Monday, January 31, 2011

Keep It Short

This will be a short post because Dr. thinks I have carpal tunnel x2. I've been having tingling in my hands for quite awhile and I was fearing a stroke and or heart problems. He says no, the symptoms are all carpal tunnel, probably caused by long periods on the handlebars and not helped by long periods of typing.  It is common in cyclists along with something called 'cyclist's palsy' which I haven't looked into yet. Anyway the girls will be getting some fine tuning to eliminate any numb hands, which I have experienced on just about every long ride to some degree. Ergon grips will work on the regular bars but I don't know about Jill and her drop bars, they are the worst culprits in the handful of bees contest.

I wonder how the NHL hotshots liked sitting on the hotseat to be last pick in front of millions. I'll bet they were thinking about some of their buddies back home who were always the last kids picked. But there was no car waiting for the poor kid, just another round of embarrassment.  

Friday, January 28, 2011

Hockey Nuts

This week has been an endless procession of stupidity in the hockey community. In Northwood we have a team  with the best goalie and marginal scoring power. The goalie can't play last weekend. The head coach show up 5 minutes before game time and scurries around trying to talk one of the goalies from the previous game to play even though he got the call 5 hours earlier. On Sunday he comes to the rink without securing a goalie again and this time his only choice is a young and far weaker netminder. He loses 10-2, the biggest blowout of the year but he can't figure out why I ask him if he has given up on his team. He whines about a disallowed goal. When you have about 7 more of those get back to me. All he had to do was call or email me and I would have found goalies for both games.

In Lakehead Minor a coach can walk all over every rule in the book and when we call him on it and we're too picky, he's just a volunteer. So far we're sticking to our guns, something LMHL has not been known for in the past. My gmail suspension folder is growing almost daily. Every single thing they are getting nailed for is in the 20 page constitution I sent to every team. You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink. But then we don't have to listen when they get dehydrated either.

On the work front we had our best week in the new building. I could actually say I was busy with orders and phone calls. The make-work projects were put on hold and parts started moving out the door. Lets just hope the trend continues.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Scotch and Bears

I'll have a scotch with a bear chaser. After the Packers drove Miss Daisy for a td on the first possession I knew it was going to be a long day. If the defense couldn't do it then da'Bears were done for. As it turned out the D came to life and held prematurely crowned qb Rogers to a slow day. Butt the offence. When the third string qb runs the offence better than the starter it's time to find a new team. I saved judgement on Cutler over the whole toughness issue. Even if he wasn't hurt he was hurting the team with his effort. He's got a million dollar arm but needs some heart. He may not have needed crutches to stay on the sideline but his interest in what was going on around him might have been nice. Does he not realize that he gets as much camera time standing motionless on the sideline that he does when he plays? Hurt is hurt. Lots of guys would have taken the shots and played, risking their future, and the ability to walk. He didn't need to play, he needed to look like it was bothering him that he couldn't and maybe help with whatever he could. Go Steelers.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Coach, Admit It

We passed some new rules for Novice teams (7-8 year olds) on January 9th. The rules simply prevent a coach from overplaying the stars and keeping the weaker players on the bench. Every player must get on the ice every third shift so a minimum of 5 shifts in a 30 minute game with 2 minute buzzers. Then we added that no player could play consecutive shifts. A difference of more than 2 shifts between the least played and most played players was also reason for a suspension. Sounds airtight until it comes to policing it all. I had experimented while timekeeping and could keep track of both teams with a form made in a spreadsheet.

At the mandatory meeting one team failed to attend, suspended. First games after the meeting and a team has one kid playing just 4 shifts (suspension) and another playing 8.

The next week I have a team have the opposition sign their plan on paper to have all the players get between 5 and 7 shifts which is all legal. Then they flip the lines before the start and nothing matches. I catch them but the head coach who is a big wig at the hospital says they are positive they did nothing wrong and sends me his matrix. I take his matrix and put it beside my tracking in a spreadsheet, color code it and explain what happened. He does not even open the file and claims his integrity is above reproach blah blah blah. In the first 8 shifts or 40 kids, not one player on his matrix matched my tracking. BUT my tracking had all his lines and defensive pairs correctly just not on the ice as he had mapped out. Then they skipped a shift and violated the rules because 2 kids ended up with 8 shifts and the least played had only 5. I pointed out that I could not possibly get the first 40 numbers wrong and still have his lines together. He assured me his staff is first rate and would not break the rules.

