Sports: February 2007 Archives
February 25, 2007
We had another hockey game Thursday night. At 10:15 P.M.--and I know this makes me officially old, but those late games are killer. Not the game itself so much, the getting home at 12:30 and still needing to shower etc. :)
Anyway, we won 5-0 (which makes 3 shutouts in 4 games for our goalie, and 3 shutouts in 5 games for the team), putting us in first place in the league.
The game itself was interesting. The other team got really frustrated after the first two goals, and all of a sudden took a bunch of penalties (starting off with a double minor, and then a second penalty halfway through that, so we had about 2 minutes of 5-on-3 play). Then of course they get frustrated with taking penalties, and just end up taking more. I've been on the other end of that, so it was a nice change. :)
In spite of their troubles with the refs, the other team worked really hard. I sympathize with them a bit, because they're a tough team to play against; they never give up on the play, they work hard, they're in good positions and trying to make good plays, and it just isn't working for them for some reason. They're 1-4, we're 4-1, and to be honest at times I felt like they were outworking us--and not because we were being lazy. Of course, it probably helped that one of our defensemen moved to Chicago, so we've played the last two games with 3 defense. (We rotate out one at a time, which means the D ends up with a lot of ice time: thus the title. My position is that no, there's no such thing. :))
In some ways it seems like we get "lucky"--a shot ends up getting deflected up into the air and over their goalie, or on their one power play they turn the puck over just inside their zone and our forward ends up scoring on a breakaway--but we're so consistent about it that it has to be more than that. I think we're just doing a really good job putting ourselves in a position to take advantage of that, and doing a good job covering our own breakdowns.
I'm having a good season, too, which is really gratifying. Aside from my goal, I think I'm beginning to really get a handle on skating (I keep getting complimented on it, for one thing). Our last opponents had some fast skaters, and they liked to try cross-ice passes right as they were entering our zone. One of the forwards on my team mentioned that he kept seeing those passes and thinking for sure they were going to get in behind me, but they almost never did (I did give up one breakaway, but the goalie saved me on that one ;)).
I find that I watch hockey games differently now. I love having a Tivo, because when something interesting happens, I can back up and see how it developed. Where the players go and what they do when they don't have the puck is sometimes more interesting than what they do with the puck. :) I think it would be lots of fun to go to real hockey games, because TV is very limiting as far as being able to watch the play away from the puck (and line changes, etc).
In other news, we watched a very amusing hockey game today. The Make A Wish foundation sponsored a charity game between the University of Texas hockey team (a club team) and the rink's Mini Mites players (kids between the ages of 4 and 8). Yes, there were college players playing against kids so small you couldn't even see shin pad between the tops of their skates and the bottoms of their pants. :) The hockey players were pretty severely handicapped: they had to turn their sticks around (so they were playing the puck with the butt end, not the blade--which is really hard), they had to jump the blue lines (or do an immediate 5 pushups), they had to play no-contact (while the kids could, and did, check everything and everyone in sight), and they had to kneel on all faceoffs. The game was crazy--some of those kids are surprisingly good. There was this one really, really tiny (obviously one of the 4-year-olds) kid--I don't know what's so hilarious about little kids playing hockey, but if you want to laugh for 15 minutes go to youtube, search for hockey, and watch the videos of little kids. This little kid was raring to go before the game--smacking his stick on the ice and making little charges towards the UT players, like he just couldn't wait to get started on them. :)
UT lost, of course, 14 to 4; there were some really memorable moments. The Mites started out with 6 players on the ice to UT's 5 (not counting goalies); then at some point there were 7, then 8. Towards the end of the first period, the refs tossed a second puck out on the ice, and both were being played at the same time. One UT player took a holding penalty when he grabbed the smallest Mites player, lifted him up, and skated the length of the ice holding the little guy off the ice. :) The UT players were really hamming it up, too, throwing themselves to the ice whenever someone bodychecked them, etc. The UT goalies were putting on a great show of being terribly disappointed every time they got scored on. All in all it was pretty hilarious. Sometimes you could tell the UT players would forget they were playing with their sticks wrong side up, as they'd try to pull a move or make a quick pass just like normal, and the puck wouldn't go anywhere at all. :) Eventually they figured out that if you laid the stick flat on the ice and took a shot that way, the ref wouldn't call it and you could actually control it reasonably well. If it hadn't been for that I don't think UT would have scored at all. :)
The game ended crazily, with every player on both sides jumping into the play. There were UT players laying all over the ice, too, because the Mites went on a checking spree. I have some really terrible cellphone photos I'll post of the carnage. :)
All the mites seemed to have a great time, I'm glad we went. And I can't wait for Ollie to be 4 so he can give Mites a try. Hopefully he'll have as much fun as I do. If not, that'll be okay too, of course. :)
February 19, 2007
So life with Ollie is kind of settling into more of a routine. Sort of. :) He's still changing a lot (he looks a lot different already than he did a month ago), and it seems like there's always one more thing to learn. I'm guessing that doesn't change, though.
