A Slap Shot Straight to the Heart

While his marriage floundered, his hockey team flourished

The Rocket is here again, and scores three goals, a feat we'll likely be hearing about for years to come. Bob plays acrobatically in the net, stopping several point-blank shots. Norm, Howard, Dave, Geoff, Steve. Everyone plays solid. The whole team gels in a way we hadn't in our earlier games. The final score is 6-3.

On the bench afterward, Norm declares this to be one of the best games all year, if not in the past two or even three years. Bruce shakes hands with Tom, who congratulates Dan on his defensive contributions. The Thunder bench glowers at us. These young guys, they can't stand to lose to an older team like ours.

Javy notices Steve slipping his bare feet into a pair of clogs, a style of shoe that has no business being worn by a hockey player. We laugh at Steve's fashion sense. "You boys," Steve says defiantly as he turns to clomp away, "wouldn't know from comfortable."

Steve Satterwhite

I throw my equipment into my bag, checking twice to make sure all the pads are accounted for. Then I linger for a while, savoring the fellowship, the sense of satisfaction that has come from being part of this team. I don't feel happy, exactly, but I do feel something positive. Maybe it's gratitude. I suppose I could try compiling another mental list. The Wildcats are great because: My teammates are fun and supportive; hockey is a pleasure; exercise is good.

Sometimes, though, it's better not to overanalyze. With this relationship I just accept things as they are. So I sit on the bench a bit longer, breathing in the cool fall air, basking in the vibe.

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