Revised Edition of Winter Dreams Eps. 11-15

Episode 11:

The next day Coach Whit Chandler called Coach Ray Reynolds, the coach of the juvenile division. Whit was aware of Reynold’s reputation for leading his teams to the top of their division. Although he didn’t particularly like the juvenile’s coach, Whit respected his success and was willing to ask for Reynold’s help.

“Hi, Ray. This is Whit Chandler. How are you?”

“Good. To what do I owe this honor?” Coach Reynolds asked in his usual gruff voice.

“I need your advice Ray. I don’t know what to do about my goaltending situation,” Whit said.

“Yeah, if I was you, I’d be feeling the heat too. I was at your game last night and saw that you tried using a different goalie.”

“Man, that turned out to be a disaster, but I was desperate. Rick Miller just hasn’t been cutting it as our starting goalie. What would you do if you were in my shoes?”

“I agree with you that Rick Miller has far too many weaknesses as a goalie, but I like the kid. He has guts. I watched another one of your games in which Miller took a powerful slap shot to the shoulder. It must have hurt like hell, but Miller sucked up the pain and stayed in the game. That indicates to me that Rick is a real man. If I was you, Chandler, I’d stick with Miller in goal. The kid needs some help though. I’ll tell you what I’m willing to do for you. If you can book and pay for some ice time at the St. Vital arena, I’d be willing to teach Rick some new skills. I’ll also bring along my number one goalie, Brent Peterson to help show Miller some techniques that he has mastered.”

“Consider it done. I really appreciate this Ray. I owe you a few drinks for this one. I’ll phone the arena right now to book some ice time.”

Episode 12:

After hockey practice was over, Rick called Misty.

“Hey, are we still on for lunch today?” Rick asked.

“You bet,” Misty answered. “Where shall we go?”

“I really like the chili and fries at The Red Top.”

“And I love their burgers and onion rings. So, we finally agree on something,” Misty teased.

“Yeah, miracles still do happen, I guess,” Rick said with a chuckle. “So, we’ll leave right now. I’m getting hungry after a gruelling hockey practice. Just meet me at my car.”

“Just what I always wanted. A man who takes charge,” Misty said.

In under five minutes the two neighbors arrived at The Red Top Restaurant. They were greeted by one of the weekend staff.

“What can I get for you guys? Do you want a menu?”

The waitress’s name was Marlene. She also attended Maplewood Collegiate. She was in Misty’s chemistry class. Many of the students at Maplewood held part time jobs in the evenings or on the weekend. Rick had passed Marlene in the halls several times. Rick found Marlene to be attractive, but he wouldn’t put her in the same league with Misty.

“Hi, Marlene. I’ll have chili, fries and a hot chocolate. And what will you order Misty?”

“I’ll have a Red Top burger, some onion rings and a Coke.”

“I’ll get your hot chocolate and Coke right away.” Marlene said.

“So does Sasha know that we’re having lunch together?” Rick asked.

“Oh yeah. I told her this morning at breakfast. She’s cool with it. She just started seeing this guy called Cole. He’s not as good looking as you Rick, but he’s very intelligent like you are. I think Cole might be a socialist or even a communist. He looks like one too. He is tall, skinny and has a black goatee and if I remember correctly, he wore a badge on his sweater that said Young Socialist Party of Canada. Cole brought over some books for Sasha to read. One was Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book and another one was The Communist Manifesto.  Sasha hasn’t shown much interest in politics before, but I think she’ll read his literature just because she likes Cole so much.”

“Well, I’m happy for her. I hope Sasha’s found herself a nice guy. And I’m relieved to hear that she’s not upset about us having lunch together,” Rick said.

“No, there’s no need to worry Rick. Sasha’s over you.”

Episode 13:

“So, Rick. How was your practice this morning?”

“It went very well. I am actually enjoying playing hockey for probably the first time in my life,” Rick answered.

“How long have you been playing hockey?”

Before Rick could answer Marlene had brought over Rick’s hot chocolate and Misty’s Coke. The sun shone brightly through the window highlighting the beauty of Misty’s face. Misty appeared so ravishing to Rick that he found it hard to focus on his answer to her question.

“Since I was seven years old,” Rick managed to get out.

“And you haven’t liked playing hockey until now?” Misty asked looking baffled.

“It’s what you call the power of peer pressure. My teammates wouldn’t let me quit. I was the only kid who wasn’t afraid of getting hit by the puck, so I was the only goalie they had,” Rick explained.

“So what’s changed it for you this year?”

