Monday, October 14, 2013

New Jersey Logic...

The Mavens last post came with predictions about the 2013-14 Team Maryland Hockey season and to date, the realities are exceeding expectations.

From parents to players to coaching staff this is ONE cohesive group and it’s shaping up to be a memorable year.  Oh, and the team is doing pretty well to boot.

Take this past weekend for example:  

Our team is slated to play the NJ Devils.  The drive, well, let’s face it, any drive involving the NJ Turnpike will suck.  All Her life the following has perplexed The Maven:  Given a 65 mph speed limit on a 122 mile road, one should theoretically spend no more than 1.87 hours on the State’s highway.  But it NEVER turns out that way.  That road defines the vehicular travelers’ purgatory.  Anyhoo, it’s clear from the get-go that a Tailgate is an imperative after such a campaign.

Miller Mom arrives early and stakes out what seems the perfect site for assembly.  The unfrequented, sunny roof-top floor of the parking garage.  She sends out an eblast and within minutes the cavalcade wends their way up. The Par-Tay is in full swing when The Mave is aware of Her ringing cell phone.  A quick glance and its clear this is a call from way up in our organization.  This is usually a call to let us know that a player has forgotten a critical item or another important player-related matter.  Not today.  This is a call to inform the Tailgaters that a Jersey Police patrol car has been spotted heading our way.
  (THIS is the RARE organization where EVERYONE has your back)

The Mave sounds the alarm and within seconds all bottles are deftly decanted into our cache of Grandé Starbucks Cups…with lids.  The transformation from Tailgater to Teetotaler fully complete before the squad car arrives.  Yup…this group is guuuuude.  Crisis averted and all beverages continue to be enjoyed (in plain view of the idling squad car) until Game Time.

After a slow start the boys ended it 8-3.  Time to check into the hotel and get some grub.  Everything is close to the rink, but it’s NJ, and here, if you need to turn left – you must first turn right…utilizing what the locals call:  the “Jug-Handle.”  (Garden State Logic) So, rule of thumb – a 5 minute drive takes 10.  Furthermore:  Should you require Petrol whilst in NJ – beware - you may not pump your own.  The citizens of NJ believe such a complex task can be entrusted only to specially trained professionals.  So, queue-up, do not exit your car and finally, wait your turn.  (…more Garden State Logic)  Add another 15 minutes. 
The evening is spent with the parents and coaches corralled in the Courtyard Marriott Lounge area.  Absolut Mom shows up with a bottle of Fireball Whiskey and immediately pours nearly everyone seated a generous share.  Not typically inclined toward whiskey, The Mave takes a careful sip and O…..M…….G!  Listen-up folks:  when it comes to spirits – NEVER DOUBT THE ABSOLUT MOM.  That woman has a PhD in potations. 

Sunday brings game 2 against the Devils.  Our boys are looking okay, not stellar.  Heading into the 3rd period we’re up 4-1.  And then the Devils start to pour it on….just as our boys take the foot off the gas.  With minutes remaining the Devils have managed to answer all our goals and we find ourselves tied 4-4.  Well, you’da thought Lord Frederick Frickin’ Stanley had showed up wearing a NJ Devils uniform.  By games end, their crowd is in a drunken fervor and is screaming and laughing so loud The Mave was sure the Nitrous tank must have gone off in their section.   Well, screw the score board, the Devils and their fans are strutting around West Orange looking like the cat that ate the canary…but, WAIT, we ended in a tie…right?  And as for us?  We’re moping around like we LOST!!!  So HOW THE HELL does this work?  Only one answer:  More of that G-d Damn Garden State Logic!!!

Our team comes home, ready and happy to continue playing on a team with all their friends, and the Parents?  Well, we’re just glad to be back together in MD, planning our next travel weekend.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Ain't No River Wide Enough

The Spring Hockey season was less than remarkable this year with the DC Selects taking a powder in both the Chicago and Philly Tournaments.  But, despite our boys most recent disappointing performance, hope springs eternal for the fall. 

