Another Saturday Night
First Period of the Hockey Game
Tracy Rinkor and the varsity QB, Matt Langstrom, were among the nearly two thousand screaming fans in attendance. I sent an opponent over the boards, trapped the puck, juked around two defenders, and scored. I noticed Tracy looking in my direction. She wasn’t starring at the old guy in the scorer’s box. Nope, she wanted a piece of my action. Suck it Langstrom.
As I sat on the bench in between shifts, more to let the other guys on the team frolic on the ice so their parents could justify the thousands of dollars they paid to watch me skate, I talked with my coach. I pointed out that the hottest girl in school was in the stands.
“You hit that yet?” he responded after taking a pull off his cigar. Like all men, my coach’s social development ceased maturing somewhere around his junior year of high school.
“No, I think she has a boyfriend,” I moaned.
“So?” he retorted as if dating status was void of all social covenants.
I collided with an opponent on the ice. He fell. I stood. I picked up a pass from a teammate, deked out the goalie, and put the puck just under the crossbar. I don’t call it a hat trick unless you score three goals in a period because a goal a period is just too easy. I flipped the point-scoring puck over the glass in Tracy’s direction. She was sucking down a Diet Coke using a straw—so hot. Some douchebag dove for the puck and pocketed it as a souvenir, but Tracy got my message.
End of Period
The coach rambled in the locker room about some guy named Gipper and winning for him. I zoned out because I had heard the speech before and I only need to win games for myself. There is no ‘I’ in team, but if you drop the ‘T’ and ‘A’ and rearrange the remaining letters, you get “ME”. I thought about the post-game party at Crusher’s house. I was going to be on the receiving end of high fives and the giving end of “Atta boys”. I am the keg stand king.
As the team unloaded out of the locker room, the coach grabbed me, “So I was saying, if you want to go out with that broad, just beat up her boyfriend.” The bald guy was right. Brawn over lesser brawn always wins.
Start of the Third Period
I dove in front of a slap shot keeping my goalie’s shutout intact. Why play only one position when you can play all six simultaneously? Tracy had moved on to eating a hot dog-even hotter.
I exited the locker room, hockey bag over the shoulder, and swaggered to the exit. Cue my walking music.
“Can you believe Niehaus scored six goals tonight?” Langstrom asked while standing outside of the bleachers. He jammed his jumbo pretzel repeatedly into his plastic ramekin to absorb all the processed cheese out of the container. I nodded as acknowledgement of his question.
“I’ll see you in physics tomorrow,” I said as I continued my walk to the exit, “big test.”
Tracy came into my vision. She resembled Audrey Hepburn from the window scene in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
“Nice game,” she laid on me. Her piercing blue eyes eviscerated me. I froze. I’m the guy. It was my role to make the first move, not her. Now my chi was interrupted. My plan was for us to end up in the backseat of my 5.0 Mustang, you know, with the “ragtop down so my hair can blow”. Instead, I am staring at her as if I farted and she knows I did it.
“Son,” the voice bellowed, “we need to get to home. Your mother doesn’t want to miss Fraiser tonight.” Saved by my father. How embarrassing. Crushed, I couldn’t escape the hockey rink fast enough. I trudged past the concession stand to the nearest exit to go home and study.