Last night I went to play some pick-up outdoor inline in Vancouver. It's a great parking lot rink on the beach of the English Bay. There were already a handful of guys there and we introduced ourselves. They informed us they played three on three, team to get scored on switches off, sounded great to us. So we threw on the blades and headed out there.
I quickly knew this wasn't going to be what we were looking for, fun. Now before I go any further, I want to make the point of my story clear. It wasn't the skill level (or lack there of in this case) we had a problem with, we're just there to goof around. I've played some decent hockey, everything from Narch to league inline and some AAA ice stuff, but im no NHLer. I don't care at all if the people have never played before, gotta learn somehow. The problem was the attitudes these guys carried. Sort of that over testosterone, kinda "got something to prove" thing.
So we step on the court and line up, right away this guy in a tank top says with a grin "we play with no rules". We looked at each other, not quite sure what to make of this, shrug and away we went. Within five minutes, we realized this wasn't worth the price of the puck. My buddy goes into the boards with tank top gorilla hot on his heels. With about five feet to go, gorilla full on boards him. My buddy manages somehow to stay up, luckily with no real harm done. We don't want to make a skuff, but we ask him what the hell is going on. His response as he is skating away, "this is how we play." Great.........super. I figure, maybe if we score and get the next group on, maybe it'll improve. Maybe just one bad apple.
The next group is on, i'm on a one on one and the defender flails his stick and just BARELY, (and I mean close) mises my eye. Feel the tape close. Right then and there we skated off, collected our things and made or way down the beach. These are only a few examples of about 25-45 minutes of the worst inline hockey (nay, any hockey)i've ever been involved with.
I just dont get it. Someone please explain how this is a fun way to enjoy the sport. I mean do these people have nothing else in there lives to be careful for? Is it really worth going into the boards with no gear to nail someone? Is a goal in pickup hockey really worth someones vision?
You know what my biggest problem with this whole thing is? The rough stuff is just stupid, but it was even their attitudes towards each other. Not once did someone say "Hey right on man, nice goal!" or anything fun at all. No jokes (except about drinking), no screwing around and taking it lighlty, nada. All the stuff I love about pick up with buddies.
What do these burnouts think? Wayne's gonna stroll on by and draft himself the world worst Coyote? I mean we're talking all guys in there 20s and 30s. Guys who should've grown out of these petty acts in bantam (if they made it that far).
I know what I want from the sport. I wanna enjoy the skills i've accumulated over the 15 years. It is great to sit back and enjoy the game from a more mature perspective. Don't get me wrong, under the right circumstances, I still want to be competitive. But I also want to go home to my fiance at night.
Dont be a wanker.
End of rant.