Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Hockey Players And Teddy Bears

I play hockey on Monday nights with a good friend of mine called Jon Ripley. Rips is Canadian, but I try not to hold that against him. After a game in October, we were in the parking lot, drinking a beer, and talking about our club's monthly deal with our local minor league team, the Denver Cutthroats. We sell tickets for ten bucks, and our charity gets to keep two. We usually sell a few hundred seats, so we all get a monthly fun night out of pro hockey, while Dawg Nation earns some money. The Cutthroats love us- we've bought around a thousand tickets this season, which is a pretty big deal since they're just getting started.

On those nights, Dawg Nation normally gives a check to a deserving hockey player that's been sick or injured, because that's the whole idea behind our foundation. But last year, I had been in Rapid City, South Dakota, and they held a Teddy Bear Toss, where people bring stuffed animals to the game, and then throw them out on the ice after the first goal. It was one of the coolest things I had ever seen.

So Rips and I look at each other and say, "Why don't we try to do that for our game in December? Do you think the Cutthroats would go for it?" Rips found the Rapid City clip on Youtube, and we went over and showed it to Cappy, who runs the charity. He loved the idea, and called The Fish the next day. They got on board right away, so we had ourselves a Teddy Bear Toss, if we could get it together.

Rapid City has been doing this for around five years, so now it's a tradition, and they throw a crapload of animals out on the ice. But we were afraid that for at least this first year, about 20 people would throw one out, and it would look lame. We needed to stack the deck a bit, and buy some stuffed animals to make sure enough got out there. But we'd need some money for that.

So three generous Dawgs ponied up $1400 total from either their companies or their pocket, and we were able to buy 300 stuffed animals wholesale from another of our players that is in that business. We decided to try and sell them before the game to people that didn't have an animal with them, and maybe make a few extra bucks for whatever charity we picked to receive the animals.

The charity turned out to be easy. A board member from the Denver Santa Claus Shop happened to be the wife of one of our players, Jack Kelly, who had passed away a couple of years ago. In fact, Jack was the main inspiration for starting the Dawg Nation Hockey Foundation, so this was perfect.

Honestly, as the game day approached, we were scared shitless. There were so many variables. Would anybody come to the game on a Saturday night in December, or would they be going to Christmas parties? Would anyone buy our animals, or would we have to find a way to get them thrown out on the ice? What if the Fish didn't score? How would we get them cleaned up without delaying the game for a long spell?

Before the game, I set a few personal goals (imagine Morgan Freeman's voice for this part). I hoped that a hundred people would buy a stuffed animal from us, and we'd have $500 to give to the Santa Claus Shop. I hoped that we'd have another 200 animals out there, making a total of 500 when we got ours on the ice. I hoped that we could get them cleaned up quickly, without getting the old stink eye from the hockey players.

I hoped...

Well, to my surprise and delight, and because of a big effort by a charming and good looking sales staff, we sold every damn one of our stuffed animals. When we got rid of the last one, we jumped around and high fived each other like we won the friggin' Stanley Cup. The kids would be getting $1500 in cash, but how many stuffed animals would we be taking over there?

The answer came at 1:15 of the second period. Troy Schwab scored for the Cutthroats on a rebound, and then this happened:

It started raining stuffed animals. I was among the gang of Cutthroats staff and Dawg Nation hockey players down on the ice (#35 in red, trying not to fall on my ass), and they just kept coming, and coming, and coming.

It was brilliant.

We gathered them all up fairly quickly, and took them underneath the stands to bag 'em up. As we were doing it, we took an approximate count. Drum roll, please...


That number shattered every expectation we had. Rips and I looked at each other, allowed ourselves a few happy expletives, and then set out to see if we had enough vehicles to get them all home. Kids, that's a fun problem to have.

That's me on the left, and then Rips, Cappy, and Rich. The animals weren't that big- we're all just that short 

Monday afternoon, we got the privilege of loading 25 trash bags full of stuffed animals into my minivan, which was so gut-full, my wife Annie had to ride with a big dog in her lap, and head on down to the Denver Santa Claus Shop. We worried about whether we would be overwhelming them with so many- would it be too much for them to handle?

Uh...no. When we got there, there must have been 700-800 people in line waiting for toys. Our dogs, and bears, and big bananas, and lots of other different things would find a home. Kathy Kelly and the staff were waiting for us, and made us feel great while we unloaded the van. I'm sure they've gotten bigger contributions, but they made us feel like we were the biggest ever.

This wasn't all of it- there were another 10 or so bags

So because of the generosity of our sponsors, and the hard work of a very dedicated small group of people, we pulled this thing off. What started as an idea from two hockey players with a combined IQ of around 29 (he's Canadian and I'm a goalie- how smart can we be?), turned into something that we'll be proud of forever.

And wait 'til next year...

