Thursday, March 15, 2007

Some random stuff

» The thing with work is that it’s not just one major project, but all the other small stuff that has to go on while the project is running. I have to do so many niggling tasks that I feel like the rest of the staff are working harder than I am. It’s a mental block more than anything else; got loads done yesterday all by myself – not coincidentally, felt like a million bucks.

» Nobody uses their turn signals. I’m convinced there must be a rash of thefts of turn signal sticks. Seriously, some prankster is jimmying open car doors and just yanking them right out of the steering columns. It’s the only rational explanation.

» Back on 2/28 I wrote: “I’m cautiously optimistic. Just typing that probably ripped Rick DiPietro’s ACL or something, but I can’t help it.” I should have helped it. The Isles started losing important games to teams trying to catch them in the standings, and then lost DiPietro, their starting goalie, to a neck injury. He sat tonight while the Isles got clobbered in Ottawa. I think the last team I rooted for that had any success was the ’86 Mets.

» On a related note – one of hockey’s many “unwritten rules” is that you don’t run other teams’ goalies. As a result, goalies don’t really get bodychecked, but they still get contact. If you hassle a keeper you may distract him enough to score, or get him to slash at you and take a penalty. If you just run him over (and make it look like an opponent pushed you) you may put him out of the game. I don’t think it’s intentional, as in, “Gee, let’s hurt the goalie,” but in the back of the mind there’s the thought – “he’s playing well, let’s rough him up and rattle him a bit.” In this case, DiPietro had come way out of his net to beat a forward to a loose puck, so he was more exposed than usual; again, this happens. Steve Begin didn’t clobber him on purpose; but neither did he dive out of the way or anything. It’s all part of the game; and no, I’m not calling sour grapes here. I could use Dwayne Roloson’s injury during the ’06 Finals as a good example as well. Coaches tell guys constantly, “You’ve got to get physical with these guys,” and “Go hard to the net,” and there isn't a magical switch in your head when, at a split-second's notice, an off-balance goalie is in your path.

I’ve been run my share of times, though thankfully I’ve never been hurt badly enough to leave a game. On my level, though, the temptation is worse, because most teams on my level don’t carry a backup at all. If the goalie goes down, they have to borrow a guy from another team or toss some gear on a non-goalie – thus losing two good players instead of one.

I’ve played for nearly every team in our league at least once along the way, and so have most of the goalies. As a result, no matter what happens in a game, the goalies always get along. As an example – I was playing defense one game when a scuffle broke out at the opponent’s net. Of course we all ran over. The other goalie saw me from the corner of his eye and actually wound up to clock me, but I said, “Steve, it’s me.” He instantly goes, “Oh – hi, Mike.” And then he clocked someone else.

» I picked Kansas to win the tournament. Jayhawks fans – I’m sorry.

» Shannon C of “I’m Seriously, Damn It!” spoke very kindly of me the other day – said that blogs like mine (and Tracey’s and Ricki’s) help her and that she reads regularly. This, of course, was two days after I wished for Mark Millar to be run over by Stan Lee in a Hoveround. (Irony 1, Christian Witness 0.) But still, my sincere thanks for the kind words; it keeps me going when I’m feeling blue. A word in season, how good it is!

» Speaking of which, this is an interesting reply to my Captain America rant. I think that KG and I disagree less than he supposes. I don’t think patriotism is obsolete at all; I just think that Mark Millar thinks it is. And having read my Lewis (in this case, The Four Loves), I am aware that blind patriotism has its dangers. I also think, however, that the ideal is necessary. Too many people talk as if blind patriotism invalidates all patriotism, as part of a general outlook that supposes that anything gone wrong means that it getting it right is impossible, and not much worth trying. To no-one’s surprise this means that people risk little, and aspire to no greatness of any kind - works, words, spirit, or virtue.

There’s a whole post related to this, just starting to percolate inside of me. For now I’ll just note that, for a society that likes to discount the Fall of Man, we do an awful lot of worrying about the fall of our principles.

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