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Sunday, January 30, 2011

A Promising Loss

CCCP 6 Strawbs 2

Game Report

January 27, 2011

The odds were stacked last evening against the Killer Strawberries as they entered their match with the first place CCCP Bolsheviks. The Bolsheviks are, to a man, a squad of excellent teenage players, most of whom represent Canadore College at the varsity level. The Strawbs, too, have some fine players, a few of whom are still young enough to squat relatively undisturbed in the family basement for a couple more years. Fortunately for all concerned, they are out on their own having been nudged out of the nest not so long ago. They are living under new roofs where they are masters of their own domains, second in command only to the strong women blind enough to love them while still desperately trying to mold them into specimens they can occasionally take out into public.
Other Strawbs are in their thirties, an age which permits them to stay up routinely past midnight, join their mates for a few post game sarsaparillas and still be able to function the next morning without the aid of copious quantities of A535, Ibuprofen, Alka Seltzer or little blue pills. The remaining Strawbs, older, wiser and more forgiving of the foibles which are now inextricably entrenched in their very DNA, continue to live out the dreams gifted to them eons ago…..dreams first made vivid in street hockey games spanning every season, incarnate in countless pick up battles which followed endless shoveling of school and playground rinks, and still alive in memories of pure hockey joy which miraculously surface, unannounced, like some long-forgotten and fondly remembered friend.

To say that these Killer Strawberries, in their encounter with the Bolsheviks, faced the long end of Vegas odds would indeed be accurate. But strangely, the unexplainable chemistry of youth and near senescence combined once more to produce a worthy performance. After one period of playing with a skeleton crew of 3 defencemen whose total age surpassed 160, the Strawbs found themselves in the thick of a well-contested 2-2 tie. They were full value for the score and, with a little liuck, might have been ahead.

The last period was hard-fought with the sides trading many scoring opportunities. In the end, CCCP prevailed 6-2…..worthy winners but a little shocked that, despite the score, the game was a very close one. The Killer Strawberries may have lost. Yet, they will carry with them into the playoffs the knowledge that, as in their playground dreams, anything can happen.

After the match, those not yet ready to go home reconvened at the Terminal Tavren. Playoff hopes were discussed, well-executed plays recalled, and outdoor rink rat exploits, real and imagined, were recounted with all the fondness they deserved.

3 Stella, 4 Creemore Pale Ale, 4 Lake of Bays, 2 Bud and the promise glimpsed in a well-fought loss were consumed.

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