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Come To The Dawg Nation Teddy Bear Toss!

When I'm not writing stupid jokes, I'm a board member of a charity called the Dawg Nation Hockey Foundation. Two years ago, we lost a player named Jack Kelly to an auto-immune disease, and in his honor we started this charity that helps adult hockey players who have been badly injured or are seriously ill. In less than two years, we've raised over $200,000, and have helped 15 players throughout the Rocky Mountain Region. We're really proud of it- for more info take a look dawgnationhockey.org.

This Saturday night, we're going outside our usual scope and putting on what's called a Teddy Bear Toss at the Denver Cutthroats game against the Allen Americans. We'd love everyone that comes to bring a stuffed animal, and when the Fish score their first goal, all the toys are thrown on the ice. It's really cool- I was lucky enough to be at this game in Rapid City last year when this happened:

Here's the good part- we're selling tickets for only $10, and that includes parking. Plus the Cutthroats will give you a two for one ticket on a future game. If you forget to bring a stuffed animal, one of us handsome devils will be selling them for a small donation at the Dawg Nation table. When they're tossed out on the ice, we'll collect and deliver them to the Denver Santa Claus Shop. That way it will end up with a kid who might not otherwise get a present this year.

Here's the link for the tickets:

This is a terrific cause, plus you get a night of quality professional hockey for only $10. See you there on Saturday night!

Is It a Flash Mob? Nope, It's the CCU Cougars

Last summer, I got roped into being part of a hockey "flash mob" that was put on by a new local adult hockey website. The idea was to get a bunch of people together, and surprise two men's league's teams by going to their game, and making a bunch of noise like we were cheering for them. The concept was a ripoff of a Budweiser commercial that was very popular in Canada. Here it is if you've never seen it.

Anyway, I went, but it all seemed pretty artificial. There weren't enough people make very much noise, and I kind of resented the guy stealing a pretty cool idea. If you're smart enough to launch a new website, then be smart enough to come up with an original idea, right?

Well, last Sunday night I got to be part of something very similar, except this turned out to be the real deal. I got to live the experience of playing a game against a club team called the Cougars from Colorado Christian University. And it turned out to be one of favorite nights of hockey ever. Keep in mind I'm 54, so I've had many, many, many nights of hockey. And this is in the top five for sure.

I was called by one of my friends on Thursday, asking if I could substitute on his Sunday night team for their regular goalie. I get calls like this all the time, and I always try to help out if I can. I love getting the extra ice time.

So I showed up, met my new teammates, dressed and went out on the ice for warmups. Right before the game, my friend skated up and said, "I forgot to tell you- these guys have a pretty big rooting section. Just wanted to warn you in advance". I didn't think much of it- usually a big opposing rooting section means some dude's girlfriend yelling at me that I'm too old or too fat. I'd just do what I always do- point my stick at her, grab my crotch with my catching glove, and get on with the game. Oh, and more often than not, my team kicks her boyfriend's ass, so there.

But I wasn't ready for what happened next. About a hundred people walked into the rink, and they were fired up. I think they were keeping warm inside the lobby at the arena, because they all came in at one time, and started making a bunch of noise right from the opening faceoff. It was just like the clip above, except it was the genuine article.

Now, I had done some research before I played that night, because a) I like to see how good my opponent is, and b) I'm a giant stat dork. And I found that the Cougars had lost all seven of their games this season, and were a minus 44 on goal difference. I'll save you the math- they were losing by around six goals per game. But still, here were a hundred folks of all ages supporting their team. I normally don't impress easily, because I'm old and mostly dead inside, but I don't mind telling you, this was really cool.

So the game started, and I spent much of the first period trying to figure out how these kids could be a minus 44. They were all over my ass in the first ten minutes, and even scored the first goal on a deflection that I probably should have stopped. I was told it was the first time they'd led a game this season, and their fans went ape-shit.

We tied the game, and then went ahead right before the end of the period, but any thoughts of me having an easy night were out the window. When they leveled the game back up early in the second on a nice play in front of the net, these young people were feeling it, and so were the supporters.

And I couldn't help but smile. Because unlike most young teams I normally play against, these guys, and at least one girl, were exceptionally nice and polite. I chatted up the assistant captain, a great kid named Austin, before the start of the game, and he told me that the squad wasn't real good, but they concentrated on having fun. That's my kind of team right there. They were a real mixture of talent- they had three or four that could really play, maybe seven that were middle of the road, and a few that I could tell were just beginning their hockey careers. But they all got equal playing time, which doesn't always happen, and it was another reason I liked them so much.