“There are several reasons. For one thing we have a different coach this year. Our former coach developed heart trouble and his doctor ordered him to quit coaching hockey. So now we have a new coach, Brad Keenan. He goes to university and he’s a really cool guy. He’s taken most of the pressure right off me. Plus, I’m the oldest guy on the team this year and the younger guys look up to me.”

“Wow, I never would have dreamed I’d be having lunch with a jock,” Mindy said.

This made Rick laugh. “Yes, but a very enlightened jock.”

“I always wanted a guy with a good sense of humour,” Misty said, starting to laugh.

Episode 14:

Whit Chandler was only able to procure a 10:30 PM ice time slot for Rick’s crash course in goaltending. Throughout his whole career Rick had never had a coach teach him how to play goal. All he got from them was criticism of his performance. On Wednesday, December 5, 1967 this suddenly changed. As promised Coach Reynolds brought along his number one goalie Brent Peterson.

Coach Reynolds told Whit Chandler to stay in the stands and just observe as he and Brent taught Rick. To start off Coach Reynolds sent Brent to the net. He asked Rick to closely observe Brent’s posture and how he always kept his goal stick flat on the ice. Next Brent demonstrated how he cut down the angles. Brent showed Rick how to stop different kinds of shots. High shots, low shots, slap-shots and wrist shots were all included in Rick’s crash course in the art and science of goaltending. Coach Reynolds put Rick in goal to practise what he’d just watched Brent do. When the one-hour session was over, Rick was completely exhausted. He was so tired that it took him a long time to take his equipment off. Brent walked up to Rick and sat right beside him on the bench in the dressing room.

“I just want to tell you that you did really well out there tonight, but we still have a lot of work to do. Coach Reynolds will book the ice time again for sometime next week. In the mean time I’m going to give you some homework.” Brent handed Rick a copy of Lloyd Percival’s Hockey Handbook. He told Rick to read and study the chapter on goaltending and to start practising some of the suggested exercises on his own.

Episode 15:

Rick attended and participated in two more private training sessions with Brent Peterson and Coach Reynolds. Rick had absorbed a lot of new strategies to help his individual play. On a Thursday night following his last practice, Rick saw his newly acquired skills start to pay off. The Cougars were playing a team from the north end of the city. The Cougar’s opponents were ranked very close to the Cougars in the league standings. Northwood’s strategy for the game was to intimidate the Cougars with a punishing physical confrontation. The Northwood Raiders did everything in their power to engage the Cougar players into fights. They hacked, slashed, tripped and tried every illegal tactic to draw the Cougars off their game. The Cougars were a relatively small hockey team that was not known for aggressive play on the ice. The Cougars really had only one player that was a scoring threat and a Raiders player managed to engage him in a fight during the first period that led to his expulsion from the game.

By the start of the second period Northwood had the Cougars on the run. The smaller team was by now totally intimidated and their one scoring threat was out of the game. The Cougars now did not believe that they could win this game. Their revised goal was to get out of this arena alive. The game officials appeared to have been bought off by the Northwood Raiders. They refused to call penalties on even the most egregious infractions. Several of the Cougars white road jerseys now displayed blood stains.

Amazingly after all this mayhem the game was still scoreless going into the third period. The reason was the outstanding play of Rick Miller in goal. Rick stopped shots from every conceivable angle including three breakaways. This heroic effort by the Cougars goalie caused Northwood to become frustrated and dispirited. It was as if Rick’s superb play had drained the fight right out of the Raiders.

The Cougars capitalized on some late game lackadaisical play by Northwood and scored two quick goals. With time running out the Raider’s coach chose to pull their goalie in order to acquire a sixth attacker. This strategy backfired when the Cougars scored an empty net insurance goal.

At the final buzzer the Cougar players left the bench and mobbed Rick. They knew who had won the game for them.

Episode 16:goalie-1

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The Piledriver Part Seven

 

high toll on his health. By his tenth year in professional wrestling Al Sharp had broken nearly every bone in his body and had suffered several concussions. Early on, in order to cope with his physical pain, Al turned to drugs both legal and illegal. For the pain of his physical injuries he took Tylenol three with codeine and later graduated to Percocet. The wrestler said a few doctors in every city were very willing to prescribe all kinds of drugs for them including steroids.

 

The fact was that most wrestlers used drugs. The painkillers became an absolute necessity. Even if the wrestler played it right, did not intentionally try to injure you, professional wrestling was painful by its very nature. It’s true that wrestlers learn all the tricks to avoid serious injury, but accidents still happen. Every wrestler is going to have an off night once in a while. Also, the ring mat itself is very unforgiving.

