Thursday, January 7, 2016

WORLD WIDE HOCKEY TOUR - PRE TOUR (C)

[Continued from Part B in December, 2015]

Any player who is focused on their feet or frequently looks down at them negates many facets of their game. The issue is that your attention is solely on yourself not on what is going on around you on the ice. Mekkar states, “That if a player cannot skate well then you will not get very far. It won’t matter how good that player’s other skills and abilities are.”

This manner of adaptive thinking Mekkar also exhibits into other areas such as board games like Stratego. Mekkar normally kicks rear ends in the game because it appears that his thought process is a few steps ahead of everyone else. He tries to consider multiple possible scenarios or outcomes that could be sprung upon him, at any time, by his opponent. It’s too bad, that The Native from the North cannot transfer this same forward thinking before opening his mouth.

In Mekkar’s mind, playing a sport on a couple of thin blades is not a natural act for a human being. The difference of not using one’s own, more stable and much wider, two feet is what separates hockey players from other collision and contact sport athletes. Most others are barely adequate at the skating part, and much less adept at the other skills required for hockey to perform well. The Arctic Warrior feels that he can emphatically make this statement since he has participated in quite a few other sports as well.

The dedication of Mekkar, towards sports that he enjoyed participating in, was not without its hazards. It’s well to note, that he spent a lot of time rehabbing many injuries common to athletes, especially hockey players, on a frequent basis. This included foot, ankle, leg, knee, hip, groin, and many other wounds. There was also time spent in a swimming pool with water playing the part of resistance to help him get back to full health. Mekkar seemed to Alf to be habitual water visitor. Alf observed his older brother using the sessions to go through various range of motion exercises, as part of his overall physical recovery routine. When you play the type of games that Mekkar did – it was a constant fight against ailments. Even to this day, when Mekkar is in a pool he unconsciously still performs some of these exercises. Nobody seems to ask why. Many assume that the Native from the North has a desire to check his current flexibility. To this day he has never given an adequate answer.

The international system, mainly developed in Europe, is the type of hockey environment Mekkar was also trained in. The premise is with more practices and increased practice time to develop personal skills and fewer games on the schedule. This is the reverse from the scheme in North America where it was based more so on instinct. There were more live matches to apply those learned abilities at game speed and less practice time.

Mekkar always felt that the smaller ice surfaces in the United States and Canada better fit his play the body, not the puck, style. It did help that he was very good in his positioning toward the play happening around him. In Mekkar’s mind the extra dimensional space of an international ice surface made a big difference.

He felt it was harder on the big ice to play a neutral zone defensive strategy like the trap, wing-lock, or similar system. It was easier to advance the puck and maneuver around it. If a defense first dominated game plan was implemented it was typically a retreat further back closer to one’s own net. This fleeing and clogging up a team’s own the zone with all five skaters reduces offense and play making flair from the game. Fans are not as entertained by that method. 

To Mekkar some of these blueprints are similar to a press defense in hoops. The idea is to force the opposition with the puck to areas where the defense dictates. As contrary to where the offensive team in possession of the biscuit controls the flow. On the smaller rinks these trap and lock systems are easier to implement and would make Mekkar’s tasks much easier. Not only that the center red line, like the fifty yard center line in American football, helps defensemen from being burned by the long homerun breakaway passes. Well, that was the case before leagues began to change the rules negating the two line offside infractions. 

The current Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) in Russia is throwing a wrench in all those previously accepted defense theories due to the focus of skill versus mucking and grinding. How that circuit also has some less talented squads invoking “clogging defense” strategies at their own blue line. Mekkar is waiting to see how it turns out as he watches hockey matches from all over the world on the internet in the twenty-first century.