During the second period, I covered the puck on the ice with my glove to stop play, and one excited CCU player came in late and smacked my glove pretty hard after the whistle, which is a big no-no in hockey circles. Just out of instinct, I jumped up and skated towards him to let him know not to do that any more, and he apologized. I think Reagan was president the last time anybody apologized to me for a late poke. Then I skated by their bench a few minutes later after a delayed penalty, and the same kid apologized again. I tapped him on the helmet with my glove, and skated back to my crease, shaking my head and laughing to myself.

We got a goal before the end of the second, and were holding on to a 3-2 lead heading to the last period. But my team was pretty tired- I think some of them had played earlier that day. So the teams went back and forth, but nobody could score, and it was still a one goal game very late.

Now the CCU fans were going nuts, because their kids had a real chance to tie the thing up. The Cougars pulled their goalie for an extra attacker, and we got some breathing room when we scored an empty netter to make it 4-2 with around 1:15 left.

But damned if they didn't get one right back about 15 seconds later, when a very good player named Andrew Raggio lazered one through the Eisenhower Tunnel that is my five-hole. I'll tell you what- when that puck went in, I've never heard an explosion like that since I've been playing hockey. Those terrific supporters about blew the roof off the Joy Burns Arena. 4-3, and there was still a minute left.

Now the fans were all up and chanting "CCU! CCU!". Honest to God, I got chills down the back of my neck. This was totally new for me, and I actually yelled out "Holy shit!", but nobody could hear me.

Then with about 15 seconds left, one of the Cougars chipped the puck past our defenseman, and broke in two-on-one with one of his teammates. I didn't think it was possible to get louder in there, but the CCU fans were in a freakin' frenzy. He ended up taking a shot that somehow found my glove, and I held it for a faceoff. When I looked to my left, I saw my Cougar buddy that had apologized earlier. He had a big smile on his face, and said, "Great save!".

Are you kidding me? Every other hockey player on Earth would have called me a lucky mother-you-know-what, but this terrific kid congratulates me. I'll admit it- there's a pretty big part of me that wishes that damn puck would have gone in. I would have loved to seen the reaction from their players and fans.

Anyway, we ran off the last few seconds, and held on to win the game by a goal. And while we were in the handshake line, their fans were all banging on the glass, and yelling "CCU! CCU!". As I skated past them on the way to the locker room, I banged my stick on the ice and pointed to them. Some of the people gave me a look like I was dissing them, but it was completely the opposite. I was just trying to say thanks. At my age, I'm very deep into the "back nine" of my playing career, and this is one game I'll always remember.

So now the Colorado Christian University Cougars have one more huge fan, as if they needed one. I'll be keeping an eye on the CCU Facebook page, hoping to read about their first win. Holy cow, would I like to be there when that happens. And if they ever need a broken down old goalie to sub, they can always call me.

Austin, I stole your picture of us- hope you don't mind

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Old Dawgs Hammer Pickleheads, 9-5

The Old Dawgs crawled above the .500 mark for the first time this season last Thursday night, courtesy of a convincing 9-5 win over the Pickleheads. The Dawgs built a huge lead after two periods, and then coasted home for their third win of the 2012 winter SDOHL campaign.

 Old Dawgs captain and former salad tosser Marty Richardson again led the way for his club, scoring his seventh and eighth goals, and adding three assists. Forward Eric Wilks, bravely battling his way back from a severely bruised uterus sustained on opening night, put in his first two of the season, and made it through the entire game without screaming like a bitch.

Center Mario Lopez, whose wife just recently gave birth to their first child, celebrated by banging in his third and fourth of the year, while Mike Freeman, Mike Pijanowski, and Danny Cashman each tallied single goals for the club.

Last season's Vagina Trophy winner Al Sterner, struggling early in the winter season to find his 2011 form, played okay through two periods before surrendering three in the third during "garbage time". So far this fall, the only resemblance between Sterner's game and the Vagina Trophy has been the vagina part.

   Sterner, 2012

The Old Dawgs got off to great start, when Richardson slotted in his first just three minutes in, and then doubled the lead three minutes later. He is currently the point leader in the SDOHL, now stacked with a bunch of good players, with eight goals and a whopping 10 assists.

After Lopez got his first to make it 3-0, the Pickleheads answered back when Jim Moffatt scored two quick goals during the middle of the period. One of the new players to the SDOHL this year, Moffatt has 11 total goals, easily leading the league (but 0 assists). But Lopez restored the lead to two before the end of the frame, and the Dawgs led 4-2 heading to the second.

The Dawgs put the game away in the second, pouring in five unanswered goals. Freeman got his third of the year, Cashman his third, Pijanowski his fourth, and Wilks his first and second. With the outcome well in hand, the boys took it easy in the third period, and the Pickleheads made it look a little more like a game, scoring three. The only thing that suffered by the final goals was Sterner's goals against average, but he never worries about personal statistics.

The Old Dawgs will try to keep it going this week, but they run into the best team in the SDOHL so far, when they play Clockwork Orange. Clockwork Orange is undefeated in five games, and has only allowed 11 goals total. Game time is 9:55.

