Thursday, March 06, 2008

Hockey Night In Manhattan

Last night marked the end of the first season of my heroic comeback to old men’s league hockey as the team I play on, the King Williams (it is my understanding the team is named after a king of some sort who was named William but now is probably dead), played our last game of what some are calling a “rebuilding season.” We played our hearts and groins out last night and almost even served up a victory (to ourselves), but in the end we lost to the team with purple jerseys 4-3 in a battle that is still being referred to by some as “that time we lost to the team with the purple jerseys.”

Today I am feeling a little tired and sore and have entered a brief (I am expecting this to go on for about the next fifteen minutes or so) period of reflection over my comeback season as well as my future on the ice. It was an admittedly tough season for me. At first I thought it was my skating that was the problem. Then I started to think it was my stickhandling that was the problem. As of this writing, however, it is my sense that it is both my skating and stickhandling- together- that form the problem. Despite having played hockey throughout much of my youth, I am no longer at the peak of my powers and would guess that I am now maybe as good as I was when I was twelve years old, a time when I feel I was “just starting to get the hang of it.” I was at the top of my game between the ages of 16-18 and then it has pretty much been all downhill from there. Still, I am determined to come back strong next year and maybe even the year after that depending on what programs are on TV then. If everything goes as planned, by then I will seriously be giving the fourteen year-old me a run for his money. And I am certain I have better hair now, so there’s that too.

Anyway, it is hard not to wonder whether Wayne Gretzky, arguably the greatest hockey player in the history of the game, ever got this way. Sure, mine and his contribution to the game have been slightly different, but still hopefully you see my point. Wayne Gretzky now has a Wayne Gretzky-themed restaurant of his very own in Toronto, serving a menu of delicious food items inspired by the Great One himself and suitable for the whole family, even kids who are too young to remember Gretzky’s rise to pro hockey dominance in the early ‘80’s. I feel if I practice with a tennis ball over the summer, I could have all of this too maybe. Or maybe not. But I do enjoy Wayne Gretzky-themed food. I’ve had it and it’s delicious. A bit bland at times maybe, but you can always ask for hot sauce. The waitstaff there is friendly and helpful.

Okay, I have to go sit in the tub for a bit.

Dave Hill


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