nose against the glass, temporarily locked out of the play, heartsick that may have missed a shift.

It was in looking down the bench and marveling that a small gulf, a mere 40 years of dubious living, separated the youngest Strawberry from the team’s oldest fossil. It was in being surprised for the 400th time that Gumby, Gawdawful Gumby, bestockinged as usual in his fluorescent pumpkin hosiery, could be so egregiously out of position yet still have the unmitigated gall to point out to his right winger that he was not covering his point man quite to Gawd’s satisfaction.

It was in admiring the sublime beauty of a clearing pass executed by Shiny Shone Brightly as it was meticulously coralled by Shifty Drouin who was streaking as gracefully as Jean Beliveau through the unclogged center ice zone. It was in the whole bench laughing as Achilles, alone with the puck at the side of net, failed to put the biscuit into an opening only slightly less large than Gumby’s ego. But that did not deter Achilles. Soon thereafter, he redeemed himself on an unexpected second chance by threading the puck through the eye of a needle into a startled mesh.

The alchemy continued as MagBoy maniacally chased loose pucks anywhere and everywhere like a besotted retriever puppy gamboling in his first field of pigeons. It was in watching the handsome Ice Marshal as he knifed a well planned Gumby pass into the glass just above the crossbar. It was evident in the grins of his team mates as Slickery Mac, carrying 60 more pounds that he did when first drafted by the Strawbs, calmly called off his attempt to cross the opposition’s blue line, turned gracefully with the puck glued to his stick, quickly reassessed the best route of attack and deftly penetrated an obviously baffled defence.

It was in Mayor Maynot’s screaming down the left wing to catch up with a puck clearly intent on beating him to the icing line, beating the belligerent biscuit to its hoped for destination, and then slipping it, deadeye, into to top shelf. It was in having the unripest of the Strawbs, the Marquis DeSave, contort himself like a Cirque De Soleil understudy in order to successfully thwart, for the sixth time in the game, a 3 on 0 rush by the Free Agents. And finally, it was in the pleasure which accompanies the shaking of one's head as both the Butcher and the Vice (an accomplished arsonist of great repute in Northern Ontario)got called for hooking the same hapless opponent unwise enough to venture within the reach of their respective scalpels: 6 minutes for unauthorized synchronized surgery.

There were certainly more manifestations of the Gift, too many really to be enumerated here. Suffice it to say that the wonder continued well into the night as it followed the team to its post game perch at the Terminal Tavren. Compliments were, as is customary, sheathed in derogatory clothing and a whole lotta forgiveness was bestowed upon the undeserving: another typical Strawberry outing.

6 SteamWhistles, 8 Lake of Bays offerings, 1 draft, 1 Guinness, 4 Rickerds Red, 7 pounds of chicken wings and more than deserved of the limitless Gift were consumed.


Rob Greenfield said...

... I laugh ... I laugh again ... I still laugh ...

The Vice

DB said...

Arrffff Arrffff!