In other Old Dawgs news:

This week, the search began to find the real father of Mario Lopez's baby girl. The field has been narrowed considerably.

  Could be any of these guys...

Desperate for a goal scorer, this week the Denver Cutthroats signed Old Dawgs captain Marty Richardson to a contract.

They quickly realized they made a huge mistake, and decided to go in another direction.

This week Old Dawgs forward and soon to be septuagenarian Mike Sullivan became a grandfather for the first time. After a tough battle with some health issues, his daughter Mary gave birth to a beautiful, strong baby boy.

 Look at that proud grandpa...

It's easy to tell the similarities between grandfather and grandson. They both are ruggedly handsome, they both have strong Irish roots, and....they both wear Huggies.

Okay, who didn't see this joke coming down Broadway?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Family Night and the Spelling Bee V

So five years ago, the kids and I were looking for something to watch on TV one night, and happened upon the Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. We weren’t very interested at first, because none of us could even begin to spell the words, and it didn’t move very quickly. We almost changed the channel.
But then we took a closer look at the contestants.

In 1927, the New York Yankees had a lineup so powerful, they were called the “Murderers Row”. Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and a bunch of other guys. Well my friends, the kids in the spelling bee are the Murderers Row of dorks, and a sacred family tradition was born. Since then, we’ve gathered every June to spend two solid hours making fun of these brilliant, eccentric, damaged little bastards. Honest to God, it’s our Super Bowl.

And for the fifth consecutive year, I’ve kept a running diary of the evening. It’s my favorite article to write, and from all the feedback I get, it’s your favorite one to read. As the years have passed, the jokes flying around the room have gotten dirtier, less politically correct, and funnier than anything I’ve ever experienced. Between this and the Miss USA beauty pageant (happens two days later), I physically hurt by the end of the weekend.
As always, I must preface this article by letting you know that I completely realize that we are a bunch of gigantic assholes, and we should get a better hobby. And for the fifth straight year, I don’t give a flying fuck. How many families ever get together and laugh their asses off for two hours?

Here we go:

7:00- Good evening, and welcome to the Sterner basement cave! I’m here with my gorgeous wife Annie, who for the fifth consecutive year, will try and fail to keep the jokes within some form of good taste. With us are my oldest son Mike (17), and youngest son Ben (12). I have another son Sam (16), who has chosen to go to a friend’s house instead of participating. He’s now out of my will. He’ll have to find that hundred bucks someplace else.
As usual, I’ll be in my recliner, scribbling notes like a maniac, and trying not to shit my pants. It’s a coin flip right now whether I make it or not.

The coverage starts, and this year the host will be Sage Steele from ESPN, who is a vast improvement over the always annoying Tom Bergeron. Goddamn, I hate Tom Bergeron. And with her once again is Paul Loeffler, who participated in this contest in the 90’s, and is celebrating his 33rd year of virginity. Interviewing the kids will be Samantha Steele, who may or may not be related to Sage.
    Okay, probably not...
This year, there are nine kids in the final, so let’s introduce our crew. And once again, I’ll be giving them all nicknames. You’ll see why in just a moment.

Stuti Mishra- Stuti is a very pleasant little girl, except the poor kid has that Indian curse of possessing a pencil thin mustache. She looks like  John Waters . We’ll call her “PTM”.
Arvind Mahankali- Arvind was a finalist last year, and he’s from New York City. He hasn’t grown much, and he’s still a scrawny little bastard. Once again, he’ll be “Starvin’ Arvind”.

Jordan Hoffman- Very nice young lady, which as always, means she has not one chance in hell to win. She’s kind of a big girl- her head and body have the same size and shape as Adele. She collects snow globes, which instantly qualifies her as the “girl most likely to be living with eight cats in ten years”. She’ll be “Adele Who Can Spell”.
Emma Ciereszynski- See what I mean about writing out all the names? Another white girl- and I mean really really, really white. If she ever sees the sun, she’ll quickly burst into flames. Her heritage alone dictates that she has no shot at winning. She’ll be “Emma the Polack”. The joke potential is so high right now, I just pooped a little bit in my boxer briefs.

Snigdha Nandipati- Our third and final kid of Indian descent, which is a real down year for the ol’ Hindus. Her name is pronounced Snigg-duh, but I’ve modified it a bit. I decide to call her “Snigga’ With Attitude”, which draws a nice laugh from Mike, and a brief dirty look from Annie. Yeah, I’m going to hell…
Frank Cahill- Okay kids, we have a little bit of a situation here. Frank is from Parker, Colorado, and was coached in lacrosse by my very good friend and hockey teammate, whom I call Nard Dawg. Nard, who happens to be a loyal reader of this blogsite, has asked that I don’t pick on Frank, who is a very nice, gentle giant of a young man.

