Off to a Quick, but Not Necessarily Fast, Start
It seems like the tryouts for the Boy’s team just ended, but here we are two weeks and five games into the regular season already with a game and a minimum four-game tournament on the sked this week.
One problem with Fall tryouts is little time remains for the newly picked team to get its combined legs and to get re-acquainted with each other. In this team’s case they have something of an advantage with many of them having played together last year. However, post-tryouts they only got one team practice in before having to play their first match. Or at least most of them played their first match. The Boy had to sit game one out due to a one-game suspension left over from his over-zealous defence of a teammate in the last game of last season. One of his teammates was in a similar albeit slight larger boat with a four-gamer of his own. So the Boy and mom drove a bit over an hour to watch his new teammates skate to a 3-3 tie in what was reportedly a chippy season intro with a whole whack of penalties – par for the course in many testosterone-filled Midget games. The Devil and I stayed behind to get her to a practice; a fairly common occurrence.
I did get to witness game two, in which the Boy would make his 2012-13 season debut; at least until his skate blade snapped in half. Yup, a few shifts into the contest he went hard into the end boards with a foe. He rose awkwardly and had noticeable difficulty getting back to the bench. He appeared to have injured his foot/knee/leg as he wasn’t able to put any weight on the other. But then I saw mom/trainer waiving something frantically in the air. Turns out it was half his blade. Seemed like his first game would be a short one. But then his suspended teammate came to his rescue, pulling a pair of newly sharpened skates from the back seat of his car. Now they were a little small and a little narrow, leaving the Boy with pretty sore post-game feet, but he did get the final two periods of the game in. Unfortunately, the team would end up on the wrong end of a 4-2 score in a hard fought game.
A few days later the Boys would find themselves winless in three on the road as they came out a little flat and fell by two again in a 3-1 game. They all seemed a little tired and in need of a regroup. The coaching staff would no doubt welcome the second practice of the year. 0-2-1 is no need to panic, but in a relatively short season you don’t want to have too many lulls; and particularly not right off the hop. You’d no doubt prefer to set a winning tone.
Game four saw the team return to the scene of game one with most expecting another raucous affair. And raucous it was, b0th on the ice and in the stands. Before the game began, the rink was inundated by several (upwards of 50) boisterous teenagers. Apparently the Midget AA game is a big attraction in this particular town on a Wednesday (yup Wednesday) night. The visiting Colts would prevail for their first victory through what was a rough and quite poorly officiated meeting with catcalls and even a water bottle being hurled by one of the teen onlookers in the stands. As the game neared its end, one of our team’s parents verbally expressed his frustration with what he witnessed on the ice. A suspended player from the opposing team who happened to be within earshot took exception to the remarks, approached and shoved the parent. Tensions rose. Local parents actually needed to intervene; stepping between the large, advancing group of teens and our parent group. The crowd young crowd dispersed, but didn’t leave the arena; prompting a call to the authorities. We found out shortly thereafter that much the same drama had ensued at this team’s last home game. Police had likewise been dispatched. We’re all pretty happy there isn’t likely going to be another trip to that rink this season.
However, the next game, the first home game, would be a third meeting with the very same opponent against whom the Boys should have by now developed some confidence. Some fireworks were anticipated following the last penalty-fest. Only this time, the game was played on a much larger ice surface where our guys would have much more room to move. Our quicker side, having worked in another practice to gel a little more, were too much for the visitors. Win number two on the season would come via a 5-1 count.
Winless in three has given way to undefeated in two. The team can carry some all important momentum into their next tilt against what will certainly be a tougher opponent; one the Boy is particularly fond of facing as it includes one of his best friends – a game where bragging rights in addition to positions in the season standings are up for grabs.
The regular season begins for the Devil in four sleeps with three games in three days; though she will be favouring a previously booked Mariana’s Trench concert over Game One. Such are the priorities of a teenage girl and a certain Dad who bought the tickets for her birthday on the off chance there wouldn’t be a conflict (off chance indeed).
Only a few weeks in and like every other year, the stories just keep telling themselves. There’s rarely a dull moment on or off the ice.