na foine ting
Thursday, July 29, 2004
OK, taking a break from memoir for hockey, which is a relief to some of you, I'm sure.
I got a new stick. It's a Koho Revolution 4490, Jagr blade, and is one of the ugliest pieces of hockey equipment I've ever seen next to Big Steve's red hockey pants.
After two years of hockey, I came to the realization that I am 5'4" and a girl. No, really. And while I'm not exactly petite, I can't muscle an 85# flex stick, particularly when it's had about a foot cut off it and is probably more like 100#.
Then there's the issue of small hands, which I have, and caused me no end of trouble in firefighting, and now I guess in hockey. Gloves don't fit. Handles for tools are awkward. A senior shaft is wide and hard to get a grip on. That kind of thing.
So, there was this epiphany moment when the heavens opened and the words "intermediate stick" resounded in glorious chorus, and I couldn't wait for the internet order and I got a really good deal and yes I know I said I loved my Mission stick but
--but God this stick is cool.
I guess we'll see tonight at practice if the thinner shaft and greater flex really make the difference I'm looking for, or if all the glorious chorus was just a bunch of hooey.
I attended the State of the Sharks forum at the Tank last night, which was as good and honest and straightfoward and reasonably propaganda-free as a ticket-holding fan might want.
Given, that is, that no one knows dick about what will happen with the CBA and so really then all the other questions and comments were largely moot.
There were a couple of people who did some mild CBA soapboxing along the lines of "what about the fans," and how we're being betrayed somehow, which is ludicrous and naive, as though we're the beneficiaries of some charity rather than customers of what is--and should be even more--a profitable business.
Then the inevitable discussions about the nets, and people who don't sit down for the whistle and how we should have wraparound scoreboards and how distasteful all that nasty violence is and
--and kudos to DW for nipping that crap right in the bud with the necessary "hockey is a physical sport" and "we'll play as rough as they play"--
and seven games of TV blackout and a bunch of reasonably non-hockey-related stuff.
Marleau was there, and can't talk his way out of a box, which is sad but predictable and really it doesn't matter if he does what I think he'll do this season (if there's a season). He's there to score and lead the team, and yeah it would be nice if he were articulate, but he isn't, and that's really all right. A sense of humor and his evident good nature will probably take him a long way.
There were things that it was worth having gone to hear. DW said what he needed to about Reech, what the fans need to hear and what he really should make sure comes out about Reech in the press. That Ricci's mark on the team is indelible, and enduring, and he'll still be here in team legacy long after he's gone.
They finally admitted that Parker had been hurt during the playoffs (told you so), but as DW said, you don't go publicizing that your nuclear warheads are busted if you're in the middle of a cold war.
RW made it clear that he'll stand by his coaching strategy, which is long term and not about a just a one year win. Merit based, as they said, and a certain implication that it's down to business and playing hard, now that the loudmouth stars are gone and out of the way. The implication also that we never really needed them. Not them nor any UFAs waiting in the wings, when we have such strong young talent working diligently up the line.
I found myself proud to be here in this city, with this team. I spent a lot of time last year at games and watching practices, and last night felt like a lot of the gut feelings I had about the team and where it's at and the ethic that's driving it were proven true. I was proud of last year's success, sure, but more proud of what we became last year, especially given where we'd just been.
I did have some questions to ask, but was fine not asking them. Mostly as irrelevant as the net stuff, having to do more with local hockey. Like what was the club and SVSE going to do about promoting hockey in the valley, and if they want us to play hockey and get involved in hockey and thereby watch hockey, what can we do about the critical ice shortage?
Like why hasn't the "Sharks in the Parks" street hockey program expanded the way it should have? Why isn't the club working harder to help get inline hockey into youth programs and schools?
Why doesn't the community hockey development include introductory programs, classes and so on that aren't prohibitively expensive and miniscule in class size?
Obviously the Fremont facility and fourth rink at Logitech will create space for more opportunties, but somehow I doubt we'll see more than the current youth hockey, expensive classes and leagues.
I don't think you can hope to create a fan base without making the sport itself widely available. I think playing and watching to a large extent go hand in hand.
I've gotten to a point in playing where my personal performance each game is no longer critical, huge. I get out with a sense of continuum, of playing one game in many, of knowing that I'll give this hour everything I have, but there's a bigger picture here.
Not that it doesn't matter--it matters enormously, like it always does. But I don't come out of every game asking everyone "did I do all right? Did I mess x up? Did I play well?"
One, I know how I did.
Two, once the game's over, it's learn from the mistakes, take a mental note of what needs noting, enjoy what you got from it, and move on.
It's a relief, in a way. Like I'm not skating every game with some giant performance monkey on my back.
I mean, there is a Monkey on my back, but it's that bastard, Steve Lo.
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