Was, Was Hockey
how's it goin'?
you're workin' down at the Arena as a janitor.
right. It's only part-time, but I get to see all the college
you sweep up afterwards? Get rid of all them hot dog wrappers
in the stands?
first, before the game, I clean the floor.
they give you a big ol' broom for that.
they did at first. Now they let me push around this electrical floor-polishin'
machine. It shines the wood up real nice.
Good for you!
they pulled a fast one last Saturday. 'Tweren't no basketball
game at the Arena that night.
seems they'd rented the place out for a professional hockey game.
I guess it weren't no official game.
They called it a hexibition.
tell of hockey. They play it in them big cities up North.
North, you say? That explains it. They must've wanted
them Yankees to feel at home. They turned the thermostats down
real low, and the building was colder'n a banker's heart on
ain't spoofin' you.
ever laid eyes on a hockey game before?
say as I ever did. But they told me to clean the floor
beforehand, just like usual.
do know how to do that.
thought so. But when I got there, the floor was all
different! They'd painted it white, all over. And they
gave me a different polishin' machine. This one was huge, and I
got to climb up on it. I drove it like a gol-darned ridin' mower!
call it a Zamboonie or sumpin' like that.
of motor's in it?
not rightly sure. Runs on propane, I think. And it
doesn't just sweep the floor, it wet-mops it too. Leaves a wet
streak behind it, so's you can see where you've been.
I cleaned the floor all over like they told me to, and then I drove
the Zamboolie back out into the hall and parked it there. The
floor was all nice and shiny. But then the players came out and
started gettin' ready, practicin' their shootin'. And they
wasn't wearin' rubber-soled sneakers. No sir, every last one of
'em was wearin' skates.
kiddin'! Like rollerblades, with wheels?
worse'n that. Their boots had these big ole steel knives
on the bottom. Those blades were real sharp. They scraped
up my floor sumpin' awful! A player would skid to a stop, and
white chips and splinters would go flyin' everywheres. And the
nets they was aimin' fer?
What about 'em?
was a far sight bigger than a basketball net, I'll tell you
what! They must've been six feet wide. And they weren't
up on no ten-foot poles. They was right down on the floor!
real easy to make a basket that way.
think so! But I gather the players ain't allowed to use their hands.
So do they
kick the ball, like that there soccer?
they hit it with these long curved bats.
And it was a little bitty ball, too, flat, about like a can of
chewin' tobacco but all dirty and black from bein' poked at so
many times. When it bounced, it skittered along all funny-like.
sir, it came time for them to commence playin'. Now, I gotta
confess, some of the goings-on looked like the start of a basketball
game. They put 20 minutes on the scoreboard. There was
three referees in striped shirts. The players lined up in
two rows for the National Anthem. And then most of 'em went
back to the bench, but the starting fives gathered 'round the center
circle and got set for the jump ball.
good ol' hoops.
when the ref tossed the ball, the two guys didn't jump up after
it. No sir, they waited for it to drop. It fell all the
way down to the floor!
it's hard to jump up very high when you're wearin' skates.
they commenced to whackin' at the ball with their bats. One of
them knocked it downcourt, and everybody started skatin' after
it. A fast break, you know? But then a fight broke out!
players started brawlin' with each other?
just one player from each side. They got to pushin' and
shovin' and hittin', like they was real mad at each other for some
reason. But neither one could wind up and throw a proper
haymaker, 'cause he was holdin' on to the other guy's uniform with
one hand. And those uniforms wasn't no shorts and shirts.
They had heavy sweaters on, and long pants with lots of padding.
Football helmets, too. The punches couldn't do much
damage. It was comical, I tell you.
those guys play a game while they was wearin' all that gear?
studied about it a bit, and I decided they was all armored up lest
they get nasty cuts from them boot blades. Oh, and they had big
gonna be swingin' away at each other, you gotta wear boxing gloves.
these two guys, they tossed their gloves away
they threw the first punch! At least they didn't beat on each
other with their bats; they tossed those away, too. But it was
a perprosterous way to fight, grabbin' each other in a clinch like that.
So did the
refs break it up?
the refs didn't do nothin' at first. They just stood there and
watched! And the other players didn't do nothin' to help their
finally the two guys fell down to the floor and commenced to
rasslin'! Why, it started to look like what you call your Mixed
Martial Arts. Right then and there, one ref grabbed a guy, and
another ref grabbed the other guy, and they pulled 'em apart.
Evidently they ain't got no rule 'gainst boxin', but rasslin' is
goin' too far. The refs throwed both guys out of the game.
Two technical fouls. So did each team get to shoot foul shots, then?
sir, they didn't. I didn't see a single foul shot all
night. The refs did blow their whistles a goodly amount, but
neither team ever whaddaya call it got into the
bonus. No, after the fight was over, everybody just went
back to skatin' back and forth.
Was it a
the way I saw it. There was a powerful lot of turnovers.
A team would rush down to one end, but they'd lose the ball
straightaway. Then the other team would take it to t'other
end. Then here they all come back this-a-way again. Lotsa
times, nobody even got close
to shootin' the ball at the net. And when they did shoot, would
you believe it? There was a catcher from the other team
squattin' there waitin'! His catcher's mask was done up real
scary-like. Sorta looked like a painted skull. I guess he
wanted to untimmydate the shooters. And he was right there,
right in front of the net holdin' a big flat bat of his own, and he'd
knock the shot away!
goaltending! Can't allow that.
like it is
allowed in hockey. Go figure. Everyone cheered,
anyhow. Oh, and another thing: Sometimes players left the
floor and other players came on, without waitin' for a whistle to
stop the game or nothin'. They'd just jump into the action
whenever they felt like it! And they didn't have to report to
the scorer's table or tag in or nothin'.
seem fair neither.
they kept goin' back and forth, up and down, and nobody made a
basket. And then, I couldn't believe it, but here come those
two guys who'd been throwed out of the game for fightin'!
'em back in?
did. I guess the refs just made 'em sit down to cool off for a
few minutes, and afterwards it was like the fight never happened.
What a sport!
the first 20 minutes ended, and I looked up at the scoreboard, and
it was still nothin' to nothin' at halftime. The arena kinda
emptied out for a while. The players filed back to their locker
rooms, and most all the fans went to the concession stand for
coffee. It was still so cold in there that the lawyers had
their hands in their own
I saddled up my Zambookie to repair all the ruination them blades
had done to the floor.
a lot of scrapes and splinters, I bet.
was, but somehow that danged Zambootie fixed everything. I
can't imagine how. It musta sanded everything smooth and mopped
up the sawdust. When I turned around and looked behind me, the
floor was just as nice and shiny as before! It's a miracle
machine, I tell you what. I gotta get a little Zamboolie for
the floors out at my place.
the game started up again, I guess. Did anyone make a basket in
the second half?
one team made four! But I couldn't rightly see how they did
it, it all happened so fast. They was scufflin' and scramblin'
around the net, and then the ball must've gone in because they
started celebratin' like you wouldn't believe. I guess it
doesn't happen very often. But the team didn't get no two
points for a basket. They certainly didn't get no six points
for a touchdown. The scoreboard just put up one point, each time.
score was only four to nothing.
got it. That's how the game ended. The arena emptied out
again, and I drove the Zamballoon out one more time to get the floor
back the way it was before. But then, the strangest thing!
the players filed back in, and so did the fans! The refs put
another 20 minutes on the clock, and they commenced to playin' a third half!
How many halves do they play in hockey?
swear, I thought this foolishness would never end.