the dog, and his master, Guy Called Mike, make a surprise appearance
at the road hockey courts, on another rainy Sunday.
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breed battles bravely
Recent roadsters respond in rain
by Jay Suburb
With the road hockey courts awash in the second storm
of the last three weeks, it's clear the game has borne a new breed of
rainy roadsters. And they're not the weather-weary veterans.
Of the 11 roadsters who braved Sunday's deluge, only three--the
Living Legend, notorious gameshow host gone bad, Wink and Guy Called
Mike--had been regulars through the infamous storms of '98.
Instead, it's been a roster of resilient rookies and other
recent additions who've ensured the game goes on.
"These guys are starting to understand the history
of road hockey," says one of the game's fellow founding fathers,
Wink, of his young teammates. "I think it shows the guys who really
Guys like Billy Idol, whose third career start was also
his soggiest. But, says the young playmaker, he knew by showing up in
the worst weather, he could be an example to his fellow rookies.
"I've gotta show them that they have to try and get
out in the rain, it's really no excuse."
And, rookie or veteran, the conditions are the same for
everyone, says neophyte netminder, Ottoman.
"It kept raining harder and harder, but I was looking
forward to it. You go out and get a little soggy, you've just got to
deal with it."
The perseverance of the young roadsters has been an encouraging
development in a season plagued by the inconsistency and indifference
of some of the game's most stalwart starters. Lumberjack, Philderama
and Southpark have yet to play a game, despite their preseason prognostications
of renewed commitment. Lak Attack, Paul One, and Lobsterboy, amongst
Sunday Morning's most ardent advocates in any weather, appear to have
become little more than part-timers. Hollywood has made only one regular-season
"I think if you don't show up on a rainy day, you
lose your right to (complain)," says Wink. "Guys like the
Colonel, the Kid, Bird, you knew they were coming out. They're the solid
citizens of road hockey."
"I think the temptation is always there to not play
in the rain," says Giebelhaus, who's making his second comeback
after an eight-season hiatus from the courts and then knee surgery.
"But playing through rain or shine, or snow or ice, that's the
fun of it."
Sunday's deluge presented particular challenges to all the roadsters.
For Ottoman, playing in the first foul-weather game of his newfound career,
it meant getting used to throwing around heavy equipment that only got
heavier as the game progressed.
"It's different," said the neophyte netminder. "You slide
around, you can't plant a foot to move, you look a lot more foolish."
Billy Idol said he had adjust to slippery concrete. "You've just
gotta slow down in the corners, try not to take too many falls."
But for the senior players, veterans of too many wet-weather games, the
problems were a little more mundane.
"When it gets all wet, I can't see through my glasses," said
And, said Giebelhaus, the conditions forced players to pay closer attention
to the game's fundamentals.
"It's a slippery game, you're losing your footing. But people tend
to play a little more positional, so in some respects it can be a much
In fact, the arrival of Giebelhaus at the courts took many of the
roadsters by surprise, as they expected he would sit out to guard his
fragile knee from further injury in the slippery conditions. The veteran
roadster is still limping noticeably, nine months after the jittery joint
was rebuilt by surgery.
"I knew it was gonna be wet," said Giebelhaus, who continues
to wear a large purple brace to protect his knee. "There's no worries
about the knee other than it's a little sore. I'm not quite running with
a full stride yet."
Sunday's game started with only one goalie, Ottoman, but an emergency
call-up by Bird of afternoon stalwart, New Goalie, restored a balance
of backstops. It was the second career morning start for the super sub,
who was also called in to a game last season under similar circumstances.
And though he played through a thick hangover, he made numerous tough
stops on Guy Called Mike and Bulldog, to lead his team to a decisive 20-12
At the other end, Ottoman shouldered some of the blame for his side's
"I think if I'd made a few more stops, it would have encouraged them
a bit," said the rookie rearguard. "It was a bad game for me,
but there's not much you can do."
Sunday's rainstorm was the second to hit the road hockey courts in
three weeks, a marked contrast to last season, when the first rain game
didn't happen until the ninth week. And long range forecasts for the coming
winter predict more bad weather.
Some veterans said that doesn't bode well, recalling the 1998 season,
when bad weather, poor attendance, and bad attitudes sparked a number
of ugly incidents.
The ongoing absence of Hollywood has put the brakes on Wink's long-standing
campaign to win the star sniper automatic entry into the Sunday Morning
Road Hockey Hall of Fame. And the fellow founding father didn't have much
better to say about some of the other truants.
"You just feel like they've lost their spot in road hockey history,
their reputation has been tarnished."
The roadsters who did brave Sunday's rain included: the Colonel, Bulldog,
Giebelhaus, Bird, Kid, Billy Idol, Ottoman, Wink, Living Legend, Guy Called
Mike and the New Goalie.