In an effort to embrace cross-training/find an excuse to keep my hockey equipment out of the attic, I joined a floor hockey team that plays every Thursday night. Did I mention we play at the Jewish Community Center? Well, we do. *insert pause for hilarity*
Can we move on? Let’s. So, we gather every Thursday to do battle in this cramped, stuffy, coliseum, where the men and ladies of the greater northern Virginia area, of varying degrees of physical fitness, duke it out for glory for 40-minutes. You can’t imagine how seriously people take this. I’m not kidding. People get thrown out each week. Punches are thrown. Shins are slashed. Egos inflated and destroyed all in the span of two 20 minute halves.
As much as I like to play this off as my fun, cross-training activity, that old competitive (and, yes, superstitious) spirit comes out. Take last night for example. I had the mentally arduous task of bouncing back from last week’s three-goal nightmare, i.e. I let in three goals, yet we still won 6-3. This is the most goals I’ve let it in during a game in three seasons. I was distraught to say the least…I am the reigning Neighborhood Athletic Association “Top Goaltender” from last season after all. Are you basking in my glory? You should see the certificate I’ve hung in my middle-management cubicle – the name reads Brad Holdsworth. Solid.
So last night, as I was saying, I’m trying to recover from last week’s debacle against, who else, but our arch rivals, the Bushwackers. Note: the only undefeated team left in the league. It all started out well. We jumped ahead to a 1-0 lead at the end of the first half, and scored quickly in the second half to go ahead 2-0. The general rule in hockey says that the two-goal lead is the worst to have.
It’s at this point that a rather stocky gentleman, who I started referring to as “meat,” decided to park himself in front of me to screen/irritate the piss out of me for the final ten minutes of the game. Without being able to get to the referee’s attention and point this egregious violation out, I simply pushed back.
The final seconds ticked down with the ball in our zone. In fact, the ball was in the corner and we’re clinging to a 2-1 lead. You’ll realize how relevant this is in a moment. So “meat” sticks his beefy self in front of me, and, fed up with it, I fall back into the goal, knocking it off. He falls down on top of me, it’s a big mess of limbs and hockey equipment. The referee, in his infinite wisdom, looks at me, and says, “You’re not going to believe this. I’m calling a penalty shot.” Well, you can imagine the fury that ensued and the string of obscenities uttered by my teammates. I mean, just the most garbage call of time. Worse than the Tom Poti obstruction call in OT, in Game 7 of the 2008 playoffs, that led to the Capitals elimination.
Bearing down on me, their forward walks in (it’s floor hockey remember), game-tying goal on his stick, undefeated season on the line. He makes a move to his back hand, and I stuffed him with a flash of the right pad. Game over! Ah, the sweet, sweet sound of redemption. A victory in the bag. Confidence levels high. Cross training complete.
And to top it all off, the Caps opened their season with a 4-1 drubbing of the Boston Bruins. But like I said, it’s just floor hockey. Bring on the Army Ten-miler.