Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Tooth Fairy: Last Post, Promise. The Hockey Ain't So Good, eh?

Growing up, I played a lot of pond hockey and street hockey.

Later on, I played a lot of the kind of hockey where you wear helmets, and shin guards, and shoulder pads, and gloves with Rhino Thumbs. Mostly, I played in rink leagues. In and around NYC, because ice time is so expensive, games could start at midnight, last two hours, then drinking would be required, then going to work. Going to work with bruises, and pulled hammies, and loose teeth. I don't play hockey anymore.

Your team name was the color of the cheap jersey they gave you. I was on Team Red, Team Gold, I remember Team Blue was a good team.

You didn't really know the names of the guys on your team except for maybe the two guys on your line and the best player on the team. The goalie was goalie. Everyone else was Guy. As in, "Hey Guy, howabout you stay onsides, eh? You're fuckinkillin us!"

I played with worn out varsity guys from Cornell and Colgate, French Canadian beer truck drivers with no teeth, an African-American from Central Islip, dozens and dozens of NYPD cops, a tough chick from Minnesota, and even Gordie Howe (he was probably 70 but when we went into a corner together, he raked me with his elbows, I went down, and he skated away with the puck). I've seen them all in nothing but jock straps and garters (except the girl, she changed at home).

I own a pair of cheap elbow pads lined with a quarter inch of dried blood. I know what a studio apartment smells like when every available piece of furniture is draped with sweat soaked pads, socks, and a 30 pound pair of armored pants from Finland.

I have asked grown men with 70's disco hockey mustaches to dance while two cement heads both rip off their full cage helmets so that they can punch each other in the face. "It's the right thing to do, eh?"

I've looked down at the blue line in order to stay onsides and woken up ten seconds later, flat on my back, teammates cheering because the guy that decked me got two minutes for interference.

Let's just say I've been around the rink a few times.

But in all my years of chasing a puck, I've never seen a Samoan play hockey. The only thing less believable than a 270-pound, steroid-induced tooth fairy is a Samoan playing hockey. If Eddie Murphy was the star of Tooth Fairy (and I heard from my agent he turned it down), it would have been more believable.

Paul Newman skated in Slapshot. Netflix it and bring the kids.

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