 

Within his first month of being a professional wrestler Al was already a drug addict. His alcoholism came a couple of years later. In some ways a life or a professional wrestlers is similar to that of a rock star. They both of sex and drugs in common but not rock ‘n roll. I take that back. The wrestlers all have entrance songs that are rock and roll.

 

Steroids entered the picture for Al in his fifteenth year of pro wrestling. In his early career, appearing to be out of shape and overweight was common for wrestlers. There were one or two bodybuilders in the business but they were somewhat of a novelty. Al felt the pressure to start pumping iron and take steroids in order to prolong his career and to compete with the younger wrestlers.

 

Matt met Mike at the entrance to Al’s warehouse gym.

 

Al was busy training some rookie wrestling prospects as Matt and Mike entered the gym. “Can I help you guys?” asked Al. “Yeah, hi, I’m Mike and this is my friend Matt. We were invited to come here by Blue Hair and Orange Hair.”

The Pile Driver Part Six

 

substitute teaching. This summer he is going to be applying for permanent teaching positions in the whole state.” With the positive influences he will get from his principals, Mike will be sure to land a full-time teaching position.”

 

“I don’t know. I haven’t thought that far ahead.” Mike responded.

 

“What is wrong with being a full-time teacher Mike?” asked Courtney

 

“There’s nothing wrong with teaching as a profession. I’m just not sure it’s a fit for me,” replied Mike.

 

Courtney gives an exasperated sigh, “Then what is your perfect fit Mike?”

 

“I don’t know. I’m still looking looking for it,” answered Mike.

 

This conversation did not make for a very pleasant evening of socializing. In fact the atmosphere was quite tense. You could cut the tension with a knife.

 

When his afternoon substitute teaching assignment was over, Mike went to the wrestling school with Matt.

 

Al Sharp’s Wrestling School was located in a warehouse in the industrial area of the city. Al’s facility was also used by a boxing club and a martial arts school. Al made some extra money by renting out the facility to the managers of the boxing and martial art clubs. Al had been in the wrestling business since he was in his early twenties His father was a professional wrestler and Al was always interested in his dad’s line of work.

 

Al asked his father if he could get him started in the wrestling business. His dad told him that he could break Al in as a referee. After a few months of being a referee, Al felt that he had what it took to be a professional wrestler. Al learned the trade quickly and he had all the lumber to be a successful wrestler. He was a strong athlete and had good camera skills. Al made it to being a mid-card wrestler and was a mid-card attraction for about twenty years.

 

As Al’s body started to age he found the wrestling life was taking a 

The Pile Driver Part Five

“It’s like twenty-seven high power vacuum cleaners pointed out you sucking out every last ounce of your energy,” Mike explained.

“It’s amazing that you still have the energy to go to the gym after school,”stated Courtney sarcastically.

“Not really. Although you’re exhausted after a day with the kids, it’s also hard to come down. Once the kids adrenaline kicks in so does yours. Not to mention that you’re pretty frustrated by trying to maintain control all day.”

“Well Mike if you still the energy to work out, you have the energy to go out on a date with me and our friends.”

Mike replied, “They’re really more your friends. Jessica is okay, but I get a headache listening to Rodney.”

“What’s wrong with Rodney?” asked Courtney.

“Rodney is probably one of most boring people I’ve met in my life. I hate pseudo-intellectuals.”

“Let me tell you Mike. It’s no bundle of joy listening to your friends either. Although they want to do is talk about mixed martial arts fighting, wrestling,their cars and video games.”

“Well, at least my friends have hobbies other than reading and watching documentaries,” retorted Mike.

“I’m not going to argue about this Mike. We have a date for tonight and you’re not going to jam out on it. Not only that, you’re going to have fun too.”

When Mike and Courtney arrive at the Golden Spider, Rodney and Jessica are already there and have ordered their drinks.

Rodney looks right at Mike and asks Mike. “When are you going to get a real job Mike? Get some direction in your life?”

“I’m only twenty-three years old Rodney. I don’t have my whole life planned out for me like you do.”

With that, Rodney laughed and said, “Ah Ha! We have a free spirit among us.”

“Don’t worry about Mike, Rodney. This is going to be his last year of

The Wrestler Part Four

 

Ditto,” replied Matt.

 

After Mike and Matt finished their workout gym Mike gets a phone call from his girlfriend Courtney on his cell phone. “Mike, don’t forget our date tonight. We got a double date set up Kyle and Jessica at the Spider Club lounge tonight.”