Nard Dawg’s a terrific defenseman on both teams that I play on. Do I risk a month’s worth of breakaways by cracking his boy? Fuck, what should I do?
Sorry, Nard. I’m an Equal Opportunity Dickhead. The boy’s about eight feet tall, is dressed like a UPS driver, and looks like a famous cartoon character. I know I’m going to pay for this, but dammit, he’s “Bob the Builder”. I can’t help it.

Gifton Wright- Gifton is from Jamaica, which always stirs memories of my shitty vacation there about 12 years ago. Don’t worry, be happy, my aching balls. Make no mistake- they hate our fucking guts, and if our tourist money didn’t comprise most of their economy, they’d be thrilled to see us all dead. Uh…not my favorite week.
Anyway, Gifton looks exactly like Lil’ Bill from the cartoons, which not only brings a Jamaican accent into play, but also my exceptionally poor Bill Cosby impression. So there’s that, I guess.

Nicholas Rushlow- I wrote about this kid for the past two years, and he finally worked his way into the finals. He’s a goofy little bastard, is a ginger, and has a perfect Jew-Fro. Shit, take a look for yourself:
So he finally made it to the Big Dance, and I am a very happy short guy right now. Mike names him the “Spellin’ Hebrew”, which draws the first DVR pause of the night, while I cry for a minute. Made it almost six minutes this year…
Lena Greenberg- holy Mother of God. There’s one special mutant every year, and this year it’s Lena. She has a high, squeaky voice, and moves around like she’s autistic, but she’s not. At least I don’t think she is. Mike wants to call her “Squeaky Jew”, but Nicholas is already representing the Chosen People. So I intervene and name her “Rain Girl”.

(Take a moment on that one if you need it. Ah, there it is. Okay, let’s move on…)

7:10- Alrighty, we’re finally past all the intros and features, and we’re ready to spell some words you’ve never heard of. Just in case you’re keeping score early, there are four kids of color (three Indians and Lil’ Bill), and five white kids (well, four white kids and Rain Girl- not sure she is of our species), which kind of makes this the Halley’s Comet of spelling bees. You probably won’t see this again in your lifetime. Better wake the kids.
Annie asks me to pause the DVR, and tries to invoke the Mom Rule, which states that you can say anything you want, as long as you don’t fart for the whole contest. Mike says he sorry, but he had hot Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner. You have a better chance of plugging Old Fuckin’ Faithful than Mike’s ass right now. God help us…

Once again, the moderator is Denver’s own Dr. Jacques Bailey, who has possibly the most boring voice on planet Earth. I do a quick impression of Dr. Bailey having sex, deadpanning “Take it all…take it all, you bitch…"
SWA (Snigga’ With Attitude- last time I’ll write that, I promise) gets the first word, and it’s psammon (pronounced like salmon). She asks for a sentence, and Mike says “your vagina smells just like psammon”. Dammit- little fucker got me again.  DVR pause…

7:15- Everyone’s cruising through the round. Lil’ Bill steps up, and Mike says “you’re word is marijuana”. He’s very polite- thanks Dr. Bailey after every question. No fuckin’ way he’s a true Jamaican.
Oh shit, there goes Adele Who Can Spell on her first word, which is canities (graying of hair). That’s really too bad… do you know why? Because…she could have HAD IT ALLLLLLLLL!

7:20- Here comes Emma the Polack. She has an exceptionally deep voice for a girl- she sounds like Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs. I beat Mike to the punch and yell out “It puts the lotion on it’s skin”. Her dad looks like Stephen King. Of course, that’s if Stephen King was a Polack. Wait...he might be. 
Here’s a shocker- Emma’s gone on her first word, too. It was ridotto, which is a public dance .  This sucks- I had so many more Polish jokes on the burner. Fuck.

7:30- Finally, it’s the Spellin’ Hebrew for his first word. He walks up with a big smile on his face and says “Hello, Dr. Bailey”. Without any hesitation Mike does a great Dr. Bailey monotone, and says, “Hello, Jew”.
I should have been expecting it, but it caught me completely off guard. I spend the next five minutes rolling around in my recliner like an idiot while everybody else goes upstairs for a snack. I think he’s trying to kill me so he can get Sam’s $100 share of the inheritance. That one just destroyed me.

7:35- Okay, we’re back, and I’ve recovered a little. We turn the DVR back on so we can find out what Spellin’ Hebrew’s word is. It’s turnverein, which is an athletic club. He asks for it in a sentence. Mike says, “A turnverein is something your people have no use for”. Fuck me- DVR goes right back on pause…
7:40- Mike just got back in the room- Annie gave him a five minute major after his 100th BW3 fart in about half an hour. I checked the replay- she got that call right. I still say if they have the Scripps Howard National Fart-Off, we'll fill this fuckin' house with trophies. Their bedroom smells like a hot day at the zoo. 
7:45- We’re into the next round, and we still have seven left. It’s time for Rain Girl, and she gets the word otosteon. It’s pronounced oh-toss-tee-on, but Lena can’t say the word back, and she’s squealing like a stuck pig. It goes something like this.

