Ice is my best friend

As I sit here icing my hand down and trying to half ass type on the keyboard, there is one thing going through my head.  It wasn’t the bitter 6-6 tie that my intermediate team had tonight.  It also wasn’t the clinic that my team put on last night that helped lead us to a dominating victory.  It is the fact that I am hurt and I am wondering how my hand is going to feel tomorrow.

Tonights game was a tough one, as every Thursday night is.  Every game is a battle in this league, and if I am not on top of my game, then my team suffers.  I let in a couple garbage goals tonight and that was the difference in the game.  The other goalie played solid.  If I would have come up with a few more saves tonight, this game would not have even been close.

For now, I am going to keep this short and sweet because I hate trying to type with one hand.  I am hopeful I will feel better this weekend and be back in the saddle on Monday night.

Rebounding from a poor performance

I played one of my worst games last night in a 7-4 loss against the last place team.  Yes, we were shorthanded.  Yes, they had more chances than we did.  Yes, they played a bit better than we did.  I just believe that we could have won if I played a better game.  There were a couple goals that I let in that were horrible shots.  I don’t let those in and maybe we have a chance.  The funny thing is that I haven’t played well consistently for this team since I started playing with them at the beginning of the season.  I can play well one week, and then horrible the next.  Its just very tough to inspire confidence in your team when you don’t have a consistent game from one week to the next.

The other thing to consider is that I will play in higher leagues on Wednesday and Thursday, and I will play better than I did tonight.  Rebounding from a poor performance is not hard to do when you have confidence that it is going to happen.  I have all the confidence in the world on my teams that play on Wednesday and Thursday nights so maybe thats my problem on Tuesday.  Either way, I have a couple weeks to get my act in gear before the playoffs begin.  I can’t play that messy and expect my team to play inspired hockey.

After the game last night, I got home and started messing around with WordPress and my theme.  There is a new version out that borks my site when I load it, so I have to dedicate some time to figuring it out before I enable it.  The problem is that I won’t have a lot of time to mess with it until Friday night or sometime on Saturday.  All this hockey playing, working, teaching, and reffing is really taking a lot out of me.  Eventually, I am going to find my breaking point, but until I do, I am going to continue to stay involved in as many activities as I can.

Hockey tonight and then heading to bed early I hope.  I need more sleep.  The 6 hours a night is not enough for me.

A big step

There comes a time in every beginner/intermediate team’s existence when they finally take a big step in terms of their growth.  These steps can be playoff wins or losses, and even wins or losses to a superior team.  The amount of growth has always depended on the players on the team and how dedicated they are to change.  Either way, the growth that my team last night experienced could be a springboard to something bigger. My Hailstorm team has had a hard time with the superior teams in the division, as has every other team in the division.  Through a narrow loss, they found their confidence restored and many were predicting us pushing through the rest of the season undefeated.

I remember playing on many teams in the past that finally took those big steps and great things happened for them.  The Stickheads were a team that floundered in the intermediate division for 3 seasons before winning the championship in the 4th season.  Team X faltered for 2 seasons before coming back to take the championship in the 3rd season.  See a pattern here?

What I don’t want to mention are all the teams I played on that couldn’t get it together.  After all, you have to look at the whole picture and when you do, you will see that there are just as many teams that take that big step but don’t take the next one.  It takes hard work and change in order to move up in terms of skill and ability.  Some players have no interest in building off these experiences.  It will be my job to push them to learn and take that next big step.

We will see just how dedicated they are to the process.  As for me, I know I must continue getting better.  Last night I was beat on 3-4 goals that were made off passes to wide open players on the other side.  I have to be able to make at least one of those saves.

A hectic weekend

The youth hockey season is almost over, and there aren’t a lot of games to go around.  With 150+ referees in the West Michigan area, you would think that I wouldn’t be working very much.  I swear I was offered to referee 12 games this weekend.  As it turns out, I reffed 7 and felt like I had done my part.  Back about 20 years ago, I probably would have enjoyed doing 10+ games in a weekend (if I was reffing back then).  Today, it is more quality than quantity.  I don’t ref for the money exclusively.  I ref because I enjoy it.  If I am doing 10 games in a weekend, I am not enjoying it by the end of the weekend.  Case in point, I reffed 10+ games in a tournament last year, and by the end of the weekend, I was happy to not ref for 2 weeks after that.  When you reach the point of burnout, its easy to just put things on hold and walk away.

This is why it is great to not exhaust yourself when you referee.  Being a good ref requires you to be fresh and clear minded.  Many refs do it for the money.  I do it because I love it.  There is a definite need for more referees that have a passion for refereeing and the game itself rather than the paycheck that comes along with it.  Maybe if I am still reffing in another 15 years then I can start lecturing to refs about this.  Until then, I am going to be low man on the totem pole, and not regarded as an expert.  Ah well…..

So far I have nothing to ref this weekend and part of me is happy to have the extra time.  I probably will take any games that are given to me because the end of the season is close at hand.  Once the youth hockey season is over, absence is what will make the heart grow fonder.  I will then wish I had games to referee come June/July (when I am done reffing lacrosse).

I am really looking forward to playing goal this week.  I have 4 games on the schedule, and I am sure to get a workout in all of them.

