Thursday, November 24, 2011

Prose: good defensive hockey

[The following was inspired by the excellent display of defensive hockey by Tyler Ferry of the London Knights (OHL) when he shadowed Nail Yakupov of Sarnia Sting on Oct. 30, 2011. A fellow I regularly play hockey against said the game was less enjoyable to watch. I heartily disagreed. gah]

good defensive hockey

stay on him
like dirt on an old dog
like the sticky on warm tape
stay on him

coach repeated his plan to me
stick to him, that number 10
like spit on the sidewalk
like smell on your old man’s shirt
and I stuck to 10 that night

near the end of the first
he hacked my ankle and was sent
to the penalty box - I guess so!
but my team failed to capitalize
and my ankle tightened up
while I shook my head

period one ended, score one each

back on the bench coach leaned in
you keep on him
like burrs on a wool sock
like gum under a kitchen table
and I did, sore ankle and all

I stayed on 10
like grease on a bike chain
like sweat under a leather helmet
and though he managed
two weak shots on net
I got a good one off myself
and I looked dangerous
like I was the one to watch

period two ended, score two each

in the dressing room coach said
stick on 10 some more
you’re doing good out there

but out there, on the ice
I wanted more
I wanted 10 to pay for my ankle
to stick to me for a change
I got my one chance
a minute remaining in the game

as 10 raced down the ice
I leaned into him low
and he lost his quick stride
near the empty penalty box
and though I wanted to
dump him right in it
I stabbed at the puck - got it!
I sent it across ice to my winger
already heading the other way
go! I hollered, go!
and then turned and chased the play
with 10 hot on my tail
I felt rather than heard the words
catch me if you can

after a good deke or two
my winger shot high on net
the puck caromed off the glass
and bounced toward my stick
I felt a sharp tug at my waist
but it didn’t stop me
from slapping at the puck
or following it into the net

I heard the final buzzer
I heard the hoots and hollers
and I screamed too
a throaty yell of youthful
jubilation and relief
and I saw, framed by
goal posts slammed off their moorings
number 10’s back as he stepped
through the gate to his bench

I was glad to see the back of him
but happier still to be gripping
a puck under a leather glove



Please click here to read prose entitled ‘she and me’ by G. Harrison.


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