Dr. Bailey- “Otosteon”.
Rain Girl- “Protozoan?”

Dr. Bailey- “Otosteon”

Rain Girl (even higher voice)- “Otosseton?”
Dr. Bailey (voice never changing)- “Otosteon”.

Rain Girl (voice only dogs can hear)- “Tossetron?”
Finally Mike jumps up and screams “SWEET ABRAHAM!! IT’S FUCKING OTOSTEON!!!”

Sweet Abraham? Are you shittin’ me? Guess what happens next. We’re like 45 minutes into this,  my stomach muscles are shot to hell, and I can't cry another tear. No way I get through another hour. By the way, Rain Girl finally says it right, and spells the goddamn thing. Thank God- I’m not ready for her to leave yet.
7:50- Here comes Bob the Builder, and gets the word porwigle (tadpole). Annie speaks right up: “Dad has a porwigle in his pants right now”. Sure, not a word all fuckin’ night, and she chimes right in with a little dick joke. That does it- I'm buying that 17 year old Russian girl that emailed she's in love with me. I believe her now. 

Uh-oh, he misses it. He walks off the stage, and is met by his dad, who looks like he stole Johnny Cash’s shirt. This is probably a blessing in disguise, because now I get to keep my friend Nard Dawg, unless he knows someone in a beauty pageant. In that case, we're through.

Everyone else- “NO, HE CAN’T!!”
Goddamn, I love spelling bee night…

7:55- We haven’t lost anyone lately, and here comes my Rain Girl. She gets yttiferous, and looks like her head is going to explode. Rain Mom in the audience buries her head in her hands-she’s been doing that all night.   
Holy shit- she gets it right! She screams out a sound that shatters Dr. Bailey’s glasses, and goes back to her seat. I swear to God, we spend the next three minutes arguing whether she’s autistic, deaf, retarded, or just hopelessly fucked up. She’s making deaf people’s noises, but there isn’t a hearing aid. When the debate ends, the consensus remains that she’s FUBAR.

8:00- Oops, there goes Lil’ Bill on ericeticolous (inheriting a habit). He slowly walks off the stage, because well, he’s Jamaican, and they do everything slowly. Did I mention I didn’t have that great of a time in Jamaica? He does give a nice low five to a kid in a wheelchair, and then asks the kid if he can sell him a worthless bracelet for five dollars. Okay, I made that last part up.
Jamaica sucks.

8:10- It’s Spellin’ Hebrew’s turn, but before his word, they do a little feature about his lucky yellow shirt. He’s worn it for all four years he’s been in the bee, and never placed higher than 14th before.
Me-“Anybody want to tell me what’s so lucky about a shirt that’s never made it to the finals?”

Mike- “It’s the only shirt his dad will buy him. You know, because he’s a Jew”.
The feature continues about how his favorite words are those with German derivation. Uh-oh… I can see this one coming down Broadway…

Mike- “How the hell can he love German words? He's a Jew!!”
I recover from my latest conniption just in time to see the kid miss vetiver (fragrance). He cheerfully salutes the crowd, and strolls off in fifth place, as Mike says “sha…lom”. I’m going to miss him and his lucky shirt.

8:12- It’s time for Rain Girl’s latest adventure, and she gets the word Geistlich (deep feeling). Instead of taking the full 2.5 minutes like she has all night, she confidently spells it out in about 30 seconds. As she’s turning to walk back to her chair, she hears the “ding” of the bell letting her know she missed. Shouldn’t have rushed, Rain Girl.
She walks off the stage in tears, and collapses on the little couch they make all the losers sit on while they council them not to kill themselves when they get back to their hotel room. Rain Mom comes to comfort her, and they hug, and rock back and forth in one big ball of crazy. I have a geistlich that they're making a suicide pact right now.

Goodbye, Lena Greenberg. My year wouldn’t have been the same without you.

It occurs to me that we lost two possible Jewish contestants in a row. I quickly blurt out to beat Mike: “Two straight Jewish kids are gone. This is like Nuremburg.”

Ah, the old reliable Holocaust joke- this gives me the outright lead for the Most Offensive Remark of the Evening. Keeping my fingers crossed…

8:20- They take a little break, and we’re down to three. Guess what? It’s all the Indian kids! Gee, no shit. Like my dad says, the curry always rises to the top.
Okay, he doesn’t say that.