I called Sal at lunch and got the one entry on the game sheet for his team, a goal in the third period. Amazingly his matrix did not have the player on the ice when he scored the lone goal but my tracking did. I sent another email and he finally came as close to admitting an error as I guess I'm going to get.. The matrix did not 'contemplate' an excellent warmup by one line that resulted in a change in the order of the lines. Maybe we should be more worried about development of players and less worried about hassling the coaches who are volunteers. Up to that point he was on board 100% with keeping everything above board. Now we are too picky.

Update: he got the original game, an extra from his home association and a new friend who will be watching every game.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

66% Tax Increase, Big Deal

I read a headline this morning that stated that income tax in Illinois was being raised 66%. Later in the day I learned that it was going from 3% to 5%. If you want a shock check the tax rate in Ontario where even $40,000 puts you in the 20% bracket. No wonder Illinois is in such debt. Maybe we should send them some Liberal or PC finance ministers to get them back on track.

American Idol?

In the days after the shootings in Arizona, the sale of 9mm semi-automatic Glock handguns has doubled. The same gun used by an obviously mentally unbalanced 22 year old to shoot a congressman and randomly kill 6 others. If the spring on the second clip he was carrying had not failed there might have been another dozen deaths.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Oh Oh Canada

Not everyone was parked in front of a tv for the big game last night. Plenty of Canadian kids had their own games to play. I was on the clock at the PA Arena for a pair of games between peewee boys teams and the Queens rep teams. The first game was a peewee A team against the peewee AA girls and was a bit slow, like watching a ping pong game where both players are using the wrong hand on the paddle. The second game was better as the peewee AA boys and Bantam girls faced off. I had AJ texting me the score and let the refs and any kids who happened into the penalty box know what was going on in Buffalo. As the Canadians built a three goal lead everyone seemed pretty sure of World Junior gold.

I was waiting for Sal in the lobby when the first Russian goal was scored. The second came just a minute later. I sent back an "oh oh" to AJ. I could hear the panic in peoples voices as they left the arena. As we drove home they tied the game. I sat down to watch as the Russians took the lead and just minutes later they were up by two with only a few minutes to play. Like the players on the ice, Canadians were collectively stunned. Sometimes I think that other than the other teams and their families, no one else in the world cares about the outcome of these games or the tournament. Canadians live and die by the results. And now we get to hear all about the reasons for the collapse in the third period and how our hockey programs are failing.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

'Twas the Week After Christmas

when all through the house
not a creature was hungry, not even a mouse.
The stockings were boxed in the basement with care,
in hopes that summer, soon would be there.
Gifts long ago opened, mostly forgotten,
save the fruit cake that was oh so rotten.
Gift cards redeemed, on the first day after
made the retailers howl with fits of laughter.
The trees once treated with awe and care,
now lie in a heep, we know not where.
The racks of the fridge, now seem so emtpy,
another shortbread and my pants just won't fit me.
Friends and family, return to busy days,
we'll all miss each other, in so many ways.
Back to work or back to school,
don't forget we had a great yule.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Neither Classic Nor Winter

What's classic about a hockey game played on slush? In typical yankee style the game was billed as a clash between the game's premier players. Conditions prevented either Crosby or Ovechkin from playing the style of game that we saw in the promos for the last month. The NHL is damn lucky a player or ref wasn't injured because of the slush. Maybe next year get 7-11 to sponsor the game, The Slurpee Winter Classic. I can't imagine paying between $100 and $500 for a ticket to watch a hockey game, in the rain from about half a mile away. I guess being part of the spectacle, the experience would be something to remember. That's what I'd say as I sat under a blanket chugging down steaming drinks trying to get rid of the chill. The only thing classic about the game was the hype.
"You know they're not going to make those tic-tac-toe plays no matter how they good they are on this ice and in these conditions," Capitals defenseman John Carlson said. "So you can play it a little bit differently. You can really not worry about (Crosby) getting behind you and making a 40-foot pass tape-to-tape."
"It was the same conditions for both teams," NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said. "In every stoppage, we were in communication with both teams. And while not perfect, the puck was moving pretty well out there." 
"Pucks were bouncing everywhere," Fehr said. "Sometimes they're sticking on the ice. It was really tough to make any passes out there."