Another thing, Mekkar is a great fan of contact sports and has played many of them. He is aware that “American” gridiron football (not futbol or soccer) was actually born in Canada by British soldiers against civilians in a game in Toronto on November 9, 1861. [cflhq.ca/articles/gridiron-football-the-evolution-2; ezinearticles.com/?Who-Invented-Football?&id=1364334; Wikipedia]

Unknown to many people, there are many nations with professional or semi-professional gridiron football leagues and those with organized leagues and championships. In fact, there are more than 700 American football clubs in Europe alone: USA, Canada, Mexico, Japan, Ireland, Great Britain, France, Spain, Holland, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Poland, Luxembourg, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Slovakia, Russia, Hungary, Ukraine, Turkey, Greece, and Israel. 48 nations on 5 Continents and it is spreading out to other places. [International Federation of American Football (IFAF) - ifaf.org]. Around the world, the game is gaining ground with a future goal of becoming prevalent like ice hockey. There are hockey squads right now in places, one would not normally think of - such as parts of Africa, South America, Mexico, etc.  

Mekkar is convinced that fans in certain areas of the planet are different from the rest of the world in their preferences of many sports. He feels that in North America some are more drawn to games as spectators with higher scoring like indoor soccer, arena or indoor football, etc. in addition to their natural counterparts. In many other places, those modified athletic events wouldn’t fly or draw well. He attributes it to having less appreciation for exceptional defense with the exception of ice hockey in Canada.

The Native from the Far North routinely points out that all sports for viewers are another form of entertainment, a distraction to venture out to the movie theatre. The Romans and many cultures of the past have used diversions to subtlety make their population more docile and easier to control. Mekkar believes that if an individual’s fanaticism becomes an overwhelming distraction to their life survival occupation; then, other additional healthy alternatives are needed.

In lower scoring sports turnovers and mistakes by participants are much more magnified. Even more so, in instances that can lead to an opposition score. Mekkar wisely chose not to focus on those negative aspects. Otherwise, he felt those potential outcomes might occur more frequently due to increased attention to them. That was something he wished to avoid. He did not want to become ridiculously superstitious like many athletes, especially with regard to hockey netminders.

He felt fortunate to have played, in his judgment, as part of the golden age of hockey. Mekkar narrowed the time frame to the mid nineteen sixties to the early part of the nineteen eighties. The minor believes it was a time when there was more experimentation in sports, individuals, cultures, and life itself throughout the world. To him it just seemed like it was more real with more human interaction. In the nineteen fifties fans could still meet the favorite major league athletes face to face, and without as much obstruction, before a game or match. But, the times were changing in rapid order. This has now transitioned into something altogether different in our own individually isolated current time. Maybe, Mekkar is being nostalgic or reflective of an era that is gone, forever.

Free agency in pro sports had its beginnings in the nineteen-seventies. In Mekkar’s own sport hockey, there was time lag before it was swamped by the big money machine and corporate influence we see today. Before all era of great change, most athletes just appeared to Mekkar as more genuine & friendly in those days gone by. The Native from the North considers there were more changes during that time period than any
twenty-year period in history. Innovation was not restricted to technology alone. He speculated that people were more in touch with their environment around them. Well, except for politicians and bureaucrats - who are always out of touch with all reality. Now people just don’t care, because they are so wrapped up in their own little world more than ever before. It doesn’t matter if it is a right or wrong, it matters only how Mekkar sees it.

Top-notch athletic pursuits & leagues, with radical adjustments, grew at unprecedented levels from nineteen-sixty to nineteen eighty. A stodgy, rigid atmosphere that was screaming for transformation. The old way was dead and the stranglehold of the status quo was bursting at the seams. Convinced by these signs, the Arctic Warrior feels that current twenty first century life is just a shadow of its former self. The one big question Mekkar asks is, “Where is the loyalty?” His answer is, “There is none anymore, anywhere.”

Mekkar realizes the settings are not the same anymore. Unfortunately, the hands of time cannot be turned back. In his self-absorbed mind, all things appear to be tainted in today’s world. However, he is unsure to what degree. Mekkar, now places most present professional athletes on comparable ground with politicians. The overwhelming attitude of give me what is mine and unrelatability to their supporters. It actually ticks him off and teases him with the desire to punch them, one-by-one, in the snout. The same maniacal reaction as when encountering a bear at the backdoor steps back home. Mekkar does not think the information age, advanced civilization as a whole. At least, nowhere near as much as the mainstream media wants the people to believe. His conviction is that in many areas society has actually regressed since nineteen eighty. The underbelly of hate and distrust had bubbled over into all areas of society. Sometimes used, by those in charge, to sway public opinion.

