Played against Scott TFCG Monday night and he said he still reads the blog. If you're in his boat, sorry I've been so absentee. (Again.)
Things look to settle down pretty soon, so hopefully I'll be back here more.
Monday's game was kinda messed up though. My ankle has been hurting when I play, so that's been bugging me pretty much since I got back from vacation. It's making some of my movements a little tentative, but bothers me less each week. Fortunately it's been a VERY light month for ice time.
Then I got beamed in the head twice. Once with a point blank wrister. It startled me and kinda pissed me off that he put it on my melon from so close in (I forget these guys don't necessarily have control of their shots). So I shrieked "BITCH!" and then we all started laughing.
It's horrible the stuff that just flies out of my mouth sometimes when I'm playing. Jesus. No filter.
Then I took a snap shot from the circle in the head. That one I felt, in that sort of vague way that a really good helmet still lets you feel a shot to the noggin. Just a dull pressure in the forehead and my jaw hurt, probably from the way the mask distributes the force throughout the whole mask.
It was weird.
Anyway, didn't play great, but salvaged my fragile ego with a couple of sexy glove saves right as they opened the zam door. I made the first one and was thinking, "Dammit, open the zam door so I can finish on a high note!" and then here they came again, with numbers, and I snag it again. Boom. THEN they open the zam door. Sometimes the goalie gods throw me a bone.
Goaltending just hasn't been a high priority lately and I'm probably not preparing or playing with the gusto that I probably should. The writing side of my hockey life is taking a lot of energy. As is work and selling our house and so forth.
I'm also reading this really great hockey porn novella that has me a little distracted. I'm sure you understand, right?
Speaking of hockey porn, I did a little thanksgiving for goalie thighs and other delicious things over at Backhand Shelf today. Check it out.
In other news: I'm developing a soft spot for Tyler Cuma. He's lovely on Twitter. Amazing how 140 characters here and there can really make me like or dislike someone.
Also, had a shutout week before last at women's league. Saw 4 shots, per the score keeper, but I think that was high. Happy for finally getting a win but weird to get one where I feel like we totally could have won if I hadn't even been there.
Sunday, November 27, 2011
Played against Scott TFCG Monday night and he said he still reads the blog. If you're in his boat, sorry I've been so absentee. (Again.)
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
So I've watched Lucic's hit on Miller a few times now and, while I may be angering the goalie gods to say it, I think Miller has as much responsibility here as Lucic. Maybe more.
Looch has said he was barreling in, looked down at the puck, then looked up and Miller was just RIGHT THERE all of a sudden. His instinct was to put an arm up and protect himself. Watching the video, I sorta believe that.
But for Miller, he saw the whole thing unfold. He saw Lucic on a breakaway, saw him with his head down controlling the puck, saw they were going to collide, and did nothing about it.
Now, I know if I'm aggressively challenging a player who may not see me coming, my instinct is to get low and try to poke check the puck away from them. This generally just sends the other player flying while you, the goalie, are just a ball of well-protected hate there on the ice. Unless they kick you in the head or cut you with a skate blade, you're pretty safe.
But at the very least, you have to brace yourself for impact and Miller had plenty of time to do that, unlike Lucic who had the puck to worry about.
Instead, Miller just stood there like he was in some kind of protective bubble, and then got thrown like a rag doll when the freight train hit. Like Lucic, of all people, was going to say, "Oh, I'm sorry sir, I'm not the type to knock guys ass over tea kettle, so I'll just go around you."
Even if Looch had time to change course, that's not his game. But I don't think he did, so it's a mostly moot point. (And just to be clear, I'm not pro-Lucic here. I don't 100% believe he couldn't have let up and avoided or minimized the collision, but I think as Miller was the one who unequivocally saw this hit coming, he had a responsibility to react intelligently.)
Now, here's the part where I disclaim some bias: I've been pretty irritated with Crunchy lately and feel like he's been acting like a bit of a baby. He seems sorta sour and crankier than usual. Maybe marriage doesn't suit him.
The bottom line is that I think some of the onus is on the goalies to protect themselves. The scenario as I saw it seemed pretty logical and predictable, other than the part where Miller just stood there like a sacred cow and got slaughtered.
Anyway, I hope the goalie gods don't smite me tonight in my women's league game. Also, apologies for not writing here in a long while. My weekly posts at TheScore and SBNation pretty much drain all the writing I have time for right out of me.
If you haven't been keeping up with my Backhand Shelf stuff, here's an archive of all of them so far: http://blogs.thescore.com/nhl/author/msconduct/ Thanks for reading!
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
I have lots of words in me, but sometimes I just don't feel like I can adequately express how grateful I am to get to play hockey. Or to just have hockey in my life at all, but playing it seems to create my most heartfelt moments.
But I can try...
I don't know anything in life that would make my heart feel as full as hockey does. There was a time, early in my goaltending career, where I went to the rink nearly in a panic, worried about being judged, misunderstood, talked about behind my back if I didn't play well.
And it wasn't paranoia. It actually went on. I heard I was called lazy, I thought I was better than I was, I was cocky, I wasn't trying.
When really, I was new, never been any kind of athlete ever (learning to play one of the hardest, most unnatural positions in sports), scared, intimidated, while still trying to have some light-hearted fun. I wasn't learning the right things for them at the pace they wanted me to learn them, but as I've come to understand, you just can't push learning curves. It takes the time it takes.
But I spent a lot of time and energy feeling the angst of being misunderstood in the beginning. Maybe it's something I had to go through to get to the happy place I'm at now, but it still eats at me sometimes. I look back with a degree of bitterness that it had to be that way for so long.
Now, however, I may not make everybody happy, but I'm happy. My heart is FULL when I drive home from Sugar Land each week. And my game is better for it. I'm loose, I'm glad to be there (generally), it's a pleasure to go to the rink.
Granted, I've had a lot to learn from a mental perspective since I started playing, and that's part of it, but whatever the case, it's an incredible relief to feel like I belong somewhere. The crush of teammates at my net after wins is, quite possibly, the most rewarding thing ever.
I mean, I play for me. I love to play and I think goalies are super important and I'm pretty cocky out there, feeling like the world revolves around me if the puck is on my half of the ice. But at the end of the day, all I really want is my team to be happy with me. If I feel like I've got that, then I can sleep at night. The rest of it is just me psyching myself up and doing what I need to do to get in the right state of mind.
Anyway, all this is just to say that our team (which was, I believe, 0-5 or 1-5 to start the season) won the championship last night. I honestly thought we might never win a game at one point, and that was okay, because I liked my teammates, but it's a lot more fun to win. :)
It wasn't my best game, or even close to it, really, but they had a couple of neutral observers there to watch the game and choose an MVP (since our commish was playing in the game)... and well, they chose me. Which is silly. My girls scored 6 goals and we needed all of them. But I saw a few shots, made a few saves, nothing spectacular, and 2 of my goals were a bit crummy.
But still, the recognition was a total shock and much appreciated. I did the whole pageant winner thing of, "Wha? Me? *tear* Really? *skating over* Seriously? Thank you! Am I dreaming?" with hugs from my teammates along the way. Surreal.
I wish I were cool enough to act like I've been there, but I really haven't and I'm not cool, so I'm just going to geek over it for a while longer.
But what really felt the best about it was just being on a team that likes me beyond what I can do for them in the crease. We have fun together and make each other laugh and when it comes down to it, isn't that what rec hockey is about?
There's a lot of people I wish I could just take them by the shoulders and look them in the eyes and say, "Stop judging people and just enjoy playing the game." But it wouldn't be any of my girls. They already get that and that's why I love 'em.
Sunday, October 9, 2011
This week felt like 3 weeks waiting on "my day" to post on Backhand Shelf, but it's finally here!
I wrote about how, just because I like to look at hockey players asses, that I'm not entirely unserious about hockey. And how there are lots of more gals in the same boat. So get off your damn judgmental high-horses about us, judgey people!
Anyway, here ya go. Please check it out and, hopefully, have a laugh or two: http://blogs.thescore.com/nhl/2011/10/09/tea-with-ms-conduct-the-bunny-conundrum/
One of the awesome things about this gig is that they have a Getty subscription, so I did a search on "hockey goalie stretching" and got 10 pages of goalie porn. Holy hell.
So you can pretty well count on goalie porn pretty much every week. Yay!
Monday, October 3, 2011
It's here! It's here!
Super excited that the new blog has come to life over at theScore.ca and encourage you to go check it out and make it part of your regular hockey reading routine.
The fabulous Justin Bourne writes most of it, so you know it's going to have his characteristic wit and the experience of having "been there" as a pro player.
I'll be posting every other Sunday starting this Sunday, with periodic other posts as the fancy strikes me. It really is a dream come true to basically get paid to just be funny about hockey.
I remember Justin and I talking at least 2 years ago about how great it would be to have a hockey blog that features a more irreverent take on the game. All the funniest hockey writers in one spot. So I'm happy to see that dream come to fruition, at least somewhat, for Justin, because he's worked awfully hard for it, and I am completely honored to be involved.
So, please come check it out, get involved in the comments, etc. Should be good fun.
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
I have a lot to say tonight and THANKFULLY I've got that dreaded curse of rec hockey: The adrenaline rush that won't. go. away.
