Welcome to my world, which primarily revolves around family, friends, sports of all stripes, and a passion for the written word! I'm a Boston-based freelance writer and editor, husband, father, hockey and soccer coach, and an unrepentant sports nut. And, like a lot of folks who refuse to grow up, I'm torn between Old School and "old's cool!" It's all about your perspective, and staying in the game.
I don't think I've ever had a beer that tasted better than the one served up right after a good skate. The brews can be cold or lukewarm, cheap or chi-chi (provided a bottle opener isn't required) -- it doesn't matter. The combo of water, malt, barley and hops is the perfect elixir for the parched puckhead.
The problem these days is that, like the rest of my body, the post-skate, post-Bud Light recovery is more challenging. Like the number of skates I can manage each week without winding up in traction, I also have to limit my intake of carbonated beverages. Last night is a perfect case in point.
It was my Wednesday night pick-up skate with the North Shore Skating Association gang (believe me, that name sounds much more formal than any of the chuckleheads, myself included, who show up for this 90-minute session). My own performance was sub-par -- I felt like I was a split-second behind the puck all night -- but the beauty of pick-up hockey is that the final score doesn't really matter. It's sort of like the points in Drew Carey's "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" Fact is, I rarely keep a running tally, though I know we got drilled pretty good last night. Which left me with a hefty hankering for a frosty beverage afterward. And that first one, a Coors Light served up by Matty "The Total Package" Theriault was just what the nurse ordered. The first six ounces were gone in a gulp. The rest didn't last much longer.
Now, I typically have a single post-skate beer, but I still had most of my gear on, and the locker room banter was lively (most of it centering on one of our younger guys, a recent college grad, and the sexual exploits that awaited him during an upcoming trip to Australia!). So I asked Matty for another brew, and he happily obliged. Before I knew it, a bunch of the guys and I were out in the parking lot, it was closing in on Thursday, and I had cracked open a fourth. But gabbing with friends is one of hockey's great byproducts, and last night, the conversation and the brewskis just flowed.
Unfortunately, I can't say the same about this morning. Four beers on a "school night" is never a good idea, especially for a sore and cranky 51-year-old goaltender (it could have been worse, but the rink lot's lights got shut off at midnight, forcing us to head home). I'm not hungover, just sluggish. And those aches and pains that typically accompany my post-skate wake-up call have a bit more bite. Lauri's "high test" coffee is making a few inroads on the cobwebs, but a few more hours sleep is what I really need. Next skate, I'll try to show a little more restraint!
One last caveat on the topic of hockey and beer. If you offer to bring the suds, bring fresh brew. A while back, I made the mistake of running behind schedule on my appointed "beer night," and was frantic to get to both the store and the rink on time. Then I recalled a case of Bud Light that was sitting in my basement. How long had it been sitting there? Good question. I had no idea. But in my haste, I didn't have any time for such niggling details. I grabbed the case, chucked it in a cooler, packed it with snow, and ran off to the rink. Two hours later, you could hear the howls of protest from my locker room in the next county. To say that the stuff was rancid was a gross understatement. It was bad, bad, bad. I tried to play Mickey the Dunce (I know, not a stretch), but once some of my more enterprising colleagues found the "Born On" date, and discovered the beer was more than three years old, I was toast. They still haven't let me forget it, proving Lord Jeffrey's time-honored adage "A good name, like good will, is got by many actions and lost by one."