Monday, June 15, 2009

Ice Hockey for Peace

Milton Keyes Ice Hockey Tournament June 13-14 2009 Waiting for the off. Figure skaters on the ice, dainty dinky dancers sketching curves.

Waiting for the boys to come on.

Good music on the PA. Pogues, now Carmina Burana.

Bristol in black is on first, up against the strong Milton Keynes team in black and yellow. Beetles against wasps. Line up. The MK captain has his face painted like the Joker. Immediately, MK is clustered round the Bristol goal like wasps around a jam sandwich. Shots hammer on the netminder, then a one on one, attacker with clear ice against the goalie. Attack gets through. Two minutes later, the Bristol netminder makes 3 saves in one minute. More jam sandwich, then a classic 2 on 1, first draws goalie over to right, passes to othe attacker who puts it past his feet. Second goal. Third goal off a rebound. Fourth goal chippped in from 1 metre. Defender loses stick, skates into the melee barehanded, filling space, using his body as a weapon. Man emerges from sin bin to find puck at his feet, and falls over in excitement. MK are passing to each other, fully in control. Bristol just try to whack the puck away from their goal area, giving it to MK each time. But in hockey a breakaway can happen any time, the play switching instantly from end to end. At last Bristol get it up to the other end, an expanse of net shows itself, and we heave it in. Big fast 3 on 2 MK attack, one defender, Jack, skating calmly backwards, pokes the puck, MK lose control, attack dies.

Ice hockey flows like turbulent water,waves in a rocky cove, a bowl of competing energies, a skirmish, a yin-yang of complementary forces, a hurricane of human energy, a bloodless sublimation of tribal conflicts that go back 25,000 years to the time that humans first formed themslkves into clans. Bodies collide with full force, fall and spring back to life to fight on in the same magical second.

Compared to ice hockey, the professional football is tutus and feather dusters at fifteen paces. MK won the tournament (defeating Nottingham who had 3 England players in their team), Bristol came second to last.

But as we say, its not the winning, it's not the result, it's the taking apart that matters.

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