Birds with arms, endless politics and dinosaur sex. I need hockey back.

Life without hockey: meh.

Life without hockey: meh.

Oh, these non-hockey weeks can drag.

The Victorian hockey world is going a little loopy. Well, I know I am, but I suspect I’m not alone.

On Facebook, politics and tension ripple across the various hockey pages. The IHV winter draft was finally held – long delayed because of Game of Thrones machinations in backrooms, leading to resignations and indignations. Friends of mine, from summer league teams, finally discovered their fate; drafted to teams they knew, or didn’t. A goalie got drafted as a player and therefore isn’t playing after all. Or maybe wouldn’t have been drafted anyway. And discuss. Endlessly.  Spitfires moved up to the show, even into “checking” hockey, where bodies can be hit.

For those drafted and meeting teammates, a new world beginning. For us summer players, counting the long months until next season, we have to wait for Icehouse classes to recommence, or at least some scrimmages, or plunge into the Next Level frenzy at Oakleigh.

It’s gotten so bad that this morning (Thursday), a few of my fellow Interceptors dragged their sorry arses down to the Docklands for a 7 am drop-in game. Only to find the ice was double-booked and the drop-in was cancelled. That number again: 7. A.M.

The surprise was that their weekend hangovers had faded. We’d had our end-of-season presentation night on Saturday, full of vote-counts and stories and hockey players in suits or cocktail dresses, and strawberry dacquiris. Hockey players lurching, drunken, out of bars and eventually wandering Chapel Street on the wrong side of 2 am, hunting any place that would serve us beer.

When hockey players scrub up: Spitfires presentation night.

When hockey players scrub up: Spitfires presentation night.

In the taxi, winding home, at 2.55 am, I looked again at my watch and it was suddenly 2.10 am. Huzzah for the end of daylight saving. A respectable finish after all.

And then a long week of no hockey. Throwing myself into culture to fill the hole.

Sunday at the comedy festival, Lawrence Leung funny as a part-time detective, and then roaming the city with my girl.

Monday, finding work and life difficult, eventually riding bikes through the cool evening with Chloe, blowing cobwebs from our minds. Loving the night.

Tuesday, the Pajama Men at the Fairfax Studio at the Arts Centre. Adoring those guys as much as ever. “You’re too kind. On a scale of one-kind to ten-kind, you’re two-kind.” That joke among about a thousand in an hour. Wham, wham, wham, wham.

Wednesday night, eating bargain schnitzel at the Swiss Club on Flinders Street with Mackquist, and watching more comedy festival shows, instead of chasing a puck.

Every day planning to go to the gym, but not quite getting there. Every day, planning to lift weights, but managing it exactly once. Eating the wrong foods, not exercising, feeling my hard-won fitness sliding away. The stupid, troublesome knee aching here, hurting there, or otherwise fine. Seeing the doctor, getting a referral. Wondering what all the medical talk on the MRI result means. A small tear, healing. Surgery or no surgery? Booked for a specialist on Monday.

Thursday night hanging with a hockey crowd to eat cheap dumplings in Chinatown, and hear hilarious stories of erotic fiction at the Wheeler Centre. Jeff the Wiggle schtupping Dorothy the Dinosaur, a TV reality fitness host taking on Matt Preston, sans cravat. So so so so wrong.

Dorothy: say it ain't so.

Dorothy: say it ain’t so.

Talking hockey politics, so much of that while we’re not skating, and life and everything else. Counting the seconds until Sunday, when a Nite Owl scrimmage will see me back on the ice for the first time in more than two weeks, dodgy knee or not. Wondering if I’ll be able to stand on skates after that break, whether my legs are wasting away as much as I think, while I can’t run.

Reduced to spending too much time on Facebook, looking up ‘birds with arms’ on Google image, watching docos about bikie gangs for my next novel, keeping my breath calm as the mighty Richmond Tigers win their first two games of the season, laughing with my boys, walking my dog, debating with my also-son whether it’s a giant spider or whale on the second floor of a café, making all that furniture-dragging noise, drinking too much coffee, despairing at Australian politics, wondering if North Korea is really that stupid, laughing at the emotional tributes for ruthless Margaret Thatcher, wondering if I’d be fitter if I was on the weight-losing, muscle-building chemicals that AFL people are said to be on, pondering why I haven’t just dug my inlines out of my boot and taken on the Giants car park to fill the skating hole.

In other words, doing anything but chase a puck. Dev league starts again next Wednesday. Summer league is half a year away. The Nite Owls skate on Sunday. It can’t come soon enough.

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