Oh, crap! My favorite to win, Starvin’ Arvind, misses schwannoma (tumor on a nerve). I really thought he was hoisting the trophy this year, and so did his dad, who is visibly pissed right now. He might be having his own schwannoma by the end of the night.
So we’re left with two to battle it out. Pencil Thin Mustache, who’s been flying under the radar all night, and SWA, who’s been solid. This could go either way.

PTM correctly spells chionablepsia (snow blindness), and when they show SWA’s family in the audience, her little brother positions himself to make sure he’s in the camera shot. He looks at the monitor, and then makes a face for the camera, and repeats that a few times. That little fucker needs to go away.
SWA gets hers right, and then PTM tries schwarmerei (enthusiasm). Mike says in a pretty good Indian accent, “I believe that is the name of one of my Gods”. Last DVR pause- I’m just wrecked at this point.

She misses, and SWA only has to spell one more word to win the whole shootin’ match.  Mike yells out “Snigga’, please!”. Okay, that’s the last DVR pause of the night. I may have lost control of my bowels. 
That word is guetapens (ambush). Of course she rattles it off, and she is our winner! And guess who rushes on stage? That’s right, her fucking little brother, who jumps in front of SWA, and waves to the camera. I’d love to slap him right out from underneath that mustache he’s sporting at 10 years old.

For the fifth straight year, the trophy is presented by Mr. Richard Boehne, and for the fifth straight year, we wonder if they call him “Dick Bone”. It has become a tradition for us. Of course, the little brother snatches the trophy away from her, and holds it up for the crowd. Little prick…
Anyway, that’s it for tonight! Hope you enjoyed yourself as much as we did, and stay tuned for the running diary of the Miss USA pageant, that happens in just a couple of days. I should have recovered by then.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Old Dawgs On To Semifinals After Two Wins

Well, after two straight SDOHL league championships, this season the Old Dawgs are making things pretty tough on themselves. After losing their first playoff game, the team has clawed their way back to the semifinals via two consecutive victories.

Two weeks ago, the Old Dawgs, who finished first during the regular season, were forced to play the Coyotes, who came in second. They were facing each other in an elimination game, because both were upset in the first round of the SDOHL playoffs.

Right before that game, Dawgs goalie Al Sterner asked B&K Supply keeper Timmy Kmetz to sub for him, because Sterner had the flu and felt like warmed over shit.


So Kmetz dressed, but while he was waiting to go on the ice, the Coyotes captain protested the substitution. Kmetz is rightly an "A" player in the SDOHL Social League, while Sterner is a lowly "B", despite winning this season's Vagina Trophy, given to the netminder with the lowest goals against average in the league.

Vagina Trophy

So even though Old Dawgs captain and former human ball washer Marty Richardson had earlier the same day allowed the Coyotes to substitute for an "A" player, Sterner was forced to dress and play. He got on the ice right as the game was set to start: lightheaded, without a warmup, and very unhappy little chubby bastard.

But he wasn't the most unhappy person on the ice. That honor was saved for one Tito Pijanowski.

"Tito pissed!"

Pijanowski made it a personal mission to make the Coyotes pay for their lack of sportsmanship, and pay they did. He scored three of the six goals his team tallied in the first period, and then three more in the final two periods, as a very highly motivated Old Dawgs squad crushed the Coyotes, 9-0.

The team also took very good care of their goalie, as Sterner would only face eight shots on the night. During the game, there were starting to be some subtle indications that Sterner's health was deteriorating.

Then last week, the Old Dawgs had to face Team Yellow, who had upset them in the first round, but had since fallen into the loser's bracket. The Dawgs would have to find a way to solve Yellow goalie Dave Maney, who was terrific in the first match, only giving up a single marker in the 5-1 win.

But just like the previous game, Team Yellow got on the board first. Just over three minutes in, Jay Johnson backhanded a weak pass to the front of the net, and as Sterner attempted to clear the puck to the side, it instead hit his stick, caromed between his pads, and into the net. It may have been the worst goal of Sterner's or anyone else's life. 1-0, Team Yellow.

The score stayed that way until early in the second, when Old Dawgs center Mario Lopez converted a terrific cross-ice pass from defenseman Dave Chamberlin, and deposited the puck into an empty net to draw his team level.

But Team Yellow would strike back halfway through the middle frame, when Keith Thompson scored to put his team back on top. As the puck was ringing around the boards at ancient Foothills Ice Arena, it hit a ridge in the Zamboni door and bounced right out front to Thompson, who made no mistake. Then five minutes later, Sterner stopped a point blank shot in front, but the rebound went straight to Doreen Hoskins, who was standing alone on the right side. She scooted the puck into the unguarded cage, and it was 3-1 heading to the third, which spelled big trouble for the Old Dawgs.

But Lopez got his second of the game at eight minutes of the third, cutting the Team Yellow lead in half. Then with less than three minutes left, the Old Dawgs equalized, whne Richardson calmly converted a rebound from John Theilen's low shot. It looked like maybe overtime was looming, with the loser booking their tee times for the offseason.

