The fun thing about small-town beer leagues is that everyone knows everyone. The way more fun thing about small-town beer leagues is that when violence breaks out, the entire world knows about it.
The Morning Skate group chat went down Nostalgia Avenue this morning, especially those of us who’ve been locked down and haven’t played a game of hockey not presented by EA Sports in the hottest of minutes. I dropped the story about the last time I played in a game that devolved into me picking up a sussy for punching my boss directly in the mouth.
Let me set the scene for you. The JHL Battle of the Basement. The bottom two teams in the league fighting for the final playoff spot late in the season (I’m serious. There’s 7 teams and 6 make the playoffs). Seconds counting down on the hopes and dreams of the Beavers, while the Hawks struggle to keep their dreams alive. Enter Hawks relatively untalented power forward Jenkins #81 stage right, where he spots an unchecked man parked illegally in the blue paint. Contact or no contact, if you sit on the crease, you’re gonna get removed. I mean, all I really did was push him. (What really happened was I cross-checked him directly in the middle of his lower back, but who’s keeping score?)
It’s also worth mentioning here that the gentleman in question was also the only reason the league is still alive, as well as the referee-in-chief. He’s super goddamn valuable to the league. But again….. Stay out of my crease.
Now obviously I’m a man of logic. I’m neither mad nor shocked about the fact that the next thing that happened was that I had both of his hands locked in on the collar of my jersey, being invited to leave the ice and discuss our disagreements elsewhere. That said, I’m also a man who realizes that if you’re holding onto me with both of your hands, you’re protecting your face with none of your hands. Pop goes the weasel baby.
The moral of the story here is that allegiance means nothing when your jerseys don’t match. That and only ever grab a jersey with one hand. We did see each other at work the next day, shake hands and agree that it was probably dumb to scrap in a no-contact beer league but hey, warriors are gonna go to war when the bell rings.