Tomorrow we’ll discover
What our God in Heaven has in store!
One more dawn
One more day
One day more!
— One Day More, Les Miserables, Boubill and Natel
It’s March and that means playoff hockey in Oakville.
Our team – the peewee red Packers – faceoff tonight in a semi final with the season on the line. There are no best-of-five or two-game-total-goal series in house league. It’s one and done. Win, and you get to be sweaty on the blueline after the championship game, win or lose. Lose and your season ends.
It’s not life or death and Donald Trump won’t show up and make fun of us if we don’t get the outcome we want. But it’s still a big deal.
Our opponents are a solid squad. They have beaten us, we have beaten them (the last time just two weeks ago in the last game of the regular season with 2nd place on the line.) But after nearly two decades of this I know that in a one-game playoff, expect the unexpected and stuff will happen.
Win or lose, we are already proud of our guys.
We lost our first of three playoff games, putting us immediately behind the eight-ball in our aspirations to be one of the four teams in the eight-squad field to make the semis. Losing (2-0 with an empty net goal) in game one meant not only did we have to win the next two, we would need some help.
The boys rose up and took care of business in workman-like, if unspectacular, fashion. A 3-0 win Friday night, a 3-1 Saturday afternoon. We got the help we needed and advanced as the number 3 seed in the semi final pool. The boys manned up and took care of business.
My hope for tonight is that it is a fairly officiated game and our guys show up ready to play and compete. One of our troops is down with a separated shoulder, another is away on a class trip to the United Nations in New York. Imagine thinking a trip to the United Nations is more important than house league hockey . . .
Our guys are 12 turning 13. So as a coach it’s important to remind yourself that this game is a big, big deal for them. Hockey is the centre of most of their lives and this is a semi final. As a coach and parent I’ve experienced soaring highs and crushing lows in rinks.
But this game is all theirs and they will own the outcome. I have not one shred of doubt that they are as ready as they can be, mostly because job one is to let them have fun.
I find it hard to fathom that it is already the point in March where we play The Games That Matter and it could all be over soon. Not too soon, we hope.
We have more in the tank and the season doesn’t feel ready to be over. Not quite.
One day more.
I’ve told stories here about the things I’ve forgotten at home when I leave at 530a for the gym. Sneakers. Dress shoes. Shirt. Belt. Towel. It’s a long list.
This morning I was standing in front of a mirror at the gym, fresh out of the shower, tying my tie. I went to get my pants and … no pants. What was really odd about that was that I brought a suit to wear – you know, jacket AND pants. But still, no pants.
So, I put on sweatpants and retraced my steps back to the car hoping the pants slipped off the hanger in the car and in the sleepy dawn at 545a I didn’t notice.
Well, I was half right. The pants did fall off the hanger but not in the car. Somehow they were (mostly) on an icy snowbank next to the car. It wasn’t raining and aside from being a little wrinkled, they were fine.
I had to endure a round of humour about introducing a “pants optional” Tuesday to my workplace, but I was spared a drive home to find more pants.
Pants or no pants (okay, okay, PANTS!) it was still a great morning to exit the gym into the late winter air. Spring is about to erupt, the sun was up and a little bit warm, last week’s snow is all but gone and with my pants on, all was right with the world for a few minutes.