Some Fun, Eh?

I’m not sure I can explain why, but I needed my picture taken with the Cup.

stanley-cup-lineup.jpgYesterday, I was awakened by the warble of the phone. It was 11:45 and Rick Gentile was calling. I hadn’t seen Rick in years. He runs Hamden’s hockey rink where Stef learned to skate as a pre-teen.

“We’re getting the Cup tomorrow,” Rick said. He was speaking of the Stanley Cup. It’s the prize you win (disregarding any cash) when you win the NHL playoffs. I’m not a hockey fan, but I know the Cup and its travels. Unlike other exalted sports mementos, Lord Stanley’s Cup travels during the off-season and is very accessible.

It’s tradition that members and staff of the winning team have custody for a few days. Chris Scoppetto of Hamden is the assistant equipment manager of the Detroit Red Wings and this week it’s his turn!

I’m not sure I can explain why, but I needed my picture taken with the Cup. I woke up early (for me) and headed to the rink. There was a longer line earlier, but by the time I arrived the wait was no more than five minutes. The Cup, which yesterday had been at a Wooster Street pizzeria, would only be in Hamden from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM sharp.

The Stanley Cup is interesting, because it’s grown over time. It was at first just a cup with no base. Then, as more and more teams won it, additions were attached to the bottom. It started 7″ tall. It’s now over 35″! It will continue to grow.

stanley-cup-closeup.jpgI looked closely at the earlier names (click for a closer look). It looks as if they were punched into the side of the bowl in a very non-artsy working class fashion. The little close-up on the left has Gordy Howe, Alex Belvecchio (see Woody’s note in the comments below), Marcel Pronovost and Terry Sawchuck listed. Even I recognize those names from the pre-helmet, toothless thug era.

The year I first came to Philadelphia the Flyers won the Cup. As is common the team skated around the Spectrum–goalie Bernie Parent holding the Cup above his head. Bernie, a French Canadian of few words, was captured on video that night saying this one classic line: “Some fun, eh?”

Some fun today too.


Fractured Fairy Tales

Before Stefanie was born, Helaine and I had a long running joke. If our child turned out to have any athletic acumen, there should be an investigation.

Let the investigation begin!

Steffie’s school requires students to play sports – period. Nearly everyone, two of the three semesters a year, plays some sort of team sport. Steffie has played basketball, lacrosse and field hockey.

She’s actually been playing basketball since she was in grade school. This can probably be attributed to the very popular University of Connecticut’s women’s basketball team, which is a perennial powerhouse.

Over the past few years, Steffie has gravitated more and more to field hockey and there’s no doubt it’s her favorite sport.

Forget what you’ve heard about women being demure. These girls mix it up. Field hockey is by no means a gentle game under any circumstances. Wooden stick in hand, playing over sometimes rough fields, the ball is hard and travels fast. Shin guards are worn, but that’s about it for padding (except the goalie who wears an unbelievable amount of foam and plastic).

Steffie is very good at this game… and fearless. Playing a defensive position, she knows letting a ball get past her can easily become a goal by the other team.

Today, playing at home, her team dismantled a team from Stamford. With two quick goals in the first few minutes, they never looked back. Steffie played hard and with great skill.

She was fast and relentless, digging out the ball and changing it’s direction. Her position calls for a ball stealer, not a pass catcher. She’s perfect.

Defense is not a glory position. When played properly you don’t hear about those playing it. When played poorly, you’re counting losses.

All went well until there were about 10 minutes to go. In the middle of the action, another player swiped for the ball and caught Steffie’s right hand, middle finger. Most hits wouldn’t have caused a problem, but Steffie’s own stick stopped the motion and concentrated the force into her finger.

She was in pain.

It wasn’t long before Steffie was on the sidelines being attended to by Ethan Victor, who was assisting the trainer. The finger and hand were swelling.

It seemed like the right thing to do to go to the hospital, so Steffie and I drove to Yale/New Haven Children’s Hospital’s Pediatric Emergency Room. When the receptionist was taking down Steffie’s information and asked where she was born, I got to say, “upstairs.” Steffie was born at Yale, like George W. Bush (though he is less likely to admit to any Connecticut connection).

Ethan the trainer, was now Ethan the emergency room trauma specialist! That was a good thing because he helped speed along what would have been a slow and tedious process. The emergency room was jammed. It was “Sports Injury Saturday” with soccer, bicycle and paintball related injuries around us, and more that I don’t know about.

After seeing a few doctors and nurses and getting an X-Ray, we were told Steffie had fractured the tiny bone at the tip of her finger. More than likely, it would be just fine. But, Steffie would have to wear a splint for a while. And, field hockey would be out for two weeks… OK, maybe a week if her pediatrician said it was OK.

We drove home. Steffie was still in pain, but I think there’s a certain satisfying comfort in really knowing what’s wrong with you.

Though she always shies away from pictures and complains I take too many, Steffie agreed to ‘pose’ for this shot to archive the occasion (and possibly email to friends – I never quite understand what she’ll do). She will wear the splint with pride. Her team won.