 

“Oh, man, I forgot all about it,Courtney”. I got up feeling tired tonight, Babe. Is there any chance we could postpone the date for tonight?”

 

 

‘Not a chance! Case closed,” replied Courtney. “Our favorite new girl band, Sick of Sarah is playing at The Golden Spider tonight. They are only booked for a one night engagement.”

 

“Sick of Sarah? Have I heard of them?”

 

“Yes, you have. Remember a couple of weeks ago we were checking out some new bands on Frostwire?”

 

“I think I remember, we downloaded about seven bands new songs that night. I’ll need to check them out on Frostwire again.”

 

“You won’t need to do that Mike. We’re going to see Sick of Sarah tonight.” said Courtney in a firm tone of voice.

 

“Well I guess or that means there’s no getting out of the date right?” asked Mike. Mike didn’t need to hear Courtney’s answer.

 

“What’s making you so tired anyway Mike?” You’re only 22 years old.”

 

“Subbing for one thing. If you were a sub teacher you would know what I’m talking about. All the calls I’ve gotten for the last two weeks of Blue River Junior High.”

 

“What’s so hard about junior high? asked Courtney.

 

“Well, just picture this scene Courtney. You’re alone in a room for five hours with a group of high-energy kids whose hormones are running wild.”

 

Courtney laughed at Mike’s answer.

The Piledriver Part Three

 

“I wonder what those two guys do for a living or if they even have jobs,” queried Mike.

 

“Beats me but they probably don’t sell cars or life insurance,” Matt joked.

 

“Those two guys are really getting me curious,” said Mike. “What if we asked them what they do for a living after they’ve finished working out?”

 

“I just hope those two dudes are friendly,” laughed Matt.

 

After about one hour had passed both Mike and Matt and the two newcomers to the gym had finished their workouts. Mike and Matt figured now was their chance to satisfy their curiosity. When they got to the change room Mike was the first to approach the two new dudes. “Hey guys. My friend Matt and I are really impressed with how you guys worked out. You guys can lift so much weight we wondered what you guys do for a living.”

 

The dude with the blue hair looked at Mike and Matt and grinned. “You guys wouldn’t believe us if we told you.”

 

“Now you really got us curious,” said Matt.

 

It was now the guy with the orange hair with the pointed goatee’s turn to speak. “We’re professional wrestlers. We both wrestle for an independent wrestling promotion in town.”

 

“Yeah, we might be wrestling in this promotion for a month or two and then when the crowd gets tired of us we’ll move on to a different city or a different state,” said Blue Hair.

 

“Yep, that’s the life of professional wrestler,” added Orange Hair.

 

You guys have some pretty good physiques yourself,” said Blue Hair. “Why don’t you drop by the wrestling school tomorrow afternoon? The promoter Al Sharp runs the wrestling school as well as serving as being the booker for the matches. We’ll introduce you to Al and you’ll get a chance to learn what independent wrestling is all about.”

 

Mike looked at Matt. “I don’t have anything planned for tomorrow 

The Piledriver Part Two

always making them learn a new curriculum. The subjects and course material change every year he says. I’m starting to wonder if I’m dedicated enough to devote my whole life to teaching.”

Yeah I know what you mean,” replied Matt. “I mean I love cars and all that but not sure I want to dedicate my whole life fixing them either. I’m not so sure I’m going to stick with this trade.”

Well, well my friend, it sounds like were both in the same boat. Remember four-thirty tomorrow at the gym.”

I’ll be there.” replied Matt.

The next day the two friends met at the gym. They decided it was going to be their arms day. The two guys had advanced to the stage in their workouts where they specialize in one body part per day. When they had finished changing and got to the gym floor they headed straight for the biceps curl machine. As Mike was starting his first set of bicep curls, Matt noticed two guys they had seen before enter the gym. “Hey, Mike. Get a load of those two dudes who just came in.”

“What is this?A circus?” Mike observed.

The two new guys that walked in did appear to be a bit strange. One of them had blue hair styled like a mohawk. The other one had short orange hair on his head but had a pointed green goatee for a beard. They were both big guys. The one with the blue mohawk probably weighed about 260 pounds. The one with the short orange hair and pointed green goatee probably weighed in at around 280 pounds. The two new guys appeared to know what they were doing. They headed straight for the bench press. One of them started warming up with a 45 pound dumbbell in each hand. He began to do a set of dumbbell chest presses. Both Mike and Matt were impressed at the ease with which the Blue Hair lifted the dumbbells. At the end of his first set of ten repetitions there wasn’t a bead of sweat on him. He didn’t sound out of breath either.