Saturday, October 11, 2008

It's Only Life

Man, it was a long week. Found out Monday that my friend from hockey, Mike, died less than two weeks after having a stroke at the rink. He had undergone surgery to relieve pressure on his brain and then had two more strokes, after which he was left essentially brain dead. His mom decided to take him off the ventilator and he died Monday. He was 36. On Wednesday night, our regular hockey night was transformed into something different: Guys who hadn't been there in years showed up to pay tribute to Mike. We had nearly 40 guys there; some just came to watch and drink beers afterward. On my team, we rotated through three offensive lines, which is unheard of; usually, we might have two. But the level of play between our team, Team Black, and Mike's old team, Team White, was really high. Everybody played extra hard and White won the first (their first of the season) by sheer force of will. We came back and won the last two games, but it was a great skate. White kept Mike's old gloves, helmet and skates on the bench with them, and afterward, they brought the stuff out into the parking lot. A DVD with old footage taken at the Boston Garden when a bunch of the guys played there a few years back was playing on someone's laptop. We were all still kind of in shock over the whole thing; I don't think anyone expected him to die.

I went to the wake in East Boston Thursday night, kind of expecting it to be pretty quiet because I thought a lot of guys would have gone right after work. I had to help coach Hannah's soccer practice, so I didn't get to the funeral home until 7. It was packed, mostly with guys from hockey. It was open casket, which was tough, but Mike's mom was grateful that we were all there. A lot of those guys had known him for 10 years or more; the hockey rental basically started in the mid-90s. I've only been playing with these guys for three years. We hung out there for a while and then went to a bar across the street to have a few beers and remember Mike. The funeral was Friday morning, but I couldn't go; I had a big meeting right around the same time. But I was glad to go Thursday night and be a small part of the way the whole group of guys came together.

Put the biscuit in the basket:
  • I'm meeting up with my buddies Doobs and OJ tonight to catch the Feelies at the Roxy. Should be a great show. The Feelies are a revered post-punk band from NJ that was around from the late '70s to the early '90s, but recently reunited to play some shows this summer. I have to admit I knew them more by reputation than music; they're a huge influence on tons of indie rock bands from R.E.M. to the Strokes. Their albums are all out of print now; I actually borrowed a couple on vinyl from a friend this week and also found a bunch of MP3s on the InterWebs. Here's an old clip of them on Letterman circa 1991.
  • The NHL season is underway. I missed it because I was at the wake, but the Wings-Leafs game Thursday was preceded by a performance by Def Leppard. So at one point, Darren McCarty brings the Stanley Cup onstage and Lep singer Joe Elliott hoists it over his head. Then he puts it on a pedestal UPSIDE DOWN. Hilarious. Apparently nobody explained to him which end was up, although you'd think that was obvious from the cup on the top and the massive base on the bottom. Even better, the Leafs embarrassed the Wings after their Cup banner-raising ceremony by beating them 3-2. Ha ha!
  • Speaking of hockey, it should be interesting tonight when self-proclaimed "America's favorite hockey mom" Sarah Palin will drop the puck at the Flyers home opener. I guess Flyers owner Ed Snider is a big GOP supporter, but some critics have cried foul and want fans to turn their backs during the ceremony. Love her or hate her, Palin knows how to get a reaction from people.

1 comment:

Kimberly said...

Oh my gosh...that's horrible. For a guy to die of a series of strokes at 36. Sheesh. Reading that guestbook was heartbreaking. Seems like he was a great guy.

Hope next week lightens up for you.