There's nothing else like this, in my experience. You're just so ON while you're playing, that it takes hours to turn it OFF. No matter how tired your body and mind are, there's that second layer of energy pumping in your veins that always wins the insomnia game.
It's the trade-off for all the fun we have out there.
So, I might as well write some shit while I'm lolling around here waiting on the sandman.
Victory from the jaws of defeat
Women's league was strange tonight. I was a black hole out there for 39 minutes. LITERALLY waved at a puck that was a good shot but I could see it all the way, knew it was coming, watched it zip over the worthless sack of leather I call a glove. "Hi!" "Bye!" "Fuck."
The other team was quite mean to me though, hacking at me all night. I think we play them again next week when the playoffs start. We can kill penalties if we need to.
Anyway, like I was saying, I played like a sack of rotting meat, letting in 4 goals on not a ton of shots, while the other goalie was playing lights out and really only getting beat on really great chances.
I had to talk myself out of tears at one point, but one of the many great things about my team is that we have a lot of former goalies, so they instinctively knew what I needed. The occasional out-of-their-way visit to commiserate, make me laugh, pad tap, whatever, all kept me going and got me back to my "stop the next puck" mantra, which is where I should have gone when I started feeling rattled.
But I was rattled, so of course, I didn't think of that.
We were down 4-3 with less than a minute on the clock and my girl, M, was working her can off trying to get her third goal of the night and tie it up. She finally succeeded and the game went to a shootout. yay.
But after my last shootout success, I was feeling okay about it. And after all that hacking, I was delighted to get the opportunity to stuff them and get the win.
Fortunately, we got one or two goals in (I tried not to worry too much about the actual score... so much that I grabbed my water bottle and started to head to the bench before the shootout was over... oops!) and I stopped all their shots. Strained a groin to get one of them and it was worth it. I'll smile every time I feel that pain down my inner thigh (I'm lying. I go, "Oww!")
So, it was strange in that a) I played so badly but b) I redeemed that bad play (thanks to my team giving me the opportunity to do so) in the shootout of all things. I'll take it, but better play in regulation would certainly have been preferable.
I saw a tweet today, in light of Wayne Simmonds' homosexual slur against Sean Avery during a game, that the NHL is sending a notice to players that such slurs will now be a callable penalty during games.
My response was, "Oh NHL, stop being so knee-jerk."
Someone questioned me on what I meant by that. What I meant by that was that I get the feeling the league kinda has its panties in a wad. Shanny is dishing out heavy suspensions DAILY. Sometimes multiple times daily. And now they're wanting to penalize how guys chirp each other on the ice.
That's not to say I condone hate speech in any forum. But the notion of my NHLers, who are rough and tumble, emotional, reactionary, and basically required to be INsensitive (both to survive their jobs and to execute them) having to think, "How will this language make my opponent feel?" before they say anything just... feels... I dunno. Wrong.
I don't want players to be automatons out there. It just feels more appropriate to me to work on some cultural sensitivity for the guys and trust them to make positive decisions. Maybe I'm being a hippy dippy goofball but it's a place to start, right? It would serve them well both on and off the ice to not be quite so boorish (or at least learn to hide it so they don't make fools of themselves), but to make it a rulebook penalty offense... come on.
(Now go read Nick in New York's case for the NHL's actions and my further clarification in his comments.)
Did I mention I have a new gig this season? I'll be contributing to a new hockey blog over on TheScore.ca (yeah, my dumb Texan ass is writing about hockey on a Canadian web site--that doesn't have disaster written all over it, does it?)
Justin Bourne is the new bossman over there, and he's a swell guy and thinks I'm funny and said to just "do your thing." Ohhhh lawsy, careful what you wish for, Bourneo. "And today, with another post on what a sexy beast Barry Brust is..."
Anyway, the new blog is called Backhand Shelf, which I'm pretty annoyed by and wasted no time giving Bourney some shit about it. Then again, me writing for a blog named after a move that routinely burns the best of goalies and is guaranteed to burn me, is probably quite appropriate.
Not sure what this means for my other writing. The nature of the opportunity automagically makes it take precedent over most other things. I need to do some soul searching (and quickly) on what this means for the rest of my writing.
Regardless, there's a lot of potential for fun here, so I'm honored to be included and excited to get going. (Now accepting story ideas!)
Things that have thrilled me lately (seriously, this adrenaline just won't quit tonight):
- My new house. You envision living in a place when you decide to buy it, but this has exceeded expectations. I love it. Now if someone would PLEASE just buy our old one. *sigh*
- Finding a hockey player who didn't go to college, in fact is actually still in junior, but can WRITE. And not to knock the college boys I've seen churn out some solid articles, but they tend to be a little stiff and lacking a real voice. But one of the kids who tried out with the Wild this camp, Taylor Peters, has a real gift. Fresh and lively and unabashed in his enthusiasm for writing: a true word nerd. And such confidence, as well. For a young guy, it's remarkable. Check him out.
- Buying rugs. I fucking LOVE area rugs. And having an new house without a speck of carpet means I get to buy several, and moreover, just shop for them constantly.
- Hummus. It never gets old. (No, not hummers. Though those probably don't get old either. At least for the hummee.)
- The hockey road trip MrC and I have planned in a few weeks. Basically if a team plays anywhere near Lake Erie, we're going to a game. Every day for a week and a half a new city and a new game, except for the day Mr.C goes to the NFL game at Rogers Centre between the Redskins and Bills while I go to the HHOF and a game in Oshawa (giant Clutterbuck mural FTW!) It's going to be either a huge blast or a huge grind. Not sure which yet. Maybe both.
Thursday, September 15, 2011
Back when I was just coming out of my funk, I was thinking I should create a Goalieometer – a visual reference akin to the Department of Homeland Security Terror Threat Alert, to indicate where my head is at in goal.
I didn’t have time until yesterday, while waiting around the new house for phone and internet to get installed. Behold….
I’ve spent the last 6 months or so in at the Sad Blue or Shit Brown levels with the occasional foray into Cautiously Optimistic Green. But the last couple of weeks, I’ve been ramping up to Sunshine Yellow and after Tuesday night’s women’s league game, I’m spiked into Code Red for a day or so.
While I have come back down to earth, it was still a bitchin' game. We won 4-3 in a shootout, which is the first shootout I've won since my first one two seasons ago. I was absolutely dreading the next one.
But the shootout itself ended up going 1-0, with one of our girls scoring and none of theirs. I believe this team was, heretofore, undefeated, so that's even cooler.
I've mentioned the girl I call Buffalo Socks. Pretty sure she's not a fan of Ms.Conduct. Normally I get freaked out if I think someone doesn't like me, and it has certainly happened in certain hockey circles back in my "learning sportsmanship" days. But for some reason, this one just fuels me. The crankier she gets, the more delighted I am.
So when she got a big, nasty breakaway on me during the game and I came out and met her at the puck at the hash marks and she ran over me and went flying into the corner? Well, let's say it didn't improve her feelings for me.
Unfortunately, she still scored, sliding the puck past me right before we collided. But apart from that small negative, it was all very Brusty-like. I'm sure I was a little bit inspired by this:
Things only got worse for the Buffalo Socks/Ms.Conduct relationship when she was shooter #5 in the shootout, the game in the balance (though thank god I don't keep count very well and wasn't sure where we were in the shoot out).
She skated out to center ice and I said, flush with the confidence of 4 straight saves, "Bring it, Buffalo Socks." She brought it. Came in tight, tried to deke and get me down early. Didn't work. Pad save. Teammates pouring over the bench to come hug me. Warm fuzzies. Life is PERFECT for a few hours.
I guess that's what amazes me about hockey. After games like that, you literally could tell me I'm dying and I'd be like, "Well, it was a good run. Let's drink!" I can't think of anything that is so wholly satisfying as a big win in which I played a critical role (as opposed to winning in spite of me, which has happened plenty).
It was a beautiful night and we just hung out and chatting outside the restaurant after the game and enjoyed the warm breezes and hanging with the girls. Just a great night all the way around.
Also, generally, my best games have come when I was sort of dreading or annoyed about having to play, but this was the first game where I was excited to play AND still had a good result. That, too, is a pretty nice feeling.
Next week we play the team against whom we had "the incident" a couple of weeks ago. M is back (had two of our goals this week) and maybe a little shell shocked by the whole affair still, so it will be interesting to see how that plays out. I hope everyone can just put it behind them, at least on the surface, and we can just beat them clean this time. ;)
Meanwhile, house stuff is coming along quickly. Windows, phone, internet are in. DTV on Friday. And then moving in next Thursday. At least mostly. The only room that won't be furnished is, sadly, the hockey room. But we wanted to leave some furniture to stage the house we're still selling.
So, it will be a glorious day when we get the house sold because it means we won't have 2 houses any more and I will finally get my precious hockey room where I can snuggle in at night and watch hockey until I'm sick of it. Heaven!
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
So much tragedy has befallen the hockey community this summer, it's nearly impossible to believe. I know I haven't written about it here because so many other people have written more and better about these things than I can.
Especially when it's been individuals. I haven't known any of them personally, so while the losses are heartbreaking, what can I really say that hasn't been said? I cried many times over Boogie. I didn't know him, but I know and care about so many who did. He was such a fun part of my journey to becoming a Wild fan.