Then with only a minute and a half left, Tito Pijanowski broke down the right side, and into the Team Yellow zone. He was forced outside, but managed to get off a low backhander toward goal. The puck found its way through Maney's pads, and into the net to give the Old Dawgs their first lead of the night, 4-3.

Now desperate to tie the game back up, Team Yellow put big pressure on the Old Dawgs net in the last minute. A shot came in along the ice, which Sterner stopped, and as he went to cover the puck, Yellow's Tom Gunnerson cross checked defenseman Eddie Cribbs. Cribbs flew into Sterner, blasting Sterner's helmet off, snapping his neck, and sending him to straight to Rubberleg Street for a few minutes. Gunnerson also slew-footed Richardson in the same sequence, causing the Dawgs captain to land on the back of his head.

Gunnerson's act shouldn't have come as any surprise, as he was a complete throbbing penis the entire game. He was sent off the ice for the remainder of the contest, but someday there will be payback to #13 in the yellow jersey.

Better keep your head up, you lousy cunt...

Gunnerson's stupid fucking penalty pretty much killed any chance Team Yellow had, and the last minute went by without a shot on goal. So the Old Dawgs survived, and now have a date with Touchstone Imaging tonight at 7:15. The winner will face the Over 40's and French surrender specialist Bernie Levesque in the SDOHL finals.

In other Old Dawgs news:

This week, after an extensive search, Old Dawgs forward Mike Sullivan finally found a human being that's older than he is. It happened to be veteran comedian Tim Conway.

Combined age: 235

This week Old Dawgs defenseman Jimmy Tiernan began training for his summer hobby of repelling women.

This ought to do it...

Friday, March 23, 2012

Keep Cordelia In Your Thoughts

Hey kids, I don't usually ask much, but will you all do me a little favor? When you hit your knees in the next few days, could you please say a prayer for this little girl right here?

This cute little bugger is Cordelia Kmetz, who is the daughter of Timmy Kmetz, a fellow goalie in Dawg Nation and one of my better friends. Timmy's one of the few guys I can relate to- we text back and forth giving all the gory details about our games that we've played that week. He's a goalie junkie like I am- we both play at least three times a week, and usually more. He's 16 years younger than I am and lots better at the position, but he humors me while I rant, which I appreciate. Plus he's damn near as goofy as I am, which kind of comes with the goalie territory.

This coming Tuesday, Cordelia will be having open heart surgery at Children's Hospital in Denver to repair a chamber that has been faulty since birth. Without the surgery, her little heart could have serious issues in the future, so this just needs to get done, so everyone can stop worrying about it every day of their lives.

For those of you that aren't from around Denver, Children's Hospital is one of the top facilities in the western United States. I know if one of my kids ever needed help, I would take them there in a nanosecond (and I have, by the way). When all goes well with the surgery, she'll be there for 7-10 days, which I have to believe is pretty scary for a three year old (and her parents).

Timmy and I were talking at the ice arena last night, and he's no stranger to surgery, to say the least. He had bone cancer in his leg when he was a teenage kid, and has gone through 35 procedures. One leg is shorter than the other, and his shin looks like it's been hit repeatedly with a sledge hammer, but he leads a normal life and is one goal keeping sumbitch.

And he would go through every one of those 35 operations again if it meant that his daughter wouldn't have to endure her ordeal on Tuesday. For you guys out there that are parents, you know exactly what I'm talking about. There is absolutely nothing in this world worse than watching your kid suffer with a serious illness or injury. It's a horrible, helpless feeling, and you would give anything to take their place.

Something like this happened to me about 15 years ago. My oldest kid Mike was two tears old, and was leaning up against a window screen in the living room of the bi-level house we used to live in. Well, sure as hell, he pushed out the screen, and fell about eight feet head first onto a concrete patio.

When I got to him, the right side of his little skull was dented, and I knew we had a problem. We rushed him down to Children's, where we spent the longest and worst night of my life, waiting to see if he was bleeding into his brain, and whether he would need surgery.

Fortunately, his skull popped back into place, and there wasn't any bleeding inside his noggin. He had a fracture, but two year old kids' skulls aren't fully developed, so it kind of fixed itself. That's when I knew he truly was my kid- you can drop him on his head from eight feet, and not do any lasting damage.

But I'll never forget the anguish that I felt that night, watching him strapped to a board, scared to death, and looking at me to help him. I've never felt as helpless, and I'm sure Timmy and his wife Candi are probably feeling the same way.

So keep Cordelia in your thoughts, will you please? The Kmetz's have the entire Dawg Nation hockey family behind them (we have six teams- we're massive), and we know pretty soon, they're going to bring home a happy, healthy little girl with a good, working heart.