The lad from the Far North has a sense that today the essence is different; a needed element is definitely missing. Yet, he is can’t put his finger on what it exactly is. His interpretation is it could many things but people seemed to be more real and less pretentious to him back then. It is possible that Mekkar’s influenced viewpoints were instilled by elders and adults that grew up in a different time. A very unimaginative, predicable surroundings of the post World War II time period. In some ways, a hidden innocence existed, very much unlike today. The native blood flowing through Mekkar determined that he was too close lineage-wise to the old way. In contrast, he was currently in the growth process of forming his character in what he calls, “The Breakout Age”.

Back then, most of the time an individual normally was on a first name basis with most of their neighbors’, where they lived. In Mekkar’s twisted observation, today’s neighborhood community interaction has changed immensely. Nowadays, Mekkar’s main question is, “Who can you trust?” His answer is a select few individuals and they could fall away from being a priority in his book.

He examines whether this state of affairs could be the result of the super disinteraction and depersonalization of further advancing high technology. Mekkar is under the impression that all forms of communication attempt to belittle people. A dumbing-down of society, if you will [Many Books & Sources]. Through convincing them to individually concentrate on more superficial and disengaging pursuits; while missing out on the true enjoyments of life. The young native analyzes it as an underhanded plot carried out through the methodical use of isolate, divide, and conquer. He has stated out loud that he is convinced the activity is for the purpose of complete control of the masses. Perhaps these beliefs are due to Mekkar’s young age at this point and his view of the world at large during his teenage years. There might be something to an alternative perspective. Still, what teen doesn’t have an aversion to all types of authority and authority figures? Think of who makes the rules!

Currently, Mekkar concludes that everything, everywhere is so over the top and in your face all of the time. There is no sense of mystery regarding much anymore. Mekkar, as he normally does, has termed it as, “We live in The Age of Hype and Drama.” He believes there is an intentional directive carried out by a controlled media, with an agenda, to shape perceptions in young people’s minds like his. Those with dominion and clout portray many things as glamorous and attainable for anyone regardless of social status. The truth realized by Mekkar is that the reverse is the case. Many matters are not nearly as enchanting for a great majority of the population but only for a select few of the silver spooners as Mekkar calls them. Another inquiry of his - is who does the selecting?

Often, Mekkar has a definite reaction when sees or hears any advertisement for any product or service. He will usually flip a vulgar gesture and audibly call out the lies, as he hears them, while directing his comments toward the intended target. Mekkar has not been blind to the growth disparity between the common individual and the super wealthy. The Arctic Warrior notices the ongoing robbery prevalent in cultures worldwide and the continuing increase in the wealth gap on a daily basis. Mekkar notices a prevailing trend in his time that matches what has occurred throughout the history of mankind. The scale is clearly unmistakable and the gulfs of social class, as well as status are growing more divided as time goes on. [Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell, 1949]

Due to his native status and appearance, Mekkar is considered to be from a lower echelon on the social caste ladder system. This is even more so, in the larger cities down south, where he is considered similar to a country bumpkin. The daily struggle within Mekkar affects every part of his being. Still, he is aware of the interconnectedness of it all despite living in a contrary manner. Society and life as Mekkar knew it has changed far too much, as well as modifying his own personal nature, and it will never be the same again. He is quite aware that the clock of time can never be turned back.

Yet, as he has hopefully grown up somewhat to discourage reverting back to his more childish viewpoints. The wide array of exposure to many things seen and done, in his young life, has altered him much more than he believes. Not to forget, it is assumed that people will live longer than ever before. Thus, more time to affect more change. In some instances this is considered as progression, more mature, and beneficial. At other times, it creates a raging situation of inner conflict that is difficult to resolve and a potential identity crisis that could affect Mekkar forever.