But the plane crash today is different. The scale of the tragedy is truly epic in the sporting world. Team planes just don't fall out of the sky like this. Imagine your favorite team, who once filled a locker room with chirps and laughter, filled the ice with intensity and passion. Gone. In an instant. The whole team. It's nearly inconceivable.
I will admit, my first clear thought when I discovered the news and processed it for a few seconds was, "Thank GOD Brusty didn't go to Russia." In fact, it might have been one of only a few clear thoughts I've had on the accident all day.
The other being Russo's comment about how hard this summer has been for Gaborik. Losing two of his best friends so young. Poor guy. My heart aches for him.
Logically, my heart aches for everyone who knew these men, of course, but that's too much heartache to bear. I can't even imagine it. So I pick my spots, I guess. The other people I think about are the team staffers who weren't on the trip. Who knew each man, both player and coach and staff, on that plane. Can you imagine being one of the ones left behind? The thought is absolutely gutting.
But if we hadn't been reminded enough this summer to LIVE, this ought to do it. Enjoy life. Do things that make your heart burst with joy as often as possible. Get over your fears. Appreciate the mundane shit. Appreciate the humor in the human condition. Find the good.
We mourn the loss of these men because life is grand and they were a vibrant part of so many lives.
I hope this upcoming season isn't about getting back to "normal" but is about embracing this thing that brings us all together and just flat out getting after it. Play balls out, write balls out, cheer balls out. Why not?
Decidedly less drama tonight at women's league, which I was grateful
for, to be honest. Though I do think the incident last week finally kind
of gelled the team, and gave us a solid "us against them" mentality that's scrappy and fun to be around.
It took me a while, but I adore this team. A great mix of personalities, but overall, everyone is lively and funny and fierce. It's all about tone at the top though, and our captain sets it well. I love playing for and with her, and I love being in her locker room.
It's so nice to be in love with the game again. And I look back over the year and look at where I went off the tracks and the only thing I can really pin down is when goalie clinics started up at the beginning of the summer, through Camp Brusty.
My uncoachability is well documented, but to me, this just cements it. Coaching suffocates my game. Not because it's poor quality coaching but because it buries my instincts, which are decent but they're a bit fragile, for lack of a better word. It doesn't take much to undermine my confidence in a way that takes me a long time to get it back.
When I'm going through periods where I'm being coached or critiqued, whoooooooosh, it all goes out the window. All I hear are voices in my head. All I see are goalies who are light years better than me. All I feel is my confidence, however undeserved, draining out the vent holes in my skates.
So, no more thinking. No more coaching. Stop the next puck.
That said, we lost again tonight, 4-2. But I got hammered. 34 shots in a 39 minute game. I did math (okay, I'm lying, I found a web site that did the math for me) and it would have been roughly 52 shots in a regular 60 minute game.
Letting in 4 on 34 doesn't feel too awful to me. Two were screens, one I literally have no idea how it went in, and the other was a terrible goal. Soft shot, didn't have my stick on the ice, and just wasn't set for the shot. Went right through me. Awful.
But it's a game I can't feel badly about at all. I worked hard and so did my girls, so we deemed it a moral victory. :)
That's it for me this week, hockey-wise. After working hard at the new house all the long weekend, things are very light on that front until next week when a bunch of shit happens bang bang bang. New windows installed Tuesday (YAY!), phone/internet going in on Wednesday, and DTV on Thursday. Phew! Very excited and it's really starting to feel like ours.
Now if someone would please just buy our current house, that would be super terrific.
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
So, I'm not gonna lie. I've been in the dumps about my game lately. Like, as way down in the dumps as I've ever been. I've dreaded coming to the rink. I've had to lie to myself that hockey is fun. I was to the point of wondering what's next for me and how much could I get for selling my pads.
Of course, every time I think about that, I eventually get to, "Well, you still have to get exercise, so you'll have to ... Zumba or some shit. And that will make you want to throw yourself in front of a bus. So you might as well man up and keep playing hockey even though you suck."
But occasionally the hockey gods throw a girl a bone and let my body do what I want it to do on the ice. And that results in a good game. Tonight, the good game, combined with good games all around by my teammates, who are rock stars, resulted in my second ever shutout.
I love that word: shutout. Shutout. Shutoutshutoutshutoutshutoutttttttttttt.....
You don't even know (unless you've struggled in net for months on end like I have lately) how much I needed that. I'll stop well short of saying I got my mojo back, but at the very least, it gives me a little hope that maybe I'm okay out there. Maybe I'm not a complete joke like I've been feeling I am. Occasionally, I can git 'er done, even with my meager capabilities.
Also, a "I don't really mean it, but yeah, I kinda do" middle finger at the score keeper for being extremely stingy with the shot count at both ends, but perhaps he was too busy tallying penalty minutes to see all the pucks I kept out of the net?
Because, yeah buddy, did the minutes ever rack up tonight, culminating in some nastiness that's going to leave a bad taste in a lot of mouths for a long time.
I should explain, for the boys, that women's league isn't like your league. You know how your wife brings up "that thing" you fucked up 10 years ago, when you've LONG since moved on? Yeah, that happens in women's league, too.
Bitches Hold Grudges.
Yeah, I know I'm painting in wide brush strokes here but I see it again and again. Something that happened between two women players 7 years ago still affects how players deal with each other today. That's just how it is.
Hell, I do it, too. I've been harassing one guy I played with all of twice for over-celebrating after scoring on me nearly a year and a half ago. I'll never forget it.
That said, generally women's league is chummy and full of laughter and opposing teammates hugging it out after mild indiscretions.
But tonight, things got a little beyond mild indiscretion. It was far and away the most drama I've ever seen in this league, so I'm guaranteeing that it will linger in the history of the league way longer than it should.
So, we have this gal, M, who is VERY good. Teenager, but tall, strong, and did I mention, VERY good.
She pisses off the other teams with her skill, and even though she tones it way down for women's league, occasionally she takes off, dances through the entire opposing team, and puts one on the net and nobody in this league really has an answer for her. So, more often than not, it goes in. Some people find that to be unsporting in this league.
But I've been shown up enough to know that EVERY team is okay with it if the girl is on THEIR team. So I call bullshit on that. There's a 3 goal limit per person for a reason. Bring it on.
Anyway, we're early in the third period and M and some opposing girl got a little tangled up (why anybody would tangle with M is pretty amazing to me... credit to the girl for her stones).
I guess opposing girl didn't like what went down and (this is the point where I notice the two of them to the right of my net) mouthed off in M's face, somewhat aggressively.
And M cross-checked her right in the grill.
Did I mention M is a strong motherfucker? Yeah. Pushed the chin of her cage into her throat, which of course, had people thinking M cross checked her in the throat. She didn't. She clearly hit cage from my perspective.
She went down in a heap and the ref (who, if I'm understanding this correctly, is the girl's husband) threw M out of the game and gave us a 5 min major.
I gotta admit a few things:
- I suck at injury stuff. Medical trauma makes me light headed and sick. And to see somebody quite injured right next to my net? Yeah, I had to go for a skate at center ice. The other goalie and I had a chat while they attended to the girl, and considered throwing down the gloves just for fun, since we were already at center ice together and now our teams had a "beef."
- I was rattled when the puck was ready to drop again. The longer I went in the game with no goals against, the more I kept having to shut out the "shutout" mental talk and just say, "STOP THE NEXT PUCK" over and over. Well, that kicked into overdrive when play resumed because I was still feeling out of sorts both due to the ill will that had just instantly bloomed during our friendly game. Also, because I felt like this team was PISSED and would throw sportsmanship out the window and just come at me like angry honeybadgers.
And there it was: BZZZZZZ. One of my defensemen turned around and darted over to me and hugged me and I'm all "YEAH! WOOO!" because, like, that's how I felt. :) YEAH!!! WOOOO!!!!
I fucking love being the winning goalie. It's been way too long since I had a piece of that pie. It is still delicious.
So, I guess I won't take up knitting or skydiving or whatever just yet.
Meanwhile, M is suspended next week, which sucks, but I actually think it's the right thing. As much as M isn't a dirty player, you just can't be cross checking other girls in the face. (Though she explained that it was more of a response to feeling threatened by the girl, who she felt was coming at her.)
In the end, I'm reminded of why I'm glad I'm the goalie. There's a certain distance as the tendy. You exist on the fringes of whatever shit happens between skaters most of the time, so I tend to watch this stuff and whatever shitstorm of fallout comes with it, with detached amusement.
All I know is I need to try and stop the next puck.
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
I feel like I should post something, but I don't have a lot to say over here lately. I've been playing, but poorly, and it's not much fun lately. Monday games have been a bit of a chore. Women's league, we're 0-5, and it's not like we have a bad team, so... maybe it's the goalie?
I dunno. I'm just in the dumps and not enjoying the game much and, even worse, not caring very much. I feel like I've lost my edge, mentally. I feel disconnected from the games I'm playing, almost like an observer more than a participant. Maybe it's a self-defense thing since I've been letting in so many goals. That's not really ME out there, is it?
Whatever the case, things are just off -- WAY off -- and as much as it's not fun to play right now, it's even less fun to dwell about it here.
