Thursday, May 28, 2009

The 24-Hour Rule

Boston, still raining ...

Oh man, I'm beat. I skated last night with my local North Shore Skating Association gang, on defense, and then again in Peabody this afternoon in the nets. And, in the interests of full disclosure, I got absolutely lit up today. Couldn't stop a beach ball, as they say in goaltending parlance. In truth, I had no legs, which is why I'm considering implementing a hard-and-fast 24-Hour Rule. Back-to-back days are tough enough on this half-century netminder, but trying to play twice within a 24-hour period is, for me, just nuts. I should know better, but there's no guarantee that advanced age necessarily brings wisdom.

It's difficult for most old jocks to admit that their bodies simply don't bounce back the way they did 30, 20, even 10 years ago, but hockey doesn't allow me any such false illusions. The reality is in the results. Today was a perfect example. My legs, and my mind, were sluggish. No reflexes to speak of, no competitive spirit. A younger goaltender might have been embarrassed, but I was simply resigned. I just didn't have it, and that's probably because I need more than 13 hours to recover from a good, hard skate. I got home at about 11:30 last night, and needed another half-hour to unwind. A pending deadline had me up and at the computer by 6:30, and then I was trudging off to the rink shortly after 11. I got on the ice a few minutes late, and the game started without warm-ups (of course, these boneheads don't bother putting the pegs in the net, so the game actually started while I was trying to secure the goal). Even at 51, I know my body, and I knew right away that it was going to be a long hour. And it was.

After I took my punishment, and got a warm shower for my efforts, I limped home, tossed my gear in the basement, and tried to get back to work. After all, I need to get to bed early. Got a game first thing tomorrow morning (Friday), in clear violation of my newly established 24-Hour Rule. Say a little prayer for me ...


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