Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Victory, Namaste, Backhand Shelf, Delights

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.


Namaste, bro

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.)


Backhand Shelf

Did I mention I have a new gig this season? I'll be contributing to a new hockey blog over on (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.
Still not sleepy but now out of stuff to say and also hungry. Thanks to you guys who read my drivel regularly. You're the real heroes. 


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Bring it, Buffalo Socks....

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?


No drama, lots of shots

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.


  © Blogger templates Psi by 2008

Back to TOP