Maybe I'm just missing some inspiration, and hopefully the hockey season will get that back for me and get me excited watching real goalies do their thing again. Maybe I miss my muse. Who am I kidding? I definitely do. But nothing I can do about that.
Fortunately, life isn't all work, suck at hockey, and sleep. We closed on the new house last Monday and it's been nonstop doing things around the house to spiff it up. A stream of estimates on windows, paint, electrical, moving. Updating the awful gold fixtures with sleek nickel ones. And a lot more.
I'm really in my element and having a lot of fun with the work. In fact, I call it play, so I guess it's not work at all. Thankfully, I am having fun and success at something, even if it's not hockey.
So, that's the state of the union, and since this isn't a house remodeling blog, that's why it's quiet and will probably stay that way for a bit longer.
Off-ice hockey stuff is spiking a bit this week, as Wednesday night, I'm doing a "hockey tutoring" session at the Leaf (naturally) with @AGirlintheSouth, author of Tales from the Juice Box, an Astros blog.
She's a baseball girl, but she wants to learn about hockey, which is pretty cool and I'm happy to help however I can. Especially if there's beer and the Jays are on.
Then on Thursday, I'll be back at the Leaf for free cheesecake. Oh, and to meet the new Aeros coaching staff and president. But mainly for free cheesecake. I'll have to replace a lot of gold door hinges to work that off, but it will be worth it.
Meanwhile, Major is sitting here next to me, farting up a storm and I can't take it any more, so I'm out. Sticks on the ice, my darlings.
Speaking of muses...
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
Ahhh, feeling like myself again in nets. Meaning, the more frequently I play, the more I'm on a roller coaster. Monday night, I was happy with my game. It was one of those "drive home with the windows down and music blasting" kinda nights.
Didn't do anything spectacular, but I just felt like I got some saves I wouldn't have normally and my confidence was good and I was seeing the puck well. I haven't felt good about that ice time in a long while.
But tonight at women's league... yuck. We lost again. 3-0. The bright side is that I got to see Kelly get her first ever shutout. I told her it's WAY too early in her career as a goalie to be getting a shutout, but she earned it. She doesn't remotely look like she's only been playing a few months.
Strong skater and good positioning. She's a natural. Which is kinda irksome for me. :) Damn rookie making it look so easy... ;) Seriously though, she's cool, she battled for it, and I'm happy for her.
I didn't feel too bad about the goals against and really, unless I was going to get a shutout, too, we still would have lost. But I do like my team a lot. They work hard and stick up for each other when things get a little unsportsmanlike out there, as it tends to sometimes.
Oooo, speaking of which... Not-Brusty rescued my night by being awesome at just the right moment. Not-Brusty, if you recall, is the goalie who has Brusty's old pads and therefore inspires a little panty-soup-by-proxy. Helps that he's quite good at stopping pucks.
Well, tonight, as I was leaving after a little beer and pizza, I stopped behind his net to watch the B league boys play a bit. So he gets a shot from near the bottom of the circle and bobbles it a little on the ice trying to cover it. The shooter comes up and starts whacking at his glove, trying to free the puck. And I'm thinking, "OOOO BITCH IS ABOUT TO GIT IT."
And indeed, Not-Brusty JUMPS up and starts shoving the guy, all pissed off, and his d-man joins as the ref starts to break it up.
I'm glad he didn't turn around and see the GIANT grin on my face watching that. It was probably a little creepy. But that was hot and he's now been elevated from Not-Brusty to Brusty Jr. :) Didn't know what you were getting when you shelled out for those pads, eh? Haha.
I mean, really, it triggered some kind of primal response, right? Here's a tall guy, good goalie, wearing Brusty's pads, and then defending his crease? Oh my lord. THE BUTTON, YOU HAVE PRESSED IT.
So, that redeemed a disappointing night in goal (though women's league is always fun regardless because I like the gals so much) and I kinda got my hot goalie itch scratched, rec-style.
Tomorrow night, I'm on the ice with the Harpies. Just a little 3 in 3 since Mr.C is out of town. As stupid hot as Memorial City is, I kind of enjoy that they have tables around the end of the ice where random Mall People just hang around and eat their Mall Cookies or whatever and watch us play.
It lights a fire under me because I know they see my ponytail sticking out and I feel like I've gotta sorta represent women's hockey and play well against these big guys with hard shots. :) If I can get one more person to say, "Wow, a girl goalie? That's cool!" than to say, "Oh, that poor girl. She sucks." then I'm calling it:
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
I've been doing some "research" on Twitter, following various professional athletes who are either:
- On my teams
- Funny or otherwise interesting, as in potentially a trainwreck, or
- Just plain good at Twitter
So I follow all these guys and they tweet crap about the fish they're catching or how cute their dog is or whatever, but they also are performance machines. And naturally, with any performance machine, fuel is a big source of interest to them.
As such, we get lots of pictures of whatever they're eating or tweets like one from Mark Dekanich last night telling us what he had for dinner:
Taking Romeo for a nice, long walk then having dinner. Jerk chicken with broccoli and asparagus tonight.Broccoli and asparagus, y'all. For a SIDE. And there wasn't even a tweet after that saying, "Chocolate ice cream for dessert to make up for only having broccoli and asparagus with my chicken!"
I love hockey players but I could not fucking live with one. Mix in a goddamn potato. Also, asparagus is nasty, I don't care how you cook it.
Now, it appears Dex is one of the more... um... uptight about his eating habits but it does seem like hockey players in general are pretty obsessed with body fat and too often really act like girls (of the annoying, princessy variety) about their eating habits and their lean figures.
All the more reason I love guys who don't fit that mold. They seem like you could have a meal with them and you wouldn't have to sit there and watch them pick the 8 pieces of shredded cheese and all the croutons out of the salad with fat free dressing on the side. For christ's sake, be a man. You'll burn that shit off in your sleep tonight with all that muscle.
Baseball players, on the other hand, (and mind you, the Blue Jays are my only research sample), seem to eat like relatively sane people. They have pancakes for breakfast! Breakfast sandwiches from Starbucks! STEAK and lots of it, if you're Travis Snider.
And they seem to feel no guilt about it whatsoever. I think in hundreds of food related tweets from my Jays, I've seen two where a less interesting, more hockey-player-esque diet was mentioned (and in those cases, I assumed the account had been hacked).
If you're not sold yet, look at what Ricky Romero's girlfriend (*ahem* MISS USA) made him for dinner. Meat and heart-shaped potatoes, baby. And did he panic about his ass getting bigger? No. He chowed down and then went to bed with MISS USA (who probably had lean meat, broccoli, and asparagus for dinner).
On the flip side, however, baseball players don't ever seem to knock back the booze with quite as much abandon, on as quite a regular basis, as hockey players.
Maybe my Jays are just more discreet about it, but even the well-behaved hockey players talk about the occasional night out. And having been around hockey more, I hear some pretty great stories and have seen a bit of it myself. It's no surprise to me that the Flyers' "Dry Island" scheme didn't work.
And really, who'd want it to? Drunk hockey boys are pure fun. And the Flyers sucking is also fun.
Drunk baseball players evoke visions of a nasty gongshow of chew and sunflower seeds in places you don't want them.
The conclusion I draw is that if I'm looking to drink myself into oblivion, gimme a hockey player. But if I want to break bread, give me a baseball player every time.
It's not a "who's better" or "who's worse" kinda judgement really. Just a "if I had a choice, here's my choice" judgement.
Naturally, I wouldn't pass up the opportunity to eat with hockey players or drink with baseball players, and maybe my little theory here would be proven quite wrong. In fact, I'm happily accepting all offers to drink and/or eat with any pro hockey and/or pro baseball players. SCIENCE!
Oh, hey there!
You know what sucks? Not having my Monday night drop-in.
You know why? Because I stink up the first period at Women's League on Tuesday after not seeing a shot for a week.
A least it was only 3 goals last night instead of 4 like the week before. Maybe next week we can hold 'em back and get a win and get that ugly 0 out of the win column. :\
But yeah, first period, I stunk. Wasn't seeing the puck well, wasn't moving well (even for me), was antsy and unsure of myself. I was terrible in warmups and usually that lights a fire under me and my game ends up okay.
Not last night! Things started to finally pick up about midway through the second, and in the third, I played MUCH better and stopped lots of shots.
My captain actually helped me a ton by pointing out one of their better players and how she almost NEVER passes the puck. They had a lot of good players so this gal wasn't really sticking out for me, but she had several good chances in the third period and I was ready for her. She passed once the whole period and telegraphed it so hard, I was ready.
So there's a tip for you skaters, at least if you're playing against me: If you're dressed sort of non-distinctively, like no loud colors or unusual socks or bright green laces or red breezers or whatever, I'm not going to necessarily pin down your tendencies as well as someone who stands out visually.
It's funny though, my captain was trying to tell me who she was and she was telling me about her helmet. And I'm like, "Yeah, I don't see heads. I see socks and down." She finally had to point her out to me during play. "Oh! Buffalo Socks!" And lo and behold... shot, shot, shot from that girl. Yeah, bring that on, honey.
Save of the night was against one of my favorite girls from my team last season (which I'm still not over that I have to play AGAINST my teammates. I'm hardwired toward loyalty, especially since I really loved that team, so I don't adjust quickly to that change.)
