Friday, April 22, 2011

Hockey Night in Canada

Sally was right. I played squash a bit too long last night. I was so excited to be playing hard again, that I think I played one or two games too many. Sally, who has come back from injuries before, warned me about my zeal. "One more game...I'm fine" I said. Well, I wasn't fine. The lower half of my leg throbbed most of the day today. Argh!

So, tonight after dinner I turned on the Sabres game and elevated my leg. It still hurt. After the first period (3-0 Sabres!) I thought I was safe to have a bath and soak. That always makes me feel better. So, I turned on the wee TV in the bathroom, drew a deep, hot bath and immersed myself. Flyers scored twice in the second period. But, my leg felt marvelous.

If Bill were home, I would have stayed out of the bathroom and watched with him on a decent sized TV. But, tonight he chose to hear guitar god, Jeff Beck play at the University of Buffalo. Some people make those kinds of decision during the playoffs. But, I keep forgetting that he's not Canadian.
During the commercials, I let my mind wander back to the first NHL game I ever attended.  My dad took me when I was about 8 years old. We went into Toronto to see the Leafs play - it was a really big deal. And, it was just the two of us. Back then, the Leafs played at Maple Leaf Gardens on Carlton. My mother dressed me and did my hair. I was so dressed up that my dress matched my coat. Dad told me we would have dinner first, near the Gardens, and then walk to the game. I was so excited. A Saturday night with my Dad, dinner  in Toronto and I was in an official "outfit". Back then, people did dress up for the game. My dad was wearing a jacket and tie.

I was envisioning a fancy dinner in the city. Apparently, my dad had other ideas. I have no clue where we ate, but it was touted as being Italian and the "waiter" took the order through a sliding window! It wasn't a drive- through, more like an old speakeasy. Not exactly a four star restaurant - but it didn't matter. I was on a date with my dad.

I can't remember who the Leafs were playing or even if they won, but I do remember two traumatic events that occurred that night:

1. Our seats were in the front row of a section. There was a railing that separated us from the section below.  The guy sitting beside my dad had a habit of leaning forward onto the railing during the particularly exiting plays- thereby obliterating my view. I wasn't very tall. I didn't say anything, but my dad was livid. He pulled the guy back and used some choice phrases using words like "ignoramus" and  "selfish asshole" and ending with "For CRISSAKES if you lean forward one more time..." Anyway, the guy didn't move the rest of the game - as I slowly died of embarrassment.

2. In the section to our left, a spectator got hit by the puck IN THE EYE!  The blood actually spurted and the unwary hockey neophyte was taken out on a stretcher. I had a good view of THAT, unfortunately.  My dad used this as an opportunity to teach an important hockey lesson : NEVER take your eye off the puck. 

Anyway, watching tonight's hockey game from the tub was very enjoyable. I had a clear view, my leg felt good, my brain conjured up a wonderful memory of my dad and the Sabres looked like they had some hope on the road.  I did have to wear my glasses (it's a wee TV, like I said) because, when watching the game - I never take my eye off the puck.

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