The last week or so, on advice from the All-Knowing Internets, we decided to try starting a bedtime routine. About 8pm, we give him a bath (which he loves; the kid is a serious water baby), feed him, read him a bedtime story, and ease him to sleep. He tends to wake up pretty frequently for the first 20 minutes or so, but after that (usually 9-ish) he conks out until 3 A.M. or so. So we've sort of reclaimed at least our late evenings, which feels really nice; it's tough to have the kid attached to one or the other of you literally 24/7. Not that my experience is a patch on Jen's. :)
The current "one more thing to learn", by the by, is how to get him to nap reliably during the day. He tends to stay up too much during the day and get overtired, which just makes him unhappy, and makes Jenny's life difficult, etc. Of course, from my reading, this may just have to be one of those things he works out for himself. I certainly don't want to trade good daytime naps for good nighttime sleeping, that's for sure. :)
Anyway, he's a really good night sleeper--in general, a really good baby. Not colicky or sick or anything thus far, although he has his moments.
Today, for example. Today he wanted to be held and fed basically from 9 A.M. until 6:45, and then he wanted to be held until I did the bedtime thing. Usually he's willing to sack out in the swing or the bouncy chair (I guess he did sleep for an hour or so when Jen took him for a walk in the stroller), but today he was pretty tough on Jen. She finally got to go to school and get some work done tonight, so Ollie and I had some father-son time (we watched a hockey game, natch ;). And to be honest, that's a relatively bad day for Ollie; compared to some of the stories from our birthing class, I gather we're getting off pretty easy. I still don't know how single parents do it; I know Jen gets really tired (physically and emotionally) during the day, and she has me to help out if she wants to take a shower or needs food etc.
Yesterday, on the other hand, he was a model baby. He and I got up about 8:30 and went and hung out in the office, browsing the Internet and having coffee (me) and a bottle (him). Jen got up about 11 or 11:30 (having caught up on the tiniest sliver of 6 weeks' worth of lost sleep). We put the baby and the dogs in the car and went to Town Lake, where we walked the hiking/biking trail. I had Ollie in the Snugli and Cara on a leash, leaving Jen to deal with Charlie (who was excited and rambunctious as ever). Ollie slept the whole walk, and he was still in a good mood after, so we went to Freddie's, a local restaurant/bar with an outdoor dogs-welcome area. We had great veggie burgers, the dogs basically behaved themselves, and we got to have a couple of nice drinks in the sun. Last night I played a hockey game; our team got sponsored this season by a local restaurant, so we got brand new jerseys and matching socks. I'll try to get a picture of me in full dress sometime soon, but so that you can picture it, Jenny claims the color is precisely the same as Ollie's bowel movements; I maintain the jerseys are slightly lighter. :-P Anyway, it was my first time wearing hockey socks; boy did that feel odd. They breathe a lot more than my hockey pants, so my legs felt naked all game. :) We won, in any case, 2-0, putting us in second in the league currently. This team is really good, lots of passing and teamwork, which is fun.
In other Ollie news, we think he's smiling at us now--not grinning, exactly, and not reliably, but he does seem to make a face that looks like a smile to me. It's very cute; I'll see if I can get a photo at some point. Jenny took some more video of him, so I'll try to get that encoded and uploaded in the next few days too.
Oliver has an MRI tomorrow (which should be fun; he can't eat after 4:30 A.M., and they want us to try to keep him awake as well, since they say it's easier if he's tired), and an EEG on Wednesday; hopefully those will both come back normal and we can stop with the scary testing and just live with Oliver. I'm not really worried, as he's at or ahead of all the developmental milestones we've seen. He's really strong, very good at holding his head up, tracking movement well, etc.
February 6, 2007
Yes, it finally happened. Last night I scored my first ever organized hockey goal. :) It was a really crazy game (final score 8-5, we won). The team we played likes to have one or two forwards hang out near the center line even when the puck is in their defensive zone, so that they can make hail-mary type passes and get breakaways or odd-man rushes. Defensively we actually did a pretty good job keeping them from getting free shots (I think there was only one true breakaway), but our forwards were having trouble getting back in time, so there were a lot of 2-on-1 and 3-on-2 breaks, which are tough to defend time after time.
On the plus side, having their forwards cherry-picking meant they weren't giving their goalie much help either, so it turned into more or less a scoring contest. We got out of the first period winning 5-0; I think that first period saved the game for us.
We were passing really well; we had two practice sessions this season (really unusual to have any), and we spent a lot of time practicing breaking out of our own zone, and it really shows. We've had very few turnovers in the middle of our zone, which helps cut down on the goals against.
Anyway, my first goal wasn't anything beautiful; we caught their forwards on a line change, so two of our forwards moved into their zone with the puck. I moved up to be the third man into the zone, so we ended up with a 3-on-2. The right wing shot the puck, the goalie stopped it, and the defense tied up the right wing so he didn't have a chance at the rebound. That rebound slid out about 10' right in front of the goal, and I got to it before anyone else could react. The goalie was already down from blocking the first shot, and nobody else was between me and the goal, so I just put it up into the corner of the net. It was kind of a shock--every other time I've tried that I've managed to put it right into the goalie's chest, or someone's managed to deflect or block the shot, but this one was right on. I felt kind of bad, celebrating a goal that made it 7-4 (mostly bad for the goalie; he's a nice guy), but it was my first. ;)
I had two assists (at least) as well, so that puts me at a point per game (this was our third game; we lost the first 0-3 and won the second 3-0). I think this is going to be a good team, we have some good passers and some guys who can finish well too. It'll be fun in any case. :)