Taking One for the Team

Hockey Fest is a weekend devoted to a bunch of guys playing hockey on the pond at Pierce’s Inn. It is always a great weekend of male bonding, physical exertion and solving the problems of the world as well as the problems of the pond surface.

Friday night, they were up until 3 AM playing hockey and laying a new sheet with the makeshift Zamboni. After a late sleep, they played for a few hours before a late lunch of chili. The next session went from about 5 to 7:30 PM. Dinner trickled until about 10 PM. The fellas enjoyed some wine and beer as well as some after-dinner chats at the table and by the fireside. While Bruce was out of the room, the guys mentioned how they hoped hockey was done for the night is that they were exhausted. With a few guys asleep on couches and the floor, it was apparent that ten guys wanted to call it a day, but only one guy was planning on playing hockey. When it is your hockey weekend, you call the shots. He returned to declare it was time. The passive mutiny wasn’t really working out. He was flat-out bullying his “guests” into playing.

He left the dining room to get his skates on. My nephew Jamie said, “Cindy, you should offer him a handjob, so we don’t have to play.” Laughs and nods all around. Jamie was on target knowing how the appeal of a handjob makes it way back into the highlight reel of a middle-aged guy as some sort of 9th-grade movie theater fantasy. Wives, however, don’t enjoy this job for the obvious reasons – it is a JOB. As a middle-aged dad, Dougie knows this and suggested, “How about sex. I would pay ten bucks if you lure him up to bed for some nookie, and I bet these guys would give ten bucks, too.” Four more guys at the table were in for ten bucks each. I could tell they were desperate for a break. While I wasn’t particularly randy, I thought I could spark up the mojo so the fellas could recover.

A wife who initiates sex of any kind is a rare and steamy treat for any middle-aged father. Bruce fits right into that statistic. Dunc went into the other room and got another $50 in the kitty if I could lure Bruce up to bed. They were all confident this would be a success, but something told me hockey weekend might skew the sex stats. I was right. I threw out an invite and got a flat, “No! It’s Hockey Fest weekend.” 363 days of the year, that would have been a guaranteed, yes, but Hockey Fest weekend is sacred game time. I was about to give up, but the pleading desperate eyes of Jamie and Dougie forced me to give it one more try. I was denied. I went for one last reach and told Bruce $100 was on the table. He shook his head at his boys with a look of disappointment and called me a “hussy.” We all laughed hard, but it wore off when these guys realized they would have their sore feet in hockey skates before they got a wink of sleep. Bruce was not to be deterred.

An hour later, they were all still hanging and cozy chatting. Bruce showed up in his skates with layers packed under his Rodney Harrison jersey. He was in full pads and had his helmet on. His stick was in hand, and his shoulders were sloping in a full sulk at the sight of the lack of progress. Then he went to the pond by himself. They all felt so guilty that they got out on the ice at 11:45 PM and played for an hour and a half. A few mustered the courage to get to bed.

By Sunday afternoon, the hockey fellas were all gone. Bruce was having the Sunday night blues like nobody’s business. His fun team was gone. It was back to the routine. He was in a funk. The kids were off doing their thing. Bruce reeked of body odor from about ten feet away, and he was slouched on the couch in his heinous brown down pants, his famous woman sweater and hair that was sticking up in various directions. There were flecks of dried chili on his unshaven chin. He was not a lusty vision, but he had the balls to say, “I wonder if they will give you a hundred bucks to get in the rack with me tonight?!” Sheer optimism.

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