Category Archives: Sports
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?
While consuming my fixed dosage of broadcasted NHL hockey last week, an update from another game seized my attention as I beheld a goal celebration that was disputed by many NHL luminaries. The fête was of 19 year old Russian born player, Nail Yakupov who plays for the Edmonton Oilers and scored his second NHL goal. Although Yakupov’s celebration was very similar to Theo Fleury’s, it was very much welcomed by Edmonton fans. The timely goal was quite phenomenal but it’s the celebration that’s being delved.
A little précis for the folks that are unversed with the state in the video below. Edmonton (blue) is the home team and L.A. (white) is the visiting team. Mind you that L.A. is the present Stanley Cup champions with their star studded roster and are winning the game by a 1-0 score. Prior to the start of this video, Edmonton tied the game but the goal was disallowed due to “goaltender interference,” and now Edmonton works their magic. The rest is for you to make the judgement with the 1 minute video below. Please watch!
(Video: From Youtube)
Many critics/analysts have cited the celebration as “stupid” and “unnecessary,” and totally denigrating the opposition. “It was redundant and imprudent, it wasn’t as if the kid won the game for them, he only tied it!”, blasted a news commentator. “L.A. won’t forget him!” said another reporter.
However, the other side of the rink extolled the merriment! “So what if Yakupov’s vitality jolted the crowd?” claimed a fan on the radio. “He’s 19 and it’s the biggest goal for the kid in his lifetime, he’s just trying to have some fun,” mumbled another hockey nut. “It was an innocent reaction of joy,” professed another listener.
Personally, I disagree with the critics/analysts concerning their sentiments and relished the goal! How could any team affront the opposition with such a festivity? Should our actions have no character? I agree that there is an applicable time and place for celebration when capitalizing, but to exhibit a lifeless face whilst returning to the bench is irrational! How can I not be surged with adrenalin by equalizing the game with mere seconds? Should I plaster an exclamation mark on my face and veil my emotions? This is entertainment; fans digest top dollars not only to engross the atmosphere in the arena but to eyewitness top players craft history. By the way, Edmonton won this game in overtime.
Do you think Nail Yakupov’s actions were “overboard” or “vindicated?” Have you (or anyone else) ever concoct actions similar to this during/after a game?
In honour of NHL hockey returning I thought it would be fun to commemorate an experience I witnessed, that’s visibly hockey related. For us Canadians it’s our beloved past time, we live and breathe hockey as like it’s the fabric of our lives. As per my “About” page, remember I love hockey.
After concluding errands and draining my wallet, the time was perfect to pamper myself, so I sped off to Pro Hockey Life in hunt of some weaponry. I already possessed a viable hockey stick at home but the heart was pulsating for the “latest and greatest,” keeping in mind not to eclipse my $125 cap because exceeding that is unjustified.
(Courtesy: Google Images)
As I parked the car, I looked over at the Pro Hockey Life retail sign and smirked with joy like a kid arriving at “Toys R Us.” My family and I opened the doors and traipsed in hunt of daddy’s “dent in the wallet.” My evolution from wooden stick to composite stick transpired years ago, mostly for ease plus weight and couldn’t envision rewinding, though the composite sticks shoulder a hefty baggage, in terms of price.
“This one looks sick,” I elatedly said as my wife’s jaw plunged in amazement. “That’s $250,” she coded with a thrown appearance. I continued ogling all the eye candy the display walls offered, but their presentation wasn’t alluring. Finally, I noticed her from the bend of my eye! I choked to pry my eyes off her while cincturing the display shelves but her maroon body eluded me, coercing my return to her. Yes “her,” it’s just a guy thing that we distinguish our cars, trucks, hockey sticks, lawnmowers as her, you know what I mean.
I gently advanced her and inaudibly unfettered her off the prison shelves, her figure and mass were nothing short of satisfaction as I handled her firm body. “Not bad,” I muttered to myself. With my hands running down her physique, I firmly identified her holding spots as if our fate wasn’t coincidental. The brand name glistened with brightness as if she was winking at me, “Warrior.” The curve was flawless and the flex number (flexibility number) was impeccable. “Isn’t this a beauty?”, I spiritedly cheered. The only quandary was the price. Oh man! I was dismayed to learn that she was pegged at $229 and quickly quarantined a salesperson like a fraught drug addict set loose. “Is this the final price on this stick?”, I respired. “Let me go investigate,” slurred the rep. It felt like he imitated an eternity but the rep returned.
“Your lucky sir, that stick is marked down at $179,” gleamed the rep. “Crap it exceeds my cap, but she is nice, might last a while,” I pensively debated. “If you really want it, get it,” said my wife. Upon hearing that, my eyes opened up like shopping mall doors. My stomach birled with glee! “Seriously, that’s a lot of money, we can do a lot of groceries with that price,” I uttered. “It might last you longer than those other sticks that you buy,” she explained. This baby was coming home as the sales rep vanquished his sales pitch, tacked along my obsession with the stick. As I cashed out I was insinuated of the standard 30 day manufacturer’s warranty (replace in 30 days) and to have her length downsized (cut down), if needed. “Since this stick is pricey, I’m only using this stick for my ball hockey league games,” I told my wife while departing the store.