She's a VERY good French-Canadian player and honestly, as good as she is, I've never seen her embarrass a goalie. She could easily dance around our D and deke us into next Sunday, but she dials it back and plays within the context of the league while still playing hard. I don't know how she finds that balance, but she really does.
Anyway, that said, she came in on a short breakaway on my blocker side looking for a hole short side. I don't give her one, so she comes across the top of the crease and tries to poke it 5-hole as I'm pushing across.
DENIED. Ooooo, baby, that's how it's supposed to work! Got a big "AWWW!" from her and then a pat on the shoulder for a good save. Told her, "I honestly thought you had me." But nope. Snagged it just inside my knee stacks. Phew! Save of the game!
Nice to finish the game on a good note.
Even better is that the hottie league plays after us on Tuesday nights. It's like B level guys and they're all young and foxy and move nicely on the ice. My Brusty-pads goalie plays that league, too, so double-bonus for me! If you're looking for some foxy hockey action to scratch your Aeros itch, get down to SLICE on Tuesday nights. Rawr!
That's it for me and hockey for the week. Apart from that, mostly my life revolves around vacuuming and dusting my house almost constantly (thanks, dog) and getting paperwork/vendors/utilities/etc. ready for the new house to close in a little less than 3 weeks.
I'll be really glad when we're moved into the new house and I'm not constantly on Dog Fur Watch here in the house we're trying to sell. Gotten lots of positive feedback on the place though, so I feel good that we'll find someone who loves it as much as we have sooner than later.
Here's to the government not fucking the whole thing up with their shenanigans. Idiots.
Monday, July 18, 2011
I really need to find a way to make money writing humorous-but-dirty stuff about hockey players. I feel like it's my calling. Some day I'll write a super-trashy hockey novel and make all my hockey girlfriends read it, but somehow keep Mr. C from reading it. He'd be scarred for life.
My latest picks for the 5-Hole Fantasy League are particularly scandalous and another former B-Sens player, Jason Bailey, falls prey to my affections. I know they won the Calder Cup and all, but really, their GM should be applauded for assembling one of the handsomest teams in the history of the league.
Here's the article and I have to say, Jason was a good sport about it and loved the article. He's a fox and a gentleman (hopefully not TOO much of a gentleman though...)
So currently my team, the Johnson City Sausagemen, looks like this:
Goalies: Barry Brust (C), Alex Stalock, Joey MacDonald
Forwards: Mikko Koivu (A), Cal Clutterbuck, Jason Bailey
D-Men: Michael Del Zotto, Clayton Stoner, Roman Josi
IceMen: Travis Snider, Drew Barrymore, Lyle Overbay
OMG, I love them so much. Once all my picks are done, I'm gonna photoshop a team photo together. That's gonna be epic.
Women's league starts back up tomorrow. Super excited. I have the same captain as last season, and I adore her and her partner, so that's comforting for me. Haven't played with any of my other teammates before, but a little birdy tells me it's a good group of gals.
The teams are named after space shuttles and we're Discovery. Oooo.....
It'll just be awesome to play a game that matters again for the first time since April when we won the championship.
Since Mr.C is set to be out of town, I'm jumping on the ice with the Harpies Wednesday, too. Enjoy playing with that group quite a lot and don't do it more because a) I prefer to play for free and b) they built a friggin' Cheesecake Factory next to the quiet, mostly-ignored corner of the mall parking lot right by the back door to the rink. So suddenly you're parking a quarter mile away, unless you get lucky, and then dragging your gear from and to your car. Not cool, Memorial City Mall. Not. Cool.
Genius idea for the day is a hockey valet service there. Drop your gear off at the door, they keep an eye on it while you go park in BFE. And the reverse when you leave for the night. Yeah? GENIUS. Or I may be a total candy-ass... or both.
Sunday, July 17, 2011
I can climb down off my pins and needles now.
I have to say, it's not really the answer I wanted. In my sweet dreams, he signed with San Antonio. :) But that'll just have to be a dream, as Brusty has signed with the Straubing Tigers of the DEL.
Nothing but good wishes, naturally, to Barry and Los Tigres. I'm particularly amused that brust in German is "breast." So, the translations that include his name are pretty hilarious. Ohhh, Breasty....
My mission when the season starts is, naturally, to find some fantastic online feed of their games so I can watch him. I'll do my best to have a little update here now and again when I can figure out what's going on. Saw on the Tigers' Facebook page that fans have already found the KennedySMASH video and are fully on board with the signing. As they should be. Lucky bastards. *sigh*
Auf Wiedersehen und viel Glück!
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Okay, feeling better since my last post. I've spent nearly every minute since then getting our house ready to put on the market. It's been a ton of work but I feel so much better having most of it done. Only about, um, 30 things left on my to-do list. Ha!
No hockey last week, and now my Monday night group is canceled for the month due to low attendance. I'm hoping the cancellation will light a fire under the skaters going forward so they understand if they don't act and it looks like the session won't make budget for the month, they're SOL.
Much to my chagrin, without drop-in, I have no excuse not to do goalie clinic. But it was actually really good last night.
Best part was that we kinda did our own warm-up, not a bunch of movement that had my legs burning before we even started. So I actually felt much fresher and better for the drills and got a lot more out of them.
What's really fun is seeing the goalies who did Camp Brusty and how excited they are about what they learned. As much as I say I only did that to get to ogle Brusty for a week, I have to admit, seeing their progress and enthusiasm is really gratifying.
I hung out with one of the other PFGS Houston goalies and a defenseman-skater who helped shoot at camp in the parking lot after working on some positioning stuff. It's fun to just talk shop, especially with a more experienced goalie and really thoughtful defenseman.
It's funny to me how intensely, deeply humbling goaltending is. Especially learning as an adult. Especially when you're the sort of adult who's not really faced a lot of adversity. *raises hand* Like, last night, I haven't skated since camp and I step on the ice and my skate doesn't move across the ice. It was like I'd stepped on the ice with spikes on instead of skates.
So, of course, I face plant HARD. Water bottle goes flying. I sit up and look at my skate blades to see what the fuck is wrong with them. Nothing. Just something weird with the ice right there (someone in skater skates said they got stuck right there, too).
Sure, it was a little embarrassing but old Ms. Conduct would have been blushing and cringing for days over that. New Ms.Conduct just got up, rounded up her water bottle, and carried on. Honestly didn't think about it again until just now. Hey, everybody's hit a rut and face-planted at some point if they've spent enough time on the ice.
Seems like a silly thing to ever have been mortally embarrassed about but I would have been for sure. I guess I never did anything before hockey that I wasn't pretty naturally good at from the outset. I've never had to fail so much and keep finding the will to come back again and again.
I guess it's a lot like golf. Except for the part where there's a team depending on you to not suck. That's the hard part, eh? :)
Hey, look at the new necklace I got!
Awwww. :) You can have one, too.
Thursday, July 7, 2011
I have this theory that people who need lots of pithy, inspirational quotes in their lives are, deep down, the most miserable.
Of course, they generally seem like balanced, happy people, so I think my theory is probably bullshit, but it makes me feel better for rolling my eyes at their pearls of wisdom.
I'm not remotely a miserable person, even though I think some people think I am if they don't know me well. Mostly I just like to kvetch and be dramatic. It's just how I roll. But I'm generally pretty happy. And I do it WITHOUT quotes from Oprah on my wall...
Swear to God I saw Brian Campbell with some other really attractive hockey guy at Home Depot this morning. In Houston. Yeah. But I swear it was him. Nearly chased him down to somehow get in front of him and look at his knees.
Hockey players: You can tell them by their Bauer bumps and their freakish knees.
I feel kinda bad when well-adjusted goalies try to help me with my game. I'm used to being sort of a mess and don't really mind most of the time, but they don't understand that and always get to the point of, like, "Well, good luck with that."
Maybe I should start those conversations with, "Just a heads up, you won't be able to help me." Just trust me. Others have traveled that path. People with patience and kindness and lots of knowledge. And they've finally had to be all, "Um, I need to go... wash my hair/dog/car," when it was clear my neuroses are firmly attached.
It's funny, when I first started playing, I'd suck and I'd beat myself up and people were like, "Gahhh, stop taking it so seriously!"
Well, I finally learned to not take it so seriously and now it's like, "If you're not taking it seriously, how can you get better?"
But I have more fun not taking it seriously, so I'll stick with that route.
I've only met one other goalie who really seemed to understand where I'm coming from as a new goalie. She's a new goalie, too, in California. Neither of us have athletic backgrounds. Both of us approach the game intellectually first. It's like this:
Step 1: Wrap brain around concept. Tell me why you want me to do something a certain way. Tell me why we're going to work on it a certain way. OVERexplain. Pretend I'm learning disabled. Because I kinda am here.
Step 2: If I'm continuously doing it wrong, stop everything and figure out WHY I'm doing it wrong. It's not because I'm not trying. It's because I don't understand what's keeping me from doing it right. There is rarely time for Step 2, BTW.
For instance, one of the drills Thursday was working on the dreaded, hated VHS. I can do the VHS marginally on my glove side. But I go over and try to do it on my left and I can't do anything but full butterfly.
So I do it the first time and Brusty's like, "Keep your post leg up." I'm all, "Uh, I did, didn't it?" "Nope." "Oh..."