Some may recall The Maven lamenting the dissolution of our “core team” when the “River Rule” was invoked after our 2011-2012 season.  The ill-conceived plan, driven by avarice, was to separate out the DC/VA players from the MD players to develop 2 teams (Washington Little Caps and Team Maryland).  Certainly, no consideration was given to the fact that our area simply doesn’t have enough AAA players to support 2 teams in the 2001 birth year.  And NO consideration was applied to the notion that, perhaps these boys, who have been playing together for the better part of their lives, would simply like to continue playing with their friends!

A number of weeks ago whilst on Spring Break with Her family, The Mave’s cell phone began a-buzzin’.  News came filtering in that certain DC and VA families were going to break ranks and cross the River!  Now, The Mave is totally aware that the Riv-Rule mandates that only 2 members may cross the River per season.  While definitely energized by the leaking intelligence from Her "sources," The Mave understands that 2 warriors does not an army make.  But, as the data crept in it was clear that 4 players were cutting the umbilical and crossing over…how can this be?  It seems in a prior year, the Washington Little Caps management engaged in some illegal reindeer games leading to this year’s Team Maryland player windfall.  Certainly our coach, Mike Weiss, is credited with much behind the scenes savoir-faire – essentially making all of this happen.

So….Screw the crappy Spring season, with its “I’m too Sexy for my Shirt – Mercer Chiefs,” and the “redundant-anthem-playing-even-when-down-by-4-goals ‘We Will Rock You’ Junior Flyers.”  Feh!  We’re movin’ on – Bigger fish to fry and all that.  We’ve got Pre-, Intra- and Post-season parties to plan, we’ve got a.m., p.m. and carpe diem tailgates to organize.  This is NO JOKE, brother.  Cuz, as happy as our boys are to be playing together again?  It’s pretty freakin' awesome for our hockey-parent-homies to be drinking on the same team again.


Monday, February 11, 2013

They Both Looked Great...

Until They hit the ice.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Getting the Last Laugh!

Fools will believe ANYTHING you tell them!


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Labor Day Super Series

Labor Day Weekend opens our Hockey Season.   Some may recall that a certain rule - delineated by the Potomac River - determines which team our kids can play on this year.  So, this past weekend, north and south (TeamMaryland {TM} and Washington Little Caps {WLC}) met at the preseason opener in our old home rink with our boys facing off against each other for the first time.
New teams mean new guidelines, including dress codes.  Team Maryland is required to show up in “appropriate attire” which The Maven finds a bit silly and translates to Z-E-R-O when it comes to the actual playing of the game.  But hey, go along to get along.  The Maves’ husband got his Breezers in a bunch about the requirement and thundered:   “If I wanted to send my son to charm school, well, I’D A' DONE THAT!

Thankfully the code doesn’t extend to headwear.  An Ohio team showed up looking to successorize in black berets.  Now, it’s one thing when you have fully grown men with stern looks, chiseled jaws and broad shoulders wearing berets in the Special Forces…but 11 year olds with soft-skinned faces and boyish grins in varying stages of orthodontic treatment?  Well, they look more like they’re from the Renoir School of Hockey.

Not. Cool.

Anyhoo, this weekend was less about the hockey and more about the socializing.  Sadly, Miller Mom and The Mave totally dropped the ball when it came to battle readiness.  To be honest, The Mave experienced great discomfiture when a certain email circulated before the weekend discussing “rules” regarding alcohol consumption on Rink property.  Call it a guilty conscience if you will, but at first glance The Mave thought the email was sent only to Her and cc’d to the rest of the team.

Luckily none of the WLC parents received that email.   And lemme tell you what.  

Chairs and tents are a tipoff for a solid tailgate organization but the Washington Little Caps parents have established the new rubric.  The Maven arrived to the triturating hum of this:

Hell yeah!

