I partake in an ethic ball hockey league called “i-Slam Ball Hockey.” It’s a fabulous non-profit organization that dumps the remainder of the proceeds into various charitable societies, after paying all the arena rental/jersey fees. For example, some years ago, our organization kindly handed a lumpy $12,500 in donations to the Hospital for Sick Children here in Toronto.
This league is segregated into two tiers; tier one and tier two. Tier one is for the adept and “mostly” young at heart, whereas tier two is more recreation and caters to the seasoned, plus some newbies. Regardless, both tiers are full of cheers. I’ve been around the block with this league and have committed my fall activities within their realms. The league’s hallmark season starts in September, but we’ve recently begun a spring season that commences subsequent to the fall.
Last year I felt the heat from many players that insisted I GM (General Manager) a team. Makes sense doesn’t it, since I knew most of the movers and shakers since the league’s inception. I swayed the idea for some time and buckled, only thing was that I needed to have a partner to GM. There wasn’t anyone smoother to tandem with than my buddy Haris Mallick. Our friendship originates back from the days of Sunday Hockey (pick up), we fountained and shelved the “Blade Runners” (our own hockey team) and I knew that working again with Haris would be awesome.
Eventually we drafted what we had a perceived a “competitive” team. Week in and week out, our team managed to collect a handful of wins and ties that eventually had “Yaqeen” (our team’s name) residing in first place. Mind you that every team plays 10 games and the top 4 out of 6 qualifies for the playoffs. The conclusion of the season quickly approached and many teams were in, “desperation mode.” Yaqeen was unbeaten in nine and was craving to notch ten. However, our last regulation match was against a team that was hungrier than us, a challenge bigger than one can imagine. Though many rival GM’s and teams stuck around to watch the last match of regular season, many wondered if Yaqeen would finally sip the cup of defeat or if Zuhd could do the unimaginable.
I wasn’t in the greatest of moods since many of my teammates were absent; on top of that there was this raging pressure to finish the year perfect, but how? So many key weapons were absent that my roster was cut down to half. A loss would knock my team for a first place cushion to second. We had 9 guys and a goalie, ready to give it our best and for the first time ever our bench looked thin. We sucked it up, prayed for the best and dived in. Mind you, the remnants of that night’s roster were still character guys, gents that knew the game and competed themselves to the final second.
The game went back and forth as both teams were adjusting to the pace. After many chances, my boys got Yaqeen on the board. Playing as defensive minded as possible, the guys managed to hold the fort as the first of two periods finally halted. Enter the second period. Zuhd got back on the board to even things out. My team never gave up and utilized their energy wisely. Momentum swayed like a pendulum till Yaqeen popped another one in to take a 2-1 lead. Zuhd’s troops didn’t give up as their urgency finally dictated the remainder of the game. The opposition scored the equalizer and pulled their goalie for the extra attacker. With a mere 19 seconds left in the game, our goalie was tumbled over by player (who was pushed) and was late in smothering a loose ball infront of him. The rest was history as Zuhd shovelled the ball in a yawning open net. Zuhd’s roar spoke volumes. It was a nasty feeling since we weren’t used to losing.
So close to the 10 game unbeaten streak, but no cigar.
I was overwhelmed with our team’s success. Despite losing in the playoffs, we’re still heroes that’ll maintain our heads high in pride.
Have you ever come close to achieving something?