Okay, so we try again. Son of a... he's right. I can't keep that right leg straight up against the post. It leans in and that sends the other leg sliding and then it all just craters into a full butterfly. (I should note right here that I did actually STOP all the practice shots even though I couldn't do the VHS, soooo.... anyway....)
I tried to diagnose it a bit myself, by bowing out of the awful looking center ice skating drill (the WORST part of camp since I'm a terrible skater) and grabbing an empty net to work on that. Mostly I think all I did was fuck up my hip. Big ol' middle finger to the VHS.
Glad I couldn't read Brusty's mind during that. Haha. "Oh my god, she's a mess." At least that's what I was thinking. That and, "Dear Self, I was only kidding about being awful at Brusty's drill so he'd have to work with me more!"
Okay. Back to cleaning out the house. I'm so excited about moving into our tiny flood plain house. We already bought numbers for the front of it because it doesn't have any right now. Can't wait to only be on ONE FLOOR!
And like the dork that I am, I'm probably most excited about our oversized garage. Mr.C is in charge of "wealth management" and I'm in charge of "tools and fixin' stuff." I definitely have the better end of that deal, until I can't fix something and it costs us $200 to get the plumber or handyman or whoever out.
Then I have to present the issue to Mr.C and tell him how it's going to cost twice as much as he thinks it should. That end of my deal isn't so great. He's not "cheap" per se, but he hates to spend money unnecessarily. But sometimes you just have to hire a pro and do it right.
Regardless, I have a place to hang all my tools. We're even getting me a proper toolbox! *grunt!*
I was cleaning out my desk stuff today and found my autographed photo of John Lynch, my first sports boyfriend. I still think that guy is the cat's meow. Wish I could find an online version of the pic I have. It's ubersexy. This will have to do:
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
I wish I'd written on this the other night when it happened. I love to write in those giddy moments where everything is great and anything is possible, which is exactly how I felt after learning that Martin Havlat is no longer a Wild.
I was ready to do obscene things to Chuck Fletcher to show my gratitude, not only for unburdening the team of a guy who clearly didn't want to be there, but for unloading Cam Barker just a few days earlier, too.
The two players who took the wind out of my sails as a Wild fan are GONE.
Today, I'm thinking a muffin basket if probably more appropriate. Damn the sensibility that comes with daylight...
So, for the first time in a couple of years, I think of the Wild in a positive light, where, for the last 2 seasons, it's been more of an "ugh" feeling. From Yeo behind the bench, to Aeros babies looking to earn a permanent NHL gig, I'm excited for what's to come.
I'm not, however, expecting great things on the score sheet. But that's okay. What I've been missing is effort and heart and chemistry. I want the team to look like they care as much as I do. That's my bottom line at this point in the "building."
Now, some curmudgeons choose to complain about getting Heatley in return, but I don't care. I've seen a shit ton of hockey and had only two players whose mere presence on the ice grates my nerves: Pouliot and Havlat. So I'm willing to gamble that Heatley will be an upgrade to my viewing enjoyment.
He is considerably less attractive though. Disappointing, but he's slightly better looking than Gaborik, so it's still an overall upgrade since I started watching the Wild.
In other news, I'm realizing I'm really burned out still. Between extended playoffs and preparing for and executing Camp Brusty, I kinda don't want to do anything but occasionally play hockey. And even that I could do without right now.
I'm just toast. I'm tired of waking up in the middle of the night worried about some hockey thing that I'm actually supposed to be enjoying. We're not even a week out of Camp Brusty 2011 ending and I couldn't fall asleep tonight thinking about issues around next year's camp.
I've never been good at "turning it off" and I'm trying to look at the process as a learning experience. Learning to balance and let go and get perspective, but it's a bit trying at the moment.
Maybe the house buying thing is just the final straw for me this year and next year will be better. Or a shorter playoff run (no thanks... I'll take another go at the cup, please, Mr. Torchetti!) would give me a breather after the season.
I dunno. I still love you, hockey. I think we just need to go on separate vacations this year.
If I'm posting here even less than usual this summer, you know why...
That said, I haven't wrapped up camp yet, but in short, it was neat. I, naturally, felt awkward and sievy nearly every minute of it as a participant, but everyone else seemed to enjoy it and get a lot out of it. Like, RAVE reviews from our adult goalies, who I hung out with after our last day Thursday.
I think the deal is that I'm too athletically learning disabled to learn goaltending in a group environment. I need more time to repeat drills and ask questions and soak in what I'm supposed to be soaking in. Otherwise, I just get rattled and nothing sinks in and I just try and get it over with so I can go sort myself out by the boards.
On the "Camp Administrator" end, though, it was a good experience and everyone seemed to appreciate the work I did to organize it all, including the parents and students, and of course, the amazing expertise Sean and Barry brought with them.
Wish I could say I did it all because I wanted to help goalies or improve my own game or even make some extra money, but no. It's all about making googly eyes at #33, but you guys already know that. :)
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
I'm finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. All the stuff that's been running me ragged and keeping me up at night is starting to settle down or go away and it's all been so worth it.
Camp Brusty has 2 more days left. I've been out on the ice for one of the days (and have the sore glutes to prove it) and plan to be out the final two. First night, I just needed to not have anything else to worry about other than making sure everything was running okay. Last night, I had to pick Mr.C up from the airport and have a heart to heart about whether or not we were going to buy the house we have an option on.
Which is the other thing that's been weighing heavily on me. Really heavily. And it's been taking up a lot of energy and time doing research and due diligence to make sure we're not running into any big surprises.
Aaaaanyway, it's a huge relief to have made that decision and I'm so excited to close on the house make it our own. The room that's supposed to be the formal dining room is going to be my "hockey room." :) Big TV, comfy seats. That'll be my nest for 8 months of the year and I can't wait.
Pretty sure I need an end table made out of old hockey sticks, just to stay on theme, right?
So, that's been pretty agonizing, but I think it's a good move for us.
Back to camp, it's been fun, though I can't imagine how sore and rubber-legged my peers are after 3 days. I'm sorry I missed last night because Brusty was coaching at our end (the beginner-intermediate end) and I really would have like to do the drill he was running, and not even just because of him! No really! It was just a shooting scenario I have trouble with sometimes.
My mission for the upcoming year is to get my skating better. I can t-push to the right, but I can't to the left because, basically, I can't stop to my left. So, I'm gonna have to sort that out because I'm seeing how important t-pushes are for recovery as I'm following rebounds that go into the corners (hopefully). It's the next "step up" for me to improve my game.
Anyway, the students* and parents seem pretty happy with how camp is going and I'm hearing lots of compliments for how knowledgeable our handsome and talented coaches are.
*Except for the one adult student who mouthed at me, "I HATE YOU" through the glass during drills yesterday. Haha!
My favorite, though, is one of the other adults who's had to listen to me swoon leading up to camp. During the first day of camp, he pulls me aside and whispers, "He's much better looking in person!" LOL Then last night, he goes, "I had a 'Brusty Moment'. We were talking and he looked at me and his eyes TWINKLED!"
I'm still laughing about that. Brusty Fever is contagious. There is no known cure cuz nobody wants one.
Ahhh, it's all fun. And it's neat to just see goalies all in one big bunch. Though I do admit to having to leave the room during dryland. Too many wiggly children and it makes me claustrophobic. #lemmeout
Tonight, I need to take pictures for the camp website in the midst of doing the ice time. Not sure how that will work with my chesty on, but I'll find a way. Might just leave it off, do some shots early, and then take it off again at the end and get some shots during drills. And if I screw it up somehow, I'll have Thursday to try again. :)
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Here's a list of stuff:
- House buying is a real ass pounding. House buying in a flood plain with plans to build an addition is an ass pounding with your head against a wall. Sorry for the disturbing visual but that pretty much explains my last 3 or 4 days. And it's only just begun.
- I suck at goaltending. But I had fun tonight. Made some big stops. Let in some stinkers. I like when the skaters are tired and impatient. I don't like when skaters put pity shots on me because they're so convinced they'll score if they put a real shot on me. Screw you.
- The ice was AWFUL tonight. I pushed over to make a save and ended up halfway to the boards, the ice was so wet 10 minutes into the game. Goal.
- A roach fell on to the ice from the ceiling while we were playing. Can you imagine if that thing fell down and into your gear? Don't imagine it. I just did and it was a nightmarish and embarrassing scene. But that's hockey in Houston, baby! Skating in puddles and big ol' roaches out on the ice with you.
- Camp Brusty starts SUNDAY! I'm very excited. Not only to see Brusty, though I won't lie, that's most of it. But to see the camp come to fruition after months of working toward it. Looking forward to turning it over to Sean and Brusty and enjoying the sight of all those goalies bouncing around the ice. :)
- Camp is pretty much full. We exceeded my expectations for registrations, so I'm pleased about that. But that means I'm probably not going to get on the ice unless the herd thins a bit. I don't want to take away instruction time from paying students. Maybe I'll hop on later in the week.
- But frankly, I'm not in shape for it. I've played about 4x in the last 6 weeks and that's just an hour drop-in. Goaltending and training just haven't been a high priority between playoffs and house hunting and work. And with women's league not starting until July, there hasn't been much opportunity.
