We had been together for about six months when I moved to Florida for what was supposed to be six months to train and work with the plan being that I would end up in Toronto. We didn't know where we would end up and we didn't really talk about it. She came to visit in March, two months after I left; we rented a room in a cheap motel on the beach and she hung out by the pool while I was at work. At night we wandered the beach and drank wine and caught up on our sex. One night we went to dinner with my boss and his wife and as we ate he mentioned to her that he hoped I would stay for a few years and wondered why she didn't just move down. (She is a nurse who aspired to work with kids with cancer - at the time there were no fulltime nursing jobs in PEI and certainly none in that field at all). Then he and his wife laughed as our jaws hit the ground. First we had heard of this plan.
A few days later she winged it home and I sat on it for a day or so and then I called her and told her that I thought she should write her boards for the States and that we should move in together as soon as she could come south. I told her that I wasn't one to come to such decisions lightly (I wasn't) and that essentially by asking her to do this I was making a big commitment to her (which she knew).
I told her to think about it - there was no rush. She hung up the phone, walked downstairs and told her folks she was moving to Florida.
She called me and told me she was in.
Six months later she landed just as a hurricane was about to make landfall (it never did). We went to our apartment and made love on our single piece of furnishing - an air mattress. We were on our way.
Good thing she said yes or I'd probably be living in a flophouse downtown with the dog, sitting on a beanbag chair eating hamburger and onions or fried sausages (two of my favourites as a bachelor) drinking lemon gin and wondering where it all went wrong as I stared at my Trainspotting posters. Oh yeah and as frequent readers know I am wont to do, playing with myself until I was raw.
But instead I didn't play it safe - I made a choice and so did she and while the good things in life can be fleeting, so far we have been lucky and have made a good life for ourselves.
Its 4-1 Ducks right now and another season goes down the toilet and there is plenty of blame to go around. There is Lowe who dismantled a club that came within a break or two of winning a Cup and turned it into a laughing stock. He escapes censure (even now Tambellini will likely get blame for this team that Lowe put together) but the last three years have been pisspoor.
The players deserve blame because they are the ones who play the game in the end but this team looked off almost from day one. Too many poor starts. Too many poor games. Points given away all through the season. Only right before the break did they look like they had any heart and of course in the end that is the killer. Since the dynasty days the next best era was the stretch from 1997 to 2004 with the Cup run of 2006 capping those years. Teams of hungry young dudes who skated and hit with abandon. They nearly always came up short but never for lack of trying and when the money was finally spent and Pronger and Peca and Spacek and Samsonov and Roloson and Tarnstrom were added well then it came together and it probably would have been the best Cup of all except for the very first, I would say. That team that grew up together, with all of those kids, including those who weren't around when 2006 rolled around - Janne and Grier and Marchant and Weight and Guerin and Brewer and yes even Salo and Carter and Comrie - they had spirit, they had elan, they left their opponents reeling and they always went out on their shields.
But not this team and in the end MacT will fall on his sword and it is fitting. Once a terrific PK reduced to a joke. A PP that cost them the Cup in 2006 remaining a joke - no movement - pass it to Souray. Playing for the tie in the hopes of getting to the shootout (who the hell does that?!). Harnessing the young offensive talent, no aggression, no passion. Whipping boys. Patterns of bad behaviour unpunished when it suits. Odd decisions all through the season. MacT began to lose me in November and it was a slippery slope from there.
MacT fans have long pointed to the fact that players leave and do no better elsewhere but the fact is recent years have begun to turn that theory on its head. Raffi Torres is a force in Columbus and Jarret Stoll produces in LA while Greene becomes a rock on their blue. Lupul may be a guy I don't want on my team but he has scored a lot of goals on two winning teams, soft opposition or not. Erik Cole leaves and sparks the Canes to surge into the playoffs. Brad Winchester. Jan Hejda. Glencross.
Its the same old story. You can explain one or two and I liked the Lubo trade, don't get me wrong, but when guys leave Edmonton and start scoring goals and kicking ass for teams that are ahead of Edmonton in the standings then I would ask What the Fuck?
Meanwhile the Oilers look like a team with no heart. Thing is we saw some of these guys in 2006 and we know they have guts. We saw many of them in the stretch last spring and saw them play with courage and conviction. And yet when they had a spot sewn up, as recently as a couple of weeks ago, they pissed it away with a disaster of a stretch run.
This summer is going to see some change. It won't reach the executive suite, where it should, but its going to hit behind the bench, where it also should, and its going to happen on the ice, where it should.
Its time someone makes some intelligent choices, makes some choices which take guts, makes some choices that will set things on the right track.
Its not that hard. Even a mook like me can do it.