Look, I don’t see it as my job to be socially responsible. I never asked to be a role model, as other maligned celebrities such as footballers, Natalie Portman and Jessica Rabbit have long maintained.
So here’s the thing: I want all you Melbourne hockey players to drink more on a Saturday night.
I want you guys who can really play to spend more time getting maggoted of a Saturday evening, truly donning those beer goggles, so that you’re in absolutely no fit state to, say, as a completely random example, attend an 8.30 am Stick & Puck session on a Sunday morning.
Is that too much to ask? I’ll even buy the first beer … before slipping away like smoke into a flame, as Paul Kelly sang (“Jundamarra“), to ensure I get a good night’s sleep, ready for, say, as a random idea, a Sunday morning Stick & Puck session.
As you may have guessed by now, my Sunday didn’t go according to plan. Showing admirable dedication to the sport, my puck buddy (yes, that was a ‘p’) Alex McNab vowed she was attending the 8.30 am Stick & Puck, pre-starting Intermediate tomorrow night. Her sister, Scarlett, declared that she was also in and, damn it, so was I. (Big Cat Place’s reply: “You’ve got to be kidding?”)
What the McNabs and I hadn’t counted on was turning up to find the Henke Rink logjam full of players, many of whom were clearly advanced players using the session for intense one-on-one defending/attacking drills, end-to-end skating and other high-standard drills; stuff that left us Rookies with very little clear ice on which to practice passes or, in my case, fall over. (Right-foot front-foot outside-edge turn getting ever closer.)
I’d gotten home at about 1.30 am the night before, after making the ill-advised decision that riding my pushbike to a party in Reservoir wouldn’t be much of a ride from my place. Ten mostly uphill kilometres later, I was ready for a drink and several whiskies later, I made the excellent decision to escape before the karaoke machine in the front room claimed my soul, or at least my dignity.
The ride home contained a whole bevy of adventures not related to a hockey blog, but the bottom line is that the alarm sounding at 7.30 am was a shock. Undaunted, I vaulted out of bed. The dream of clear ice, of an empty training session where I could skate free, the breeze in my helmeted hair, was too inviting.
Right up until we walked in and saw the ice was packed.
So, I mean, really, hockey players. Get it together. Do I need to spell this out to you?
Hockey is a working class, blue-collar, hard-drinking, fighting, cussing, rough-and-ready sport. There is no place in the game for disciplined trainers who are clear-eyed and ready to skate just after dawn on a Sunday. OK?
Glad we’re clear on that. Enjoy your Sunday sleep-in. Or else.