- Did I mention Brusty will be in town? :D Yaaaay! I'm fond of him.
- Channeled him a bit tonight. Big Bird came in on a breakaway but he got a little too close, took a little too long, so I jumped out there and jabbed the puck away from him as he was skating across the slot. His teammate gathered it up and I had to dive back and try to get my stick on it. I'm actually not sure if I did or if he hit the crossbar or what. Sounded like my stick but I was in flight and didn't entirely see where the puck went. But it didn't go in the net, so suck on that, boys!
- My elbow really hurts. I hate to get a doctor involved and I keep hoping massage will work it out, but I dunno. My whole forearm is jacked up. Bet I can still pick up a pint of beer though. #playinghurt
- Vicodin. Yay!
- Guy at the rink tonight appeared to be wearing a set of Brusty's old gear. TPS pads, Vaughn blocker and glove. Green, gold and cream from 2008. Rec goalies don't wear TPS pads, so it caught my eye. And then I stared at him a lot. I so associate TPS pads with Brusty that pretty much any goalie in them, I'm salivating. Though this guy actually was pretty good, and really bailed his crappy team out a lot. Good work, Not-Brusty!
Sunday, June 12, 2011
How have I not written here since the season ended? Shell shock, I guess, even though I saw it coming.
Honestly, you could feel it in the building Tuesday night. It didn't feel like magic was about to happen.
I guess it's one of the hazards of trading your sports soul for a press pass, you are obligated to identify and accept as reality things that you might not as a pure fan.
As a fan, I would have ignored that feeling in my gut and thrown myself into it. I would have cried (really cried, not choked back a few tears like I did) in my seat. I would have hit the bar after and drowned my sorrows until I could laugh again.
Alas, I had something of a job to do. Admittedly, I didn't do it well. Maybe it gets easier to swallow the emotion the more years you do this, but my game story was shit and I didn't do justice to Binghamton's season.
In my heart of hearts, I knew Binghamton had to win. The story was just too good, too special. It meant so much to that city. Signs in yards and in store window, writing on car windows as you drive around town.
In a city that's been beaten economically for so long, I couldn't help but feel like it would mean more to them than it would to Houston.
And it obviously did. 5000 people turned out for the parade, and the boys rewarded them by making sure Roman Wick had his shirt off a lot. Oh my God, yes, please.
I'm glad the series is over though. My divided loyalties weren't really that divided and I certainly identified with Bingo fans to a large degree. I liked the team all season, too (except when they played like shit in front of Brusty).
To suddenly find myself arguing with them on whether the fans were taunting Hackett while Spurgeon was on the ice injured, or whether they cheered when he was helped off the ice, just felt wrong.
I wanted to say, "I'm on your side!" Er, except for the part where you actually win. I really did want the Aeros to win.
But I feel lucky to have been able to smile through my tears watching Brusty take a running leap into his happy pile of celebrating teammates. To not feel cranky when Lehner tossed his gloves and jumped in the air and raced to his teammates at the final buzzer.
They earned it and I'm happy for them. More happy for them than sad for the Aeros, at least in hindsight. That said, and I hope this doesn't come across wrong, but I think the Aeros would have won if they'd had the same amount of rest as Bingo had gotten before the series. If I leave the playoffs with any bitterness, it's toward Hamilton. That series was hell and it cost the Aeros the Cup, IMO.
Since Tuesday, it's been that weird end of hockey season grief process. Wednesday, I cried at the drop of a hat. Thursday, I was numb and on auto-pilot. Friday, I was sorta grateful to have this thing off my plate. Yesterday, I started to miss hockey again.
Of course, the great part of going so deep is not having to wait through everybody else's playoff fun before the draft and free agency swooped in to give us something new to chew on.
And luckily, I suppose, I still have this endless house hunting process and Camp Brusty to keep me busy for a bit longer.
Unfortunately, even with camp coming up, my own goaltending is about as far from my mind as it could be right now. I even had to borrow a fellow goalie's stick last Monday because I left mine at home. Head = not together. Loved that stick though. Need to give it back to him before I keep it forever.
Boy, rambling post and I think I contradicted myself about 3 times, but whatever. That's how I'm rolling these days. Thanks for hanging in there with me.
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Home. Have been since 2:30 a.m. Saturday night. Pretty amazing to leave Binghamton at 9:30 and be home to Houston by 2:30. Charter is THE way to fly. I'm spoiled forever and ever now. Guys should get paid LESS to play in the NHL since they get to fly that way all the time.
Had a good time in Bingo, as I've written. My liver was really glad I came home. I sweated out some seriously weird stuff at hockey last night.
For some reason I had in my head that things were going to settle down when I got home, but of course, they're only busier.
The big deal is that I'm going to be on XM Home Ice radio at 6:05 CT before the game Tuesday night talking the series and the Aeros and whatnot. I know the subject well, but I just pray to god a) they don't ask me a bunch of stats stuff, and b) I don't get brainlock and forget everything I know.
I can quickly dissolve into Simple Brain where I can only think about how adorable Colton Gillies is and how I wish Brusty were playing. Here's to keeping my wits about me.
Had drop-in tonight and felt like myself for the first time in a long time. Empty head, just stopping pucks. Felt really good to kick the voices out of my noggin again. Nothing ruins a night in goal like voices talking to you while you play.
For some reason, my team quit playing at the end and the guy who can pretty much score on me at will started just getting breakaway after breakaway.
I had an awesome, sexy stop on him though that I'll smile warmly about for a while. He was trying to do that "drag across the top of the crease hoping I'd go down early and then get me around the other side" thing. But I saw it coming, loaded my left leg, and slid across to made a pad save.
Another one, I came WAY out and challenged. As usual, I went down too early, but I hooked him around the shin and it threw him off just enough that his shot toward the far post went into the corner instead. Phew. Illegal, but it's all I had. Just glad something worked.
Anyway, nice to have fun in goal again. Been way too long.
Now to figure out how to get coaching without sending my brain into overdrive and screwing up my game completely. May need Sean and Brusty to just mime everything at me during camp. I honestly think that's the only way to not irritate me or get in my head too much. Words are so pointy.
Sorry the blog's been so boring. I'm a little (or maybe a lot) burned out, as much as I love this playoff run. It's exhausting, even for the writers, to go this deep in the post-season. Totally worth it though. If I didn't have house shopping and Camp Brusty preparations going on, it would be another story.
But it's good to stay busy. I can rest when I'm dead, right? zzzzzzzzzzzzzz
Saturday, June 4, 2011
Aw shit. Pretty bummed about the Aeros loss tonight. It's one thing for the other goalie to get a shutout, but it was a pretty lackluster shutout. Not many good chances on him to at least give me the satisfaction of having seen a great goaltending performance.
It's my fault because I wrote glowing things about them today, which is a surefire way to make them suck. Plus I didn't wear green. I'm sorry boys. I got cocky there...
Anyway, it's been a crazy week of working two jobs, basically, and moonlighting as a lush. Gone to bed sober one night this week and it turns out I still felt like shit the next day, so... why bother?
Good things about today though:
- I had some mac and cheese at lunch
- I got to ask BEAUTIFUL Cody Bass a (dumb) question at the post game presser. He smiled real big when he answered me. I blushed. He's really pretty and I'm looking forward to him shaving that Yosemite Sam beard off.
- Lehner walked up some stairs next to me at morning skate and I got to ogle his ginormous thigh muscles. (Seriously, the boy is walking on redwoods. Not the usual goalie birdlegs.)
- Didn't get completely hammered at Dill's tonight, so maybe I won't feel like puking during morning skate interviews tomorrow.
- My first round of picks for my Five Hole Fantasy team came out today. It's basically a fantasy hockey league for next season where we don't really care who wins as long as our team is drop-dead gorgeous. NHL and AHL boys in the mix, plus one "Ice Man," who is basically a non-hockey hottie cheerleader guy. Mainly it was an excuse to wax poetic about Brusty to a new audience.
And it's my last night in Binghamton. Back to real life earrrrrly Sunday morning when we land back in Houston. It's been a great experience here and I've actually gained some good confidence at this beat writer thing. Tonight, when Yeo's press conference started, he looked at ME for the first question. It's a small thing but it meant a lot to me.
Anyway, I'm exhausted and surprised I haven't started getting sick yet. Always do when I burn the candle at both ends like this. Maybe the alcohol is killing the germs. :P
Monday, May 30, 2011
Haven't really written much since The Dream came to be. I've been thinking a lot about that because... well... I write. About everything. But especially hockey, Brusty, and things that generally rock my world. Which The Dream is entirely about.
But I think I finally figured it out yesterday. I write to "process" or to make you guys laugh or make myself laugh or to solidify something that I can't quite get a grasp on. Writing about something makes it tangible for me.
This is completely different though. It really is The Dream. And dreams are ephemeral. I don't have words for it because there aren't words. It's real, it's like vapor. If I try to bottle it or give it shape, it loses its essence.
So, with that, I'm just letting the dream "be" in terms of writing about it.
In terms of living it, however, I've got that sucker by the throat. I've got it so by the throat that I'm writing this post on the plane with the Aeros headed for Binghamton.
Yep, 25 honey badgers at the back of the plane, determined to hoist the cup. Coaches, doctors, trainers, staff. And me. How the fuck does that happen?