Busily building a batch of Margaritas is a dad whom we’ll call, um, “Mr. Cuervo.”  His portable machine crushes ice with the power of an Asplundh wood chipper and whirls up a smooth consistency drink every time.  The Mave's convinced it's hooked up to a car battery.

And while Mr. Cuervo is on beverage duty another WLC dad is tending the BBQ…but not your run-of-the-mill-portable-tailgate-jobber.  Nuh-uh.  “Mr. Kingsford” is lovingly tending his sirloin tips on one of these:

Yup.  That’s a permanent hitch to his pickup.

Now, I don’t care who you are or where you come from, that there demonstrates a whole other level of tailgate commitment.  

The partying did much to soothe the, still open, flesh wounds leftover from the River rules’ separation of our once unified team.  And it’s certainly a life-affirming experience to know that good friends remain good friends even when you’re not on the same roster.

So, Major Props to our pals on the other side of the Potomac.  Yallz brought the true meaning of Christmas to us this weekend with your amazing whiz-bang-gizmo-tailgating-gear!  See you at the Rinks!!


The Mave

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Oh, Dat Philly Tawnuhment? Fuh-gedda-boud-dit.

Memorial Day Weekend is a dedicated hockey tournament weekend in The Maven household.  No exceptions this year with some slight changes in our team roster.  Regrettably, some of The Mave’s Fave’s would be absent due to obligations surrounding that fatuous-wannabe-hockey-no-ice-included-sport by the name of “Lacrosse.”  Pishaw.  This means the absence of some key players:  Miller Mom and Molson Mom.  Oh, and their sons – players on our previous spring DC Selects teams.  Anyhoo….

In April we would compete in the CHI-Town Shuffle – we were a solidly dominant team heading into said tournament with our boys, no doubt, feeling heady.  Having summarily CRUSHED all the opposition leading up to the finals our team stepped onto the ice for the championship game drunk with cockiness and moxie and let the harder working Michigan Nationals blow us up in dramatic fashion.  Ugh.

Next up – Memorial Day Weekend in Philly:

As defending champs at the Philly Shoot-out, and coming off of the colossal FAIL in CHI, parents and players alike were thirsting for blood.  First game was Friday around noon and despite all the manly-talk before the game, we lost 5-6.  Notwithstanding the appearances of a close game our team played one of the worst games The Maven had witnessed since, well, ever.

Our unusually light schedule of only one game each day until the playoffs certainly provided, if not demanded, multiple hours of drinking.  And dammit, if our kids weren’t going to do the heavy lifting, well, someone had to step up. 

Saturday, we played the Mercer Chiefs – from Jersey.  Interesting group.  Many Mercer dads sporting the NJ Passport:  Upturned collar on the pastel Polo shirt, Oakley’s and rockin’ the Fake-Bake pretty hard.  (You can’t make this S**t up)

Another loss. 

MORE heavy drinking.

Sunday our boys begin to gel.  Defense is clicking, forwards working as a unit, finally some promise.  We win – with our goal differential putting us in the finals! Superstition aside, the heavy drinking is clearly having a positive effect.   Next up is the semi-finals and you simply don’t tinker with what’s working…

Heavier drinking.

We make it through the semi’s to face, once again, Mercer Chiefs in the finals.  Mercer – who is now, undefeated.  The Mave would be lying if She said there wasn’t a palpable hubris detected when the Chiefs stepped on the ice.  The Mercer parents also arrived, Pink Polo’s festooned with a major “we got this” swag.

A hotly contested game with both sides playing well.  However, the once genteel and nearly golf-clapping behavior of the NJ fans was O V E R.  The gloves came off late in the second period and the heavily Jersey accented, foul-crying, ref-bashing, over-the-top-hockey-moms (and dads) came out. Whew!  The Mave hadn’t seen that quick a metamorphosis since we beat the crap out of the Jr. Flyers on their home ice.
The DC Selects got an empty net goal with 1:30 remaining, making the score 5-3.  Our side of the bleachers erupted with an impromptu foot stomping of Queen’s “We Will Rock You” beat.  At that point those cocksure Jersey parents were nearly homicidal.   And lemme tell you what...That.  Felt.  Guuuuuuude. 

