For the Love of the Game

Hi guys. It’s me Sharon. I don’t know if you remember, but we were all playing Jumanji twenty-two years ago, when I was sucked into the game and I guess you guys all just left? Anyway, if it’s not too much trouble, it would be great if you guys could stop circle jerking for just like five minutes and come finish the game. Thanks.


PINOCHE CLUB 

Meetings held every Tuesday and Thursday in the Grand Lakeview Puzzle Room at 5pm

Rita and Betty-Anne cordially invite you to their pinochle table. Listen to Artie Shaw and Bennie Goodman! Dance like you don’t have two hip replacements and a colostomy bag! Relive your youth through the love of the game!  


 

I did it for the love of the game.

Why else do anything in this league? All the blood and bruises, all the sweat and tears, all the hours in the gym and at the rink—you can’t do what it takes to stay in the NHL if you don’t love the game with everything you have.

It’s been a while now since my first game in the league. Your body gets slower. You lose that extra step. It takes an extra day to recover. Your release takes more time to load up. What’s perhaps hardest about getting old in this league is that your body ages before your mind does. Before you know it, you’re thirty. And while your body feels forty, your mind still feels like it’s twelve-years old. You wake up everyday excited to play, thankful that this is what you get to do for a living.   

But eventually that passes too. It’s hard to feel good about playing when you remember a time when you could make that cross-ice pass a little better, or get that shot a little higher. If you’re not careful, your body starts to get the better of your mind. Playing starts to feel like a chore, and you lose that love that you’ve had ever since you were a kid. That’s worse than any physical pain you could ever endure on the ice.

Last season was the worst of my career. After putting up 4 goals, 5 assists, and a -19 rating in 75 GP on the fourth line of the Vancouver Canucks, I knew I had to make a change if I wanted another contract in this league. So after a lot of prayer and consideration, I took the plunge, and became the thing that now writes this article with the help of a transcriber. I defied the will of god, to change the body of man.

Where my hands once were no reside to hockey sticks that extend out of stubs of what once were my forearms. Instead of feet, two prosthetic limbs with built in skate blades have been fused to my skin, so that the line between equipment and player can no longer be discerned. I have become one with the game—collapsed the divide between the man and the player.

I have since achieved professional heights previously unknown to me. I was always a blue collar kind of player, digging in the corners, grinding it out, sticking to our game, y’know. But now I feel a power within me that honestly frightens me. I feel, with the puck on my hands, a kind of energy that seems on the verge of bursting through my skin. My body shakes and my eyes seem to roll as I do things neither I nor anyone else has ever seen before. I feel like a man possessed. I feel as though I am slowly flattening into the ice, becoming something like a disc, low to the earth, spinning, shedding the former remnants of myself as I move into the center of the game which as now, in a ring of ice around the net, become something I can see, touch.

Life away from the rink has become something alien to me. My inner life has become consumed by images of vulcanized rubber and speed, of the collision of bodies. I feel ill suited to be a husband any longer—I feel ill suited to love anything other than the game itself. It has become the object of all my affections, the only avenue through which I can attain something like intimacy with another human being. I took my son recently to our practice so he could work on his passing with me. It was the first time in perhaps months that his face did not frighten me, that he seemed not like some alien creature but my own flesh and blood, the mirror image of a self that no longer exists.

I put it all on the line to keep playing in this league. Why? For the love of the game, for the love of that extra step, and that extra day.

–Kyle McCleon, Pittsburg Penguins

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