It took me a few days to even want to write about this, but my team lost our league championship game this past Sunday by a score of 3 to 0. Beer, tequila, chicken wings and sleeplessness followed.
I won't even bother to mention how the slight altercation at the end when I thought -- erroneously I've been told -- that someone from the other team threw his gloves in my face, leading me to blow a fuse. I then skated alone into the other team's celebration to call the other player an impolite name and then a lot of shoving and yelling and silliness ensued.
That's hockey for you. As my hockey buddy often says, a beautiful sport played by idiots. Like me.
It was, as expected, a physical and chippy game and the difference was that the best player for our opponents did what good players do -- made a couple of great plays resulting in two goals. We couldn't take advantage of some power plays and we had a goal waved off by the refs, who ruled the puck didn't entirely cross the goal line. I thought it did, but it wasn't the difference in the game.
I knew going in that the game could go either way. So losing wasn't entirely a surprise. And I think my team's feelings about the game were mixed -- pleased that we were good enough to get to a championship game, disappointed we're not yet good enough to win one, surprised perhaps how much the game meant to everyone.
I've been racking my brain trying to decide what we could have done different -- I'll get into some of my personal mistakes in my regular hockey crimes and misdemeanors post tomorrow. If I can pinpoint any one reason it was that our opponents did a very good job of holding the point, giving them second and third scoring chances and denying us the chance to play offense.
My advice to any beer leaguers out there: of the zillion things that your team should be working on, I would first and foremost practice the basic breakout over and over and over again until everyone is comfortable they can do it successfully on a frequent basis.
In the meantime, winter league starts early next month. So there isn't that much time to feel too badly.