Nevermind how. It just does, at least this time. So my principle concern is making the most of it. I don't know that I'll ever have another chance like this.
(I wrote the above bit on the plane and suddenly the wifi cut out, so I'm finishing now that I'm at the hotel, which smells like boiled cabbage and makes it clear why the team sprung for a charter...)
That said, the view out my window is fantastic. I'll tweet a picture tomorrow when the sun isn't in the perfect spot to glare it all up. Follow me on Twitter for constant-to-the-point-of-annoying updates of everything going on here in Bingotown. At least everything that won't get me in trouble to say.
It's supposed to be "humid" here tomorrow. I can't wait to see what they call humid, but there is a LOT of water in this area. Rivers everywhere, so I'm kinda buying that humid could actually mean pretty humid.
Okay, one last comment on the dream: I would love to know the odds of these teams playing each other in the finals. And I don't just mean the straight odds of any eastern team playing any western team.
I mean the odds of the random team that picks up MY goalie playing MY team in the finals. And throw in some further unpredictability because if Mike Brodeur and Pascal Leclaire hadn't spent all season going to the doctor, he would have been playing for Elmira.
Granted, the Leclaire injury was pretty much 100% predictable, but still... Oddsmakers, mathematicians, have your way with this one.
I'm gonna guess that it's lottery-winning sorts of odds.
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Babies, I am crazy Zenned up for game 7. Totally at peace with how it goes either way, since it dawned on me that Brusty's coming to Houston in a month anyway. And I'll see a helluva lot more of him then. It just would be SUPER fun to have Joy and the rest of the Bingo crew I've gotten to know this season down here in our fair city.
Not to make it sound like I don't care if the Aeros get to the cup finals, but The Dream is Bingo v. Houston. It's a personal thing. The Calder Cup is an Aeros fan thing. We all want that, naturally, but it's not personal. Bingo is personal. And I guess maybe that gets more to the point of why I've been a basketcase about this series.
Anyway, tomorrow is just going to be me soaking it all in, since it could be the last home game and I don't want to look up with 1 minute left and have spent the whole game in Totally Insane Mode and not appreciated and reflected on the season at all.
Or the Aeros could just crush Hamilton's skulls early and I could do all that appreciatin' next round. Your choice, boys.
Played drop-in tonight. I feel like I've regressed a year and a half in that group. Back when I first started, I would suck at the beginning and then as I got more comfortable, I'd start to stop most everything.
Same thing tonight. About 45 minutes in, I finally started stopping the puck reliably. Until then, I think every other shot went in the net.
Never mind that it was a festival of breakaways up until then, too. Not much fun.
I was going to break down and do clinic before, too, since this is my only night on the ice this week. But I got tied up with stuff at home and couldn't get to Sugar Land in time. So as penance for missing clinic, I made myself work on backside pushes when the game was over.
Thanks to Scott, I finally realized that the part I wasn't doing right was having my skate perpendicular to the direction I'm pushing. It's a very unnatural angle for my foot to be in, so I have to think really hard about that push foot when I do it. It's very slow and I don't go very far, but that little tip made all the difference in doing it at all without just spinning in circles.
I also spin less when I push mostly with the toe of my skate blade, but that's another thing I have to be really deliberate about, so it's going to be a long time before that move is game-ready and natural.
Still working on getting up on my dumb leg quickly. Somewhat sharp pain in my knee when I do it but it's getting easier all the time.
Camp Brusty is just about a month away, so I'm getting excited about that. Can't WAIT to get on the ice with my goalie. I'm soooo temperamental (emphasis on the mental) with anybody coaching me.... it will be funny to see if and how quickly I want to tell him to fuck off. It will take a lot, I suspect. You can't stay mad at this face:
What was I talking about?
Oh yeah, Camp Brusty. Ha. Awesome.
History will be made Tuesday night, gang. How exciting is that?
Friday, May 20, 2011
Sorry gang. I've been holding my breath for 3 days, hoping my next post here would be celebrating The Dream coming true.
But my ridiculously high expectations were dashed Wednesday night in dramatic fashion and I've since had to exhale and reset.
It's taken me until today to be honestly, completely happy for Bingo, which seems crazy and probably is, given my strong affinity for so many people on and associated with that team. But for 24 hours or so there, reminders of Bingo sweeping had an implied "and the Aeros didn't" attached. Bah. Shut up.
But regardless of what happens, I really can't lose. I can only win less. Either way, I have a dog in the fight and I'd love to see Binghamton shove it up Hamilton's collective derrieres if it comes to that. Especially Ryan White's. Greasy prick.
If you didn't catch my tweet of it yesterday, here's Bingo's room after their game Wednesday. Even media don't get these kinds of peeks too often, as there's usually a cooling off period after the game before reporters are allowed in.
Oh, hockey boys. Just ignore me yelling, "TAKE IT OFF!" when I watch that. Just instinct. Can't help it. Also ignore the singles I'm shoving at the screen when they show Cody "Hotter than Koivu" Bass. Rawr.
Not a great week of goaltending for me, which is par for the course lately, but I offered up to the Hockey Gods my own hopes for success in the women's 3 on 3 tourney Tuesday night in exchange for the Aeros and Bingo wins. I'm fine with that trade, naturally.
I was playing across the ice from a girl who's been playing since she was a kid. Pure stand-up goalie. And really good, too. Those stand-up tendies sure make it look easy.... until one goes right between their skates. She whipped me, though, and seemed to hardly even move while doing it, so I guess I can't talk.
Ah well, it was fun and a killer workout to play 3 on 3 for an hour straight. I was flat out by the end of the last game.
Only clinic and drop-in next week, so I guess I'll do both. I sucked at drop-in this week even without doing clinic, soooo I might as well do clinic, right? Meh.
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
The Hockey Gods are a funny bunch.
Monday night, I spent half of goalie clinic fighting back tears of frustration about my game. After clinic, I couldn't even talk to Scott TFCG or I'd cry in front of everyone. I had to go right to the bathroom, which thankfully was empty, and sob for a few minutes.
I managed to gather myself long enough to put my gear together and get to the car, but once there, the waterworks started again and didn't stop until well after I was home 30 minutes later.
Needless to say, I was not enjoying the process. I was feeling like a huge disappointment who couldn't stop a beach ball. The feeling had been simmering for a few weeks and something snapped Monday night on the "broken arrow" drill (a tough one that I'm really bad at) and I was just broken.
Afterwards, as I'm crying to Mr. C, he said, "So doesn't this usually mean you'll be great in your next game?"
Oh, my clairvoyant husband....
Okay, maybe I wasn't great in the women's league championship last night. My team sure was and kept me from getting shelled. But I had some stops I'm proud of and that reinforced that I may not do a lot of things right or well as a goalie, but I can stop some pucks when I need to.
The game ended up 3-2. My two goals, one was a shot from the right circle that I bobbled right into my own net. You'd think it was a hot potato the way I just couldn't get it to settle in my glove. Mexican Jumping Puck. I swear I need StickUm in my glove. Nobody has ever had more pop outs than me.
The second was a completely unabated breakaway by their best player and I bit on her fake. Should have poke checked her, but I was indecisive about it and once you're indecisive, it's all over.
There was another breakaway later in the 3rd when we were up by 1 and for me it was just about trying to hold the fort. I trusted my team enough that I knew I could take some risks and they'd be there to clean up the mess.
And I was right. I pulled a big time Brusty on this breakaway and shocked the hell out of the skater as the puck hit my pad and went flying into the end boards.
It rebounded out from the end boards back up above the goal line and I thought, "Aw fuck, that bit me in the ass." But while the skater was trying to get her bearings and gather the puck, I manged to dive back in the nick of time and get my stick in front of her shot into the empty net.
I literally could not believe I just made that series of saves. Without question my best desperation save ever. After that, it was a blur of skates and tangled gear and screaming at my team to "GIT IT!!!!" because I'd lost sight of it finally.
And git it they did. My last memory of that rush was my defenseman getting control and skating it toward the blue line. It was a vision of loveliness that I'll never forget. I so didn't want that puck in the net after all that work.
Then we got a penalty with just a minute or so left. But my girls busted their asses to keep the puck in the other team's zone so they couldn't pull the goalie for an extra man.
I refused to look behind me at the clock because I didn't want to feel like I could let up. But once my team started cheering, I knew it was just seconds away. What a sweet sound that buzzer was.
And what a sweet turnaround from an awful night Monday. I could even feel some of the work we've done in clinic coming to bear in my game.
So there ya go. I'll try to post a pic of me, a sheet or two to the wind, molesting our trophy. I think I was the only one who cared a whole lot about it, but it meant a lot to me.
It meant a lot to have a team that believed in me and liked me being in net for them. That goes an awful long way toward me being able to work up the competitive juices that don't come all that naturally to me.
I'm very sad the season is over. For my first "real team" experience, I think I was spoiled rotten by these gals. But I've made some friends here and really feel like I've gotten more to the heart of women's hockey. And it's a very good place. I'm lucky to feel so welcome and at home there.
Oh yeah, and the Aeros fucking won game 7, bitches!!!! Git 'er done for ONE MORE ROUND, and maybe Bingo comes to Texas for the Calder Cup! #myheadexplodes