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Beetle Boy says he welcomes the warmer weather after cutting his hockey teeth in a roller league in more temperate climes.

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Week 33
Bugged by the heat

Beetle Boy thrives, while others shrivel

by Jay Suburb

Beetle Boy took advantage of Sunday's searing sun to score five goals, leading his team to a decisive 20-16 win. The rest of the roadsters just wanted to take shelter.

While defenders lazily strolled back into their own zone, conserving energy in the wilting weather, Beetle Boy buzzed the crease, chopping at rebounds, finding the open corner.

"I was getting a little more room to move than I normally do," says Beetle Boy. "After a while, everyone gets hot and overheated and the game slows down a little bit more. I just had more time out there."

The heat turned the evil orange plastic ball soft, sticky and difficult to control. Sharp, pinpoint passes bounced harmlessly over waiting blades. Stickhandling became an adventure. And the game's speedsters lost their advantage.

"When the ball sticks like that, the speedy guys can't stickhandle," says Ottoman. "They can't go from the backhand to the forehand. It definitely changes the game."

Slow is just the way he likes it, says Beetle Boy. "You can't run by thinking you're going to be able to stickhandle your way up the court. You've gotta make sure you have control and try to move a little slower."

But as the offensive arthropod soaked up the sun, less acclimated players sought shade.

"I just had no legs today," says Paul One, whose team squandered an early 5-1 lead "We were going pretty well, until we ran out of gas."

"Everyone is feeling it," says Ottoman, who stripped off his jersey late in the game to get some relief from the relentless heat. "The intensity drops, guys were just wanting to leave."

Beetle Boy's no stranger to warm weather. He joined the Sunday Morning league after cutting his hockey teeth in a roller league in more temperate climes.
"I don't mind this at all," said the rookie forward. "I enjoy playing in this weather."
In fact, early in his road career, he only played when the sun was shining. He made no apologies for being a fair-weather roadster.
But with the season winding down, he's become one of the league's most reliable roadsters, even playing through the occasional Spring rainstorm.
"I think it's important to get a chance to play in all conditions so you're not surprised when it comes to the Stanley Stick," said Beetle Boy.

As always, it was the goalies, shrouded in their heavy pads and tight plastic helmets, who suffered the most in Sunday's heat.
Gump, making his first start since last year's Stanley Stick final, succumbed after only five goals and turned the shotstopping duties over to Lobsterboy.
After the game, Ottoman collapsed in a heap.
"It definitely gets hot out there," said the supine shotstopper. "The worst part is when the sweat starts getting into your eyes, you can't see, it stings a bit."

With only one substitute available for one team, and two for the other, the players also struggled with the conditions. And their conditioning.
"You just have to get off the court more often to get a rest," said Beetle Boy. "The sun gets in your eyes, you're sweating more, and you're losing fluids."
"This was strictly a conditioning game," said Paul One. "You have to pace yourself quite a bit, you can't be running all over the place."
"It was hard to establish any kind of continuity," said Ottoman. "Guys wanna come off, and guys were going back on when they still wanted to stay off."