A month vanished, the stick and I acquainted every Friday, not that the she was furnishing the lion’s share but there was a sense of comfort in my game now, proportional to the comfort a person would have driving his own car. The stick’s weight and sleek was a welcome addition, ensuing several players inquiring her origin of purchase. About a week later, an old friend by the name of Gary inquired if I was up for playing outdoor ball hockey? “Does a bear crap in the woods? Of course I’ll be there!” I laughed.
The day landed to play with my Gary’s group as I quickly fitted my hockey bag and clutched my beloved stick. It was a morning game and I was pumped as never before, what could I say, I’m a morning person and to add the fact that I haven’t seen Gary in ages. Chugging down the highway, I finally arrived at the outdoor arena where I scrambled to perceive a vacancy within the parking lot. After cycling a few laps, I finally spotted a gentleman leaving and quickly claimed occupancy. Rushing out of the car and tossing my bag on the ground, I realized I brought both sticks with me, my good one and the backup. “The surface looks a different from what I’m accustomed too, should I take the good stick?”, I mentally debated. “Ah, what the heck,” I said as I quickly grabbed her and routed myself to the battle field.
Gary’s and his friends greeted me blissfully, considering the long hiatus. “Guys, we can hug and kiss later, let’s start,” chortled Gary’s friend. The teams were finally segregated and it was game on!
(Courtesy: Google Images)
I found my groove with time but was unaccustomed to the outside atmosphere while still scoring a few goals and digesting some bruises. The sun addled me while running in specific directions since this wasn’t the norm in an indoor arena, obviously. The tiled ground was smooth but sticky at times, reconsidering me in reverting back to my older stick amidst the game. Half the game was done as the guys segregated out whilst discussions among one another. “Raj, how’s your wife and my kids?”, said one guy satirically to his long lost friend. Raj wasn’t to thrilled, his face amplified in anger and I honestly thought he was minutes from turning green. Boys will be boys.
The game started up again after the brief break where I ended up in a zealous foot race. During the chase, the tip of my stick got stuck with the square tile (smaller square, picture below) where she snapped from the curve all the way up! “What the heck?”, I questioned to myself. It felt like the world just crashed down on me. Here we spent almost more than a month united and you die out on me already, this is insane! “The prettier the stick, the faster they go,” said one player as he briefly divulged his experience with the deceased. In my heart I was disheartened but couldn’t hang my face as my manhood was on the line, especially in front of all these players and their machismo. I ran back to my car and dispersed her two pieces and grabbed my older stick, who didn’t disappoint me.
(Courtesy: Google Images – Outdoor Arena Floor Tiles)
We concluded the game and I briskly contacted the store to see if the stick could be reinstated. I finally reached the manager after consuming minutes of waiting who was strict on the 30 day warranty and would need to physically examine the stick before he declared a reincarnation. When I got home, I told the tale to my wife who was the least thrilled, especially the money I shelled out for this hockey stick. At last, I found the crumpled receipt and tallied 47 days from the original date of purchase. “The manager will never replace that stick, it well exceeds 30 days,” said my wife. “I can only give it a shot, lets see what he says,” I mumbled.
An hour later, I got changed and routed myself to the store where I confronted the manager. “I’m here to see John, the store manager, I called about the broken stick,” I politely replied. Coincidently that gentleman was the manager as he commenced the examination. His eyes intently scanned the stick as he grinned with suspicion, as if I was hiding marijuana in there. “These sticks are pretty good aren’t they? They usually have a longer life expectancy,” he dictated. I attempted to translate his facial expressions but it was tough, his demeanor was very capricious as I held on with suspense.
“Ya, I’ll swap her out for ya,” he hollered. “You will!”, I surprisingly said. “Yeah, it shouldn’t be a problem, if it was heavily used than I wouldn’t be able to do it but you said you’ve only played about 4 or 5 times so it isn’t that hideous,” said the manager. I can’t believe it, the manager just did me a “solid” (a favour). That’s customer service I thought to myself! Within minutes, the manager was accompanied with a replica of lady luck. “If this one breaks, I can’t replace it again, it’s only a one time swap only,” he stressed. I signed the receipt, downsized her length and was wholeheartedly fascinated with Pro Hockey Life’s customer service. I was really lucky, not only to be serviced well but to be reconvened with “her”. Good new is that she still lives and still going strong!
Have you ever been so obsessed with an item that broke where customer service exceeded your expectations and replaced it? I got lucky cause I was a regular customer.