Friday, June 5, 2009

The better part of valor ...

Boston, overcast ...

I skipped my Friday morning hockey game with the BBHC today, opting for the "discretion is the better part of valor" approach (to paraphrase Shakespeare's great line from Henry IV). For the past few days, I've been battling a low-grade bug, or allergies (or both), and was feeling really sluggish. I played with my usual pick-up gang on Wednesday night, and had a decent game, but left the ice tapped. There's a good chance that whatever I've got was passed along by my youngest, Brynne, who missed school on Monday, or Lauri, who missed work on Tuesday. Yesterday, Maddi, my eldest, missed school with a 102 temp, so it's clearly a germ infestation infiltrating the O'Connor house.

Still, I hate missing hockey, especially my Friday morning games. One of the traits that the hockey players pride themselves on is that they always show up (OK, "usually"). That goes double for goalies. Heck, back in the "good old days" of the six-team NHL, there was only one goalie per squad, and those guys didn't even play with decent padding, not to mention masks (of course, this was before the advent of the slap shot and curved blades, in addition ro composite sticks that allow C-level hackers to fire a puck upwards of 80 miles an hour). I can't imagine the nerve required to play with an exposed mug! If a guy got knocked silly, or cut, the trainer would simply stitch him back up - usually without any painkillers - and send him back into the nets, often dazed and confused (and hurting). By comparison, my low-grade bug seemed a pretty lame excuse.

On the other hand, I try to rationalize these absences, knowing that if I played, I risked getting really sick, and spending the weekend on my backside. At 51, I try to incorporate some of the "wisdom" that middle age supposedly brings. But I also know that once I miss a game without any sense of remorse, I'll be one step closer to calling it quits. So while I can't stomach that gnawing feeling that I should have been on the ice this morning, a part of me is comfortable with it. I'll be back soon enough.


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