October 31, 2005

Special report: Legend laments doubters

Sunday Morning Road Hockey should be stronger than any one player, says the game's founding father, the Living Legend, whose absence from two games so far this young season has led to speculation the weekly match may be in its last gasp, or provoking veteran players to seek their road hockey fix elsewhere.

"It's killing me to see some of the guys losing their enthusiasm for the game," says the Legend, reacting to reports in the road hockey media after Sunday's soggy game, which he missed, that some of his teammates are feeling "discouraged" by his "abandonment."

Since founding the first game one fateful Fall morning 15 seasons ago, the Legend has been the game's staunchest stalwart, guiding the ever-evolving cast of players through Sunday Morning's formative seasons, through rain and snow storms, through goalie crises and violent goonings. He's the reigning road hockey ironman, having played almost three full seasons before he was finally forced to miss a game in December '03 to deal with a family crisis, a record that will likely never be broken.

But, says the Legend, that kind of dedication came at a price. While the other roadsters scurried off to their regular lives after the Sunday games, he beat the promotional drum, putting in long hours to ensure enthusiasm for coming matches remained high, cajoling truant players to mend their wayward ways, securing the court from marauding roguesters intent on upsetting the tradition of the longtime league.

"I became a kind of road hockey monk," says the Legend. "There were times it actually felt like a job, and I wasn't getting paid!"

When new interests away from the court developed over the off-season, the Legend says the time was right to turn his stewardship over the game to his fellow roadsters. So far, it seems they've been slow to warm to their new role; attendance is down and the starts by some of the game's other stars, like Lak Attack and Paul One, have been sporadic.

Weather might have something to do with that, says the Legend. Sunday's game was played in a driving rainstorm, and the scheduled regular season opener was washed out by a monsoon; five weeks into the season, only one game was completely dry.

"There was a time when the rain didn't matter, we'd play no matter what," says the Legend. "But we're all getting older, we're all a little more prone to injury, and I think many of us have better things to do than risk our limbs sliding around on those slippery courts, catching our death of cold."

The Legend says he's confident the game will survive his occasional absences, as long as the other players don't lose their faith.

"Things are always tough early in the season," says the fellow founding father. "There's a lot of guys still nursing off-season injuries, the Fall is a busy season. It's not really that much different this year than any other years. I'm gonna play as much as I can, as much as I want. As long as the doubters don't panic, I'm sure there will still be a game."

Posted by jaysuburb at 06:30 PM | Comments (3)

October 30, 2005

Week Two Washout Averted

The rain sunday morning was as plentiful as the sidelines were empty.

At 10:25, PFG surveyed the courts. It did not bode well. Not a single player in sight. By 10:30, Gump and Cowboy Bill shuffled to the covered sidelines, to be followed shortly by Wink, Kid, and a handful of others, including a surprise arrival from Beetle Boy. Enough players to scratch together two teams, with one lone sub, and begin by 10:50.

Welcome to the new Sunday Morning Hockey.

Despite the inclement weather and lack of substitutions, neither side seemed daunted, playing a spirited, fast paced game to a final score of 20-9. And despite the lopsided result, teams were competitively balanced. The most dangerous player, and perhaps the deciding factor in the outcome, was Kid. His trademark stickhandling and quick slide over the drenched court after an open ball kept the opposition scrambling. On several occasions Gump was the helpless victim of Kid's quick release shot. On the other occasions, it was a quick deke.

Goaltending was a challenge during the game for both ends. Gump came up with numerous spectacular saves to keep with team in the game early on, but down the stretch couldn't withstand the barrage of shots. At the other end, PFG, playing his first game of the year, was the victim of a few unlucky bounces and rusty reflexes in the first two periods, but settled down to stave off any pressure for the last half, including a phenomenal three save series to preserve the shut out in the remainder of the game.

Players declined interviews after the game, but an anonymous spectator offered his thoughts.
"Wow. Wet game. Where the heck was Elvis?"

Much of the pre-game chatter had little to do with the effects of the weather on the game, but more to do with the effect of Living Legend's withdrawal from the league he helped found and run for so many years. Several players were admitting to a decrease in enthusiasm for Sunday Morning Road Hockey, due in part to this new development.

While his teammates are happy for the Legend's newly found bedroom bliss, they are discouraged by what they feel to be a sudden and unexpected abandonment.

With Sunday Morning Hockey reeling from severe lack of attendance in the last few weeks, many voice their worry over the future of the long running league. Rumours abound over players looking elsewhere for their weekly hockey fix. Other players have already predicted their absence, due to family concerns.
Hopes are that next week will bring better weather, and a return from players like Lak Attack, Elvis, Billy Idol, Paul One, Lobsterboy, Wendel--a long list indeed.

In other more upbeat news, players were both surprised and happy to see Beetle Boy make his second appearance of the season. A frequent absentee when the weather is poor, Beetle Boy apparently had a change of heart, and tactics, this week.

"This week where you have no subs make up for those weeks where you have too many. I figured this way I'd get in shape faster, at least."

Posted by at 04:04 PM | Comments (5)

October 25, 2005

Nibs knows netminding

PFG and Lobsterboy better watch their backs, or at least start showing up, if they want to keep their jobs. It seems there's a new goaltender in town; Nibs. Always the "goaltender of last resort," he played a capable game Sunday, kept us in the game with some solid saves, enough to allow us to take the lead briefly. But we just didn't have enough horses to keep it for him. Sorry Nibs. You deserved the win.

Looks like I won't be at Sunday's game. Somebody might wanna bring some new balls, as we're running low. Anybody planning to see PFG's wrasslin' play?

Posted by Living Legend at 08:02 PM | Comments (3)

October 06, 2005

PFG Participation in Doubt

As Sunday Morning Hockey begins its season opener this weekend, one roadster is already watching from the sidelines.
“Is tough,” said PFG, last year’s Stanley Stick Tournament MVP. “I look forward to this all summer, and now no chance for me to play.”
Earlier this month, while out of the country on business, PFG learned that another exploitive employer would be preventing PFG from making it out to the games on Sunday Morning. For a few weeks, at least.
“I not be able to hockey play for one, two, three weeks, as haf to work. Every time I walk into shed I see my new goalie equipment, and I get happy. Now, am sad.”
All might not be lost, however. Reports have surfaced that PFG might be able to renegotiate some of the starting times for his exploitive employer. When asked his chances, PFG replied “Haf and haf.”
In an unrelated line of questioning, reporters were curious to know if PFG was going to abide by the new NHL rules regarding the size of goalie equipment. PFG response was curt. “You bring tape measure; I show you how far I can shove it up your—”. The end of his response was unfortunately cut off by a network malfunction.

Posted by at 10:13 PM | Comments (6)

October 03, 2005

Preseason plummets

Kind of a disappointing turnout for the first preseason game; I guess a lot of guys are pretty confident their place in the Sunday Morning roster is secure. I mean, where was Paul One? Where was Hoss? Where was Lobsterboy? Where was Hollywood?

But there were at least a couple of good omens; the rainy weather held off just long enough for the game, a switch from last season when it ALWAYS seemed to rain during the games and then clear afterwards, and Gump seems to be in mid-season form already, as his lightning reflexes kept us in it long enough to be able to make the game interesting. Oh yeah, and Kid is as cocky as ever, and Bird can still knock in those flukes.

Posted by Living Legend at 09:01 AM | Comments (9)