But first! How lame is the NHL Awards show? Even if you put aside all the scheduling mix-ups, the show is just not good. Every year I get excited about this and every year I zone out fifteen minutes into the show. Last night I watched the red carpet stuff and the presentations of the Pearson and the Selke and then I left the room, got on the computer, and listened to the rest of the show from down the hall. I applaud the NHL for trying to do something different and special with their year end awards but lame jokes and a band no one's ever heard of isn't the way to go. It didn't help that almost no one I wanted to win won. I was pulling for Niedermayer for the Norris, Luongo for the Vezina, and Pahlsson for the Selke and I came up empty. I can't really argue with anyone who did win except for Rod Brind'Amour who was just a terrible choice for the Selke - the least deserving of the three nominees and probably less deserving than some of the other guys in the top ten. Like say maybe Chris Drury.
Why I Love Hockey #4 - Incredible Athleticism
I was a pretty good athlete in my day - and I can still hold my own, thank you very much - and I'm absolutely amazed at the level of athleticism involved in hockey. As much as I love baseball, I can admit that you don't have to be a great athlete to be a good hitter or a good fielder. You just have to be really strong at a certain skill. John Kruk famously said, "I'm not an athlete, lady, I'm a baseball player." Successful hockey players have an unbelievable combination of skills - speed, quickness, flexibility, strength, hand-eye coordination, hand-foot coordination, vision, and balance. And then they need to be able to flip all those skills on in a split second because the game moves so fast. The thing that amazes me most about Maxim Afinogenov is not that he's so fast (though geez louise, the boy is FAST), it's that he can be going full steam ahead and then come to a full stop to make a play or cut in another direction. Andrew Peters get slagged on by Buffalo fans for being the least skilled player on the Sabres, but I would bet a decent amount of money that he's a better athlete than half of the guys in the Major Leagues or the NFL. There are so many games in a season that it's pretty easy to start taking what these guys do every night for granted but we really are watching world class athletes do things most people couldn't dream of doing. Amazing.
Something About Me #4
I have three brothers. My two older brothers are 10 and 11 years older than me, my younger brother is 2 years younger. Despite the fact that everyone automatically assumes this is why I was such a tomboy as a kid, I was the most serious athlete in the family. I played basketball through part of high school but fastpitch softball was really my sport. I played at school and on a travel team in the summers. I probably could've played in college, atleast at some level, but I was burned out by the time I got through high school. Softball was still definitely one of the best parts of my youth though.