early start to Sunday's game, to accommodate the Olympic Gold Medal
final, still wasn't soon enough for Pig Farming Goalie, who was
psyched to celebrate the game.
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Gold Medal prelude still not soon enough for some
by Jay Suburb
With his shadow as long as the hockey court, Pig Farming
Goalie paced up and down in the early morning sunshine, his excitement
for the day's events on a razor's edge.
The start of Sunday's game had been moved up by an hour
to accommodate the Olympic Gold Medal game later that day, but the roadsters
didn't have any trouble resetting their alarm clocks.
"There is lots of excitement, lots of apprehension,"
says Pig Farming Goalie of his anticipation for the big day. "I
was up so early to get here, it demonstrate support we have for players."
It was all Bulldog could do from showing up at the courts
in the middle of the night.
"I was up at seven o'clock this morning, excited
and ready to play," says the veteran forward. "It's a significant
day in hockey."
And while the roadsters are a long way from their ice
brothers that would clash at the Olympic arena, they were bonded in
spirit, as hockey players of every ilk gathered to celebrate the game.
"It show how deep roots of game run," says Pig
Farming Goalie. "It show how passionate people are for game."
"It's a big day today in hockey history," says
Elvis. "It gives you that extra spark. It wasn't too tough to get
motivated to get out here."
"It gets you all pumped up," says Billy Idol,
who was a surprise starter in net, as both Ottoman and New Guy traveled
out of town.
"It just brings the game to a whole new level of
meaning," says Bulldog. "It's a tradition. It means a lot
to those of us who come out every week."
Even as his team packed up their equipment, after a hard-fought
come-from-behind victory, 20-16, their satisfaction was restrained.
Amongst the losers, there were no long faces. Afterall, the real victors
and vanquished would be decided in a few more hours.
"We really dug down deep," says Bulldog, of
his team's heroic climb back from an early deficit. "We were inspired
to be out here today, we focussed on what today meant."
"We lost the game today, but I don't think there's
too many glum faces," says Elvis. "It makes it a lot more
fun, with so much to look forward to this afternoon."
"It is big day, of course, and I thought this would
be perfect way to start it," says Pig Farming Goalie.
Remarkably, not all the roadsters were electrified by the day's events,
as attendance at Sunday's game was the lowest in many weeks. Each team
played with only one spare.
And that might have been a factor in his side's second half swoon, said
Billy Idol. After holding leads of up to four goals in the first half,
they slipped steadily after the second period.
"When you've only got one guy coming off, you've got two guys still
out there who haven't had a chance to rest."
With fatigue taking its toll on some players, particularly the elderly
Living Legend, backchecking became more sporadic, defensive lapses multiplied.
"We sorta slipped up on our defensive game a bit," said Elvis.
"We had the lead, and I think we just lost sight of our defensive
"I think it show lots," said Pig Farming Goalie of his opponents'
waning energy. "Fitness I think was one factor."
But some roadsters welcomed the paucity of players.
"It certainly has an impact on how much time you're getting out there
on the courts," said Bulldog. "It keeps your head that much
more in the game when you have fewer people. You have to be fully aware
of who's out there, and what kind of stage they're in in the game."
"I can't say I had too much of a hard time," said Elvis. "I
like the extra playing time."
For the goalies, the biggest challenge wasn't weary defenders, or
the early start, but the morning sun that glared straight into the face
of the creaseminder guarding the west net. Not surprisingly, most of the
scoring happened in that end.
"That was hard," said Billy Idol, of the blinding burst
of sunshine. "I couldn't see the other end of the court. My eyes
were tearing up. You're trying to squint at the same time you're needing
to keep your eyes wide open."
"It tough facing sun," said Pig Farming Goalie, who made his
first start in a month as he recovered from various aches and injuries.
"I find myself sit back in net a little bit more. Sometimes I try
to come out and cover as much net as possible."