5-3 Final.  
So after a very inauspicious beginning to the Spring season our boys closed the deal right and proper – retaining their title of defending champs in the Philly Shoot out.  Thus ending another Spring Hockey season.

Bada Bing!!

Monday, February 20, 2012

"A Little Perspective, Like A Little Humor, Goes A Long Way" allen klein

This weekend marks the end of the travel portion of our hockey season.  That said, short of a Nation’s Capital Style Fireworks display, the sendoff was phenomenal.  No, our boys didn’t bring home the gold this time… (that’s soooo three months ago…)  The Mave believes this band of parents, Coach and players have a quality that’s rarely found in the world of youth hockey:  Perspective.

The tournament would take place right outside The Mavens beloved Boston. In the hours leading up to departure the perfunctory pre-tournament emails circulate about minor logistics and how to handle the inevitable “down time” between games.  Saturday would create the greatest challenge - our only game would be played at 7:40 pm.  True to form, nothing was solidified in those emails.

Friday morning around 9 am plans begin to congeal when one of the dads suggests we organize a proper tailgate and grill up some burgs, dogs and steaks before Saturdays evening game. .  Though, not an expert on TSA rules, The Mave’s pretty sure none of the parents successfully smuggled grilling essentials on board.

Recognizing this is Massachusetts and it is the middle of February, our compressed time interval for  armamentarium acquisition, the tremendous odds against finding the requisite armamentarium and the risk of failure…the team parents were, of course, all in

All options were on the table including an Amazon overnight delivery.  Ultimately, a small faction set out for the equipment reconnaissance---with dogged persistence prevailing at a nearby Target which had only 2 grills remaining from their summer inventory.  The second confederacy was then immediately dispatched to the local grocery store for victuals and liquid provisions.

Word of the event spread faster than news of Scarlett Johansson’s nude photos on Twitter.  By 4:30 the coals were white-hot and visibility down to 5 feet due to smoke at the far side of the New England Sports Center parking lot.  About 40 or so red-solo-cup-bearing-hockey-parents milling about, talking, laughing and freezing their a$$e$ off.      Just.  Perfect.

Then without warning, (admittedly The Mave had had a few), the smoke momentarily cleared, the heaven’s opened up and the sound of Handel’s Messiah could be heard.  That’s when she appeared, clad in pure white---some say she looked like a snow-angel---introducing:  “Absolut Mom.”  (cue: Ecclesiastical Music...)

She handed The Mave a Venti size white Styrofoam cup containing an amrita beyond compare.  Immediate warmth glazed over The Maven.  What were the secrets of this elixir???  The Maven had to know! “Grey Goose and Hot Chocolate,” replied Absolut Mom. 

WOW.  This stuff is so good that after a few sips, The Mave was sure we were about to witness the second coming of “Miracle on Ice.”   The rink took on an ethereal quality with everything seeming, well, just that much better.  Half a cup later and those heretofore idiot refs became positively “Mr. Rogers-esque.”  All along, The Maves cup remained inexplicably full, replenished from a reservoir unseen and unknown.  

Our boys won that game, the specifics are unimportant since The Maven has no recollection of them anyway.  They advanced to the quarterfinals and were defeated by the Boston Jr. Eagles on Sunday.  Drats.

But, we come away from this final travel tournament like each of the other matchups… with a team who gained more experience, honed their skills, remain eager to face any opponent in the regional finals next weekend, a stellar Coaching staff with nonpareil leadership and a parental core who remains supportive, cohesive and optimistic.  All this, despite the certain inevitable disbanding of our unit at the seasons end, by powers beyond our control. 

So, yes.  It’s rare, we know it and we have it.  Perspective.