On the 4th and 5th days….he rested

After playing hockey the last 3 days in a row, last night was a very nice break.  My team had a bye week, but I had a business trip to take to Novi to work on some switches.  I removed some craptastic Cisco CE500 switches from our environment and installed some newer 3750 switches into the environment here.  We are seeing some incremental speed increases, but as usual, the speed is limiting between here and Grand Rapids.

The non-work thing on my mind today would have to be the USA Womens Olympic team getting beat by Canada 3-2 in the gold medal game.  With a 2-0 lead with under 4 minutes left in the 3rd period, it looked about over for Canada.  Then, a couple bounces later, it was a tie game.  The OT loss was a little tough to stomach, but I bet it was tougher for the USA team that worked their asses off all season to make it that far and take the silver.  Then I realized I have played under similar circumstances with similar results in some games.  I have also won games like that as well.  Some USA fans want to blame the reffing for the loss, but the simple fact of the matter is that the USA had that game on a silver platter, and instead of grabbing the game, they took the silver platter instead.

I ate at the Black Rock Grill last night and had quite an epic feast to cap off a very productive day overall.  The whole gimmick of this place is the volcanic rock you cook your food on.  I tell you, I was greatly impressed with what I had.  A little expensive, but it was worth it.

Black Rock Grill

I can’t wait to ref on Saturday and Sunday this weekend.  One of my last youth ice hockey weekends of the season.  I am going to take the time to enjoy it.

I am not a top tier goalie anymore

No, this isn’t a depressing post, but merely just a statement.  Back about 5-7 years ago when I was playing in the top divisions in hockey, I considered myself to be a decent goalie.  Especially when my teams were doing very well and I could help achieve a championship.  Today, at the ripe age of 41, I am not as fast as I used to be.  Yet, here I am, still playing in the top divisions and doing pretty well.  My intermediate/advanced ice hockey team is sitting in 2nd right now while my Wednesday intermediate/advanced team is tops in the league.  I know most of it is being on the right team, but I do feel like I am losing a step at times.

Last night, the team we played against really gave us a run, but we took the lead and never trailed in the game.  I was very happy with the end result, but some of the things they were doing to score goals really made me think about how much slower I am today.  The passing plays across the net that I couldn’t slide over and get to, or how slow I was to react to those great chances were what I noticed the most.  Yes, I stopped a couple breakaways and had some good glove saves.  I am also certainly very happy about the victory too.  I just know that I could have shaved off a couple goals if I reacted a bit quicker than I did.

I suppose beggars can’t be choosers though.  Here I am and playing this kind of hockey at my age.  That alone should be a victory for me and I should be happy about that.

Tonight I have some project work to do for my day job and then back on Friday to host a suite at the Griffins game.  This weekend is going to be crazy with what will be my next to last weekend of ice hockey reffing.  I hope to fit in some Titanfall, Battlefield 4, and Borderlands 2 into the mix this weekend as well.

A win is a win I suppose

My Tuesday hockey team won 7-5 last night and while it was a win, I really didn’t feel I played the best.  The other team capitalized on their chances, and I feel there was one shot I should have had.  It was a shot from the right faceoff circle that I didn’t come out enough on and I wasn’t centered to the shot either to boot.  There was a nice goal that they scored on me that went bar down.  It was almost like the Yzerman goal against the Blues in game 7 of the conference quarterfinals back in 1996.  The rest of the goals were just great plays to guys left alone in the slot.  I still expected to play a bit better than I did though, especially against a team that is close to us in the standings.  There are harder teams I am going to have to play against so I hope I bring my A game for those.

Last night I downloaded the Titanfall Beta but I probably won’t get a chance to play it until this weekend.  Titanfall is going to be just one of the many games grabbing my attention this weekend though.  I am planning on doing some Borderlands 2 and Battlefield 4 as well.  With me refereeing this weekend, I know that will bite into my available free time for gaming, but that is ok.  My ice hockey reffing jobs will go down considerably in March, with Lacrosse reffing going strong in April and May.  I really am considering taking the summer off from reffing and teaching.  Yes, I have games I want to play, but I really need the time to recharge my batteries.

New Challenge – Writing a little everyday

In the past, I have used my blog to discuss various things going on in my life when it revolved around hockey, reffing, gaming, vacationing, and other things.  Last year, I got out of habit of doing this.  Time went by, and while I had the desire to blog things, I never really jumped back into it.  Status updates on twitter and Facebook were about as extensive as I got.  It wasn’t until I took a little inspiration from a friend of mine that I decided to resurrect my blogging habit.  I have been taking the time to read Bobby Evenhouse’s blog for a while now, and a recent post called “No Matter What, Write Everyday” really did inspire me to change my habits for the better.

Why did I create this blog in the first place?  To remember all the great times I had in my life.  To maybe take the information and write a biography one day.  I have seen the title of the book in my mind a few times….

MeinGoalMy Life as a Rec League Goaltender

Yea, cheesy I know, but I could write a 100-200 page book on everything that has happened.  From many of the games I have played, championships win and lost, and all the interesting people I have gotten to know through playing hockey through the years.  I don’t know if writing a book is in my future, but I am seriously considering it.

When it comes to writing though, if I am not putting these things down on my blog, then it is kind of hard to put them down in a book later.  Memoirs are worthless if you aren’t writing them down somewhere.  So consider this a blog reboot or a rebirth of a writer.