Enter the "Dra-Goon"

When I was a kid I had the misfortune of having an older sister who liked to "fight my battles." I questioned her motives, wondering if it wasn't so much to protect her kin or because she enjoyed the confrontations. I'm guessing it was more of the latter; though she has long since lost the bloodthirst for physical confrontation, she still enjoys the occasional verbal tête à tête.

What this translated into for Prego were the additional ass-kickings that ensued.

"Your sister's not (punch) here to save your ass now, f*ck-face (kick)."

Eventually, the ass kickings stopped. My sister lost interest and I actually fought back once. It was in Venezuela, circa 1983 when a new kid in the neighbourhood who wanted to prove himself rang the doorbell at my friend's house, announcing "I heard you wanted to fight," right before he swung a punch to the side of my head. The vision in my right eye blurred at the blow while something inside me snapped. I lunged at the *sshole with everything I could muster, catching him off-guard. I forgot how we were finally separated, but for weeks after the fight, the kid would simply walk by me and give me a nod, or a "What's up?"

In a way, that was my personal ass kicker's debutante ball, because I don't think I had to fight anymore after that. Yeah, I got jumped by a Guido in Buffalo around 1987, but I pretty much avoided conflicts altogether. I usually like to keep it that way, unless I'm wearing skates.

I don't know what it is about hockey, but every once in a while the tempers flare. Knowing that I'm donning protective equipment and a cage across my face might add to my bravado, so occasionally I get involved in a tussle. Maybe that's why I find myself near the top of the league in penalty minutes (PIM).

Usually, I find myself on the scoresheet with a couple of tripping or hooking calls. Thursday night, however, I racked some up in a most un-Prego fashion. One of the opposing players took exception to me tying him up in front of my goalie to prevent him from digging up a rebound and scoring. He decides to push back violently with his elbows. I shove back.

The next thing I know, I've got a face full of irate, yelling god knows what - to which I reply, "F*ck you," with a quick gloved swat to his cage.

"Grrrrrrraaaaaaawrrrr! I'm going to f*cking kill you!" he says, as he lunges at me over his teammates' shoulders.
"Go ahead," was my calm reply.
"I'm right here!" he continues, as we are separated by the officials and other players.

As I start skating towards the penalty box, the referee looks at me and points in the other direction.

"You're gone," he explains. "Game misconduct."

One of the guys on the other team explains succinctly "Punch in the face. Bye-bye, f*cking *sshole."

My nemesis remained on the ice. Despite the life threatening remarks and his part in the mêlée, I had thrown the only punch, and was thus ejected. I looked at the clock to see only nine minutes had elapsed. Worse yet, I'd only skated three shifts. As I entered the locker room, I felt quite alone - just me and some empty hockey bags. Though I hadn't even broken a sweat yet, I took a shower and went back to watch the rest of the game.

A couple of my teammates glanced over the glass, smiled or gave me a nod.

"What'd you do, take a psycho pill today?" asked Higgins.

It was a long game to watch, given the fact that ordinarily I'd be participating. I obviously hoped my team would win, making my blowout worthwhile somehow.

We did.

At the end of the game, the teams shake hands. I stood at the entrance to the rink and, who should come skating towards me but the same gentleman with whom I'd tangled. I braced myself for the worst, figuring out what to do if things got ugly again. As soon as he was about ten feet from me a wide smile came across his face as he extended his hand.

I took his hand and we gave each other a friendly hug.

"It's hockey, man," I told him.
"Good game," he replies.

(Yeah. All f*cking nine minutes of it.)

Have I joined the ranks of Stu Grimson, Bobby Probert, Joey Kocur or Dave "Tiger" Williams? Not quite. Doubtfully. Maybe I just joined the ranks of my sister. She was on to something.


craziequeen said...

Is that your bloody visage, Prego?

Isn't hockey 'all about the game, man...' or is that baseball?

Here from Michele

kenju said...

Maybe that's why I've never been a hockey fan, even though we have the Stanley Cup winners here in Raleigh now. (Gloat).

If you want to see a room in our Governor's Mansion decorated for Christmas with hockley insignia, come over and scroll down a few days.

keda said...

i can't believe that i've actually been staring at the stats links you gave, and trying to work out what the f*ck they mean for about 9 minutes.
i wish somebody would hit me and bring me back to my senses.

great tales babe. you scary bugger.

they bring back memories too, ooh those school days were not the best of my life. though turning into a hulk briefly was a turning point for me too ;)

i wonder if fox sports shows hockey here.. hmmmm..

Linda said...

Ah, Hockey! I was born and raised watching it. Never played (couldn't skate well enough and I was a GIRL!)...but I loves me a good hockey brawl! Even played the national antem for minor league hockey games in Canada.

My dad, the one who passed his hockey love to me, donned pads and cages and a big flat stick to become a goalie for his local town team. He did NOT KNOW HOW TO SKATE!!! But he learned, and he loved every minute of it, till his heart gave him problems. Now he's back to yelling at the TV.

Michele sent me!

Carrie said...

I hate fights. They make me cry but I know what you mean, it is hockey and that is just what happens.

I think you were a good sport about it. Good for you.

Now can you go find a bad hair picture for the contest that you read about?

angela marie said...

It's the testosterone, man.

Well, that doesn't explain your sister's proclivity to fighting, but still.

Atul said...

That's one thing about hockey I can't put my finger on. At what point do kids playing hockey start thinking it's ok to fight and give cheap shots while playing the game? And then that leads me to one thing I never understood about Canadians... Why are they so non-violent in general yet become maniacs on the ice?

Oh well. I never played ice hockey, (skates and equipment are expensive plus I played soccer which required little investment), but I know in the heat of battle it's hard not to let your emotions/frustrations out. When I'm on the soccer field I try to let my play get back at them. I love making a great save against a cocky or dirty-playing forward. If that doesn't work then I say something all the while remembering that if you win the whole league, all you get is a measly sweatshirt, nothing to get violent over.

At least one good thing about men is that we can kick each others' asses and get over it with a handshake or a hug.

Pickalish said...

I LOVE to watch hockey. If it's 'live'. Ask me to get on the ice, though, and it's another story. You guys are scary. I mean that in a very kind and loving way.

carli said...

Glad it all worked out. Wish I could play hockey. It sounds like a good way to get out bottled up aggression.

sage said...

And you think I should be a hockey player, the peace loving guy I am...

Great story, I loved it. For all my talk about being peace loving, I'm competitive and if I could skate would probably find myself in a similar situation. Too bad about getting thrown out of the game, but it gave you a great story and I like the way you explained how you felt in the empty locker, watching from the sidelines...

Shane said...

gotta love hockey.

enjoyed the post.

cheers from Michele's

Moogie said...

CQ...I thought it was football. :)

Remind me never to get you angry prego...or be anywhere near you on the ice.

Great post! Here via Michele...have a great day!

utenzi said...

Short bursts of violence are probably amazingly good for us on the inside. Our exteriors occasionally are a little worse for the wear. LOL But what would hockey be without a bit of rage every now and then, Prego? A sport for girls!

Michele sent me over to cheer you on!

Jacques Roux said...

Damn!!! Ejected?!?!?!? Too bad you didn't get the chance to take that f*ucker's teeth out.

It's only hockey. Whatever... You're the biggest, baddest bad ass in my book. Keep up the good work.

the beige one said...

Old time hockey!