Plants First, Fish Next

The original intent of this journal was to chronicle the trials and tribulations of the struggling twenty-something, as I searched for love and happiness in the small city-burb of ManchVegas, NH. Now, I'm thirty-something, I've found love in many forms, happiness in even more, and now the struggle is just... well... life. And finding time to do the million and one things I want to do- including writing.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Nerd Herd Season 5 Playoff Game

Last night was the playoff games for NHSSC hockey. Nerd Herd was 2nd seed in the league - pretty impressive considering not two seasons ago we were happy to have ANY wins.

The previous game saw a change in officiants. Not only was "Skip," the ref for most of the season, not there, but we had TWO refs, one of which was an old highschool/hockey buddy of Mop's. The calls were very different from Skip's, whose style is akin to "Penalty! by... um... eenie-meenie-miney-moe...." It was a fun game with a lot of play, and after winning we were psyched and ready to take on playoffs.

My spirits personally fell when I saw Skip was officiating again. I mean, he seems like a nice enough guy, but he really doesn't know hockey well, and he doesn't know how to control the game. He's not confident in his calls. The worst is that our team dynamic sinks dramatically every time we feel like we get a BS call. I play on this team for fun, not to get pissed. I can't say I blame my teammates - I'm rarely a victim of a bad call. But I knew our play would suffer for the bad attitude.

Still - pre-game milling was good. Team seemed in high spirits as we watched the first playoff game finish up between Seed 1 team and Seed 4 team. It was a tight game (with traditionally bad calls by Skip), but both teams were battling hard. My Runner and I did our pre-game laps around the track; I was trying to work out a little nag in my left calf that's been hanging in there since last Friday.

(Recap penned by El Capitan at the end of the post, for those of you who are stat-minded)

We start the game out feeling great. Herd's really cheerful (and CHEERING!). My Runner gets the first goal in our first shift. It was great. Unfortunately the other team brings it back and scores two on us. We get some weird whistles - calls that don't make much sense, but their warnings, so ok. Moral starts to drop a bit. I miss some passes, and an opportunity to shoot.

I'm getting frustrated at myself. I'm not really contributing to the offense. I'll crash the net and not be able to get open, or get open and miss the pass, or get the ball stolen 'cause I'm not looking. I'm covering other players when they're in our zone, and I'm able to slow down or steal the ball sometimes, but overall I've become a defensive player. Not really what a winger should be. Not in a playoffs game.

I keep coming off the rink mad. This isn't really like me. Sure I know when I'm playing better and when I'm worse, but usually I can keep my head in the game. This time I had to leave the rink, take deep breaths, not sob. My Runner, bless him, keeps coming to check on me. The nicer he is the harder it is to pull my self together. I do my best to ask him to go away without being a douche - difficult to articulate when you know you'll sob if you open your mouth. He seems to get it. I breath deep a few times, wipe my face, and get back in to support my team.

When I take a high stick penalty (and I hate this because I know as my stick is coming up to my wast to catch the ball that I'm gonna get called, but I can't stop it), I'm furious with myself. The team is down by one, now *I'm* making them play three-on-four. My stupidity has caused us to be down a man at a playoffs game. As soon as the whistle blew I knew it was my penalty, I spun around and practically ran off the rink. It took everything I had not to hurl my stick in frustration but a) that would get me kicked out of the game and b) my lovely teammates were all in the way - no need to cause more harm.

This time the sobs won't stay down. Again My Runner comes to check on me. Again I send him packing; he exacts a kiss before he goes. I know I need to calm down. I have at least one more shift on the rink and I have to play fully. I'm mad at my penalty and mad that I can't get my head in the game and mostly I'm mad that I'm so freakin' mad! This game is supposed to be fun and I've preached it AT THIS VERY MATCH that we need to calm down and play our game. Way to listen to my own advice.

The rest of the game passes as I hold it all in and do my best to be present for the team. We don't win, the team is upset, and the bad calls (which robbed us of possibly two goals) has pissed of Cap'n Mop to a level I have rarely seen. However, MiniMcL's boyfriend is there from CT with his kickass camera - that means team photo time! Everyone shakes it off, congratulates each other on a great season, and smiles are (hopefully) genuine.

Unfortunately, my crankiness extends to the after-party (the waiter being a total 'tard didn't help either). I feel awful about my behavior that night... Lovely MiniMcL singing her love for me and all I could say was, "please stop." I couldn't explain that I didn't want to burst into tears at Margaritas. Face and Smarty looking at me with concern, then *getting* that that was the problem, instantly turned things around to cheer me up. I love those girls.

Despite my own personal horribleness, it's been a great Nerd Herd season. I love my team, its awesomeness and its faults. I love playing hockey. I want to work to be better. If the team can't work together to get practices organized, I've got to find a way to practice on my own. I think that's the only way I'm ever going to be satisfied (or at least have a chance of satisfaction) with my game.

The Nerd Herd entered the NHSSCHL playoffs riding a wave of confidence
following the most successful season in franchise history. They met a
familiar foe in the opening round, the Road Runners.

The game opened with a fired up Nerd herd squad taking advantage of an
odd man rush. Phil "Cowboy" Turbe sent Mike "Cap'n Mop" Grages running
free up the boards, and he centered it to Josh "The Cat" Robert, who
collected it and fired it home for an early 1-0 lead. Unperturbed by
the fast start of the Nerd Herd, the Roadrunners fired back, scoring 2
goals before the end of the first period to take a 2-1 lead into the
second. The Nerd Herd battled back, appearing to score the tying goal,
but it was waived off, as the referee had "intended to blow" the whistle
before the goal was scored.

The second period began with the Roadrunners expanding their lead to 3-1
before the Nerd Herd could answer back. Phil again fed the ball down
the boards to Matt "TTT" Tetrault, who was able to find Jon "Turbo"
Turcotte who took advantage and narrowed the gap to 3-2. The Herd
continued the charge as Keith "Classy" Chasse got the ball deep in the
zone, Mop collected it and found Josh for his second of the game,
knotting the score at 3. The Roadrunners again surged back, scoring two
more quick goals before Josh finished off his hattrick. Katie "Killer"
McLaughlin chipped the puck down deep to Mop, and he found Josh in the
slot. Josh rifled it home and again brought the Nerd Herd to within 1
at 5-4 at the end of the second period. The Nerd Herd again thought
they tied the game, but The officials waived it off, saying the ball hit
the post. Video review seemed to support the Nerd Herd side, but it was
not counted.

Unfortunately, that was as close as the Nerd Herd got. The Roadrunners
scored to open the lead to 6-4, and then capitalized on another
powerplay to close out scoring at 7-4. Despite their frantic efforts,
the Nerd Herd couldn't get on the board in the third period.

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  • At 9:40 AM , Blogger Mop said...

    Now I see why you understood my post game rage :) It may not have been up to your standards, but I thought you played a fantastic season. I'm working on some form of a practice facility, either the Y or the place in Bedford. And if those don't work, you and me can shoot at the wall in my garage...

  • At 4:12 PM , Blogger Kristin Marie said...

    Either that or you can shoot at the goalie that lives at our house. :)


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