Sunday, May 15, 2016

WORLD WIDE HOCKEY TOUR – HOUSTON (B)

Continued from WORLD WIDE HOCKEY TOUR – HOUSTON (PART A) in May, 2016.]

The minor grew up and played sports in an era where there was little buddying up or friendly interaction with the opposition. That applied during a game or at the playing venue and to relatives as well. The discussions in those cases could begin at home or in a different location away from where the match was played. Yet, chirping and ribbing was allowed between them.

Mekkar has seen changes which are due to constant athlete movement in all sports. In his opinion, these practices, in conjunction with the media, have fostered an environment of false solidarity. It has been forwarded through the use of selected images and projected a certain picture to the masses. All forms of the communication industry have developed a fractious opposition struggle and climate of ideals; In Mekkar’s inclination, that is of the worker athlete versus management and still another group - sports fans. He feels this is deceptive and done on purpose to create an illusion for a hidden purpose and agenda. Only, Mekkar is unaware of the who is behind it and what is the payoff for them.

Along with some of his Selects teammates, Mekkar was pumped up and raring to go after they got some rest on the long flight. Yet, as they would discover it wasn’t nearly enough recovery time from the jet lag. Sleeping on an airplane is not the same. Plus, it wasn’t even a charter flight this time. Due to previously working some in the travel industry, Mekkar knew that general rule for body adjustment purposes was a day of rest for every three time zones travelled. The team had crossed quite a few time zones on this journey. On the other hand, many know how boys are, restless!

The team had arrived a couple of days early for the scheduled game. Johan mentioned that he saw a movie house nearby as their bus approached their hotel from the airport. Since it was still early enough in the daylight the coaches ordered all players to rest for a specific amount of time before the team meal.

Some of them began to make plans to circumvent the evening curfew and escape in the evening. They want to get out and get away even if it was just to watch a movie at the little theatre that Johan spoke about on the bus. Mekkar was definitely part of the plotting group. He thought what harm could it be to go see a film. It’s not like they were going to cause a raucous or any trouble, right?

After the required team imposed rest period and function Mekkar, Lasse, Alf, and Johan all sneaked out and walked a short distance to the cinema house. Mekkar had learned from his earlier research prior to the trip that Houston had questionable areas. He remembered statements made by former heavyweight boxing champion George Foreman about rough neighborhoods there. [Sports Illustrated; various TV interviews] Fortunately for these four newcomers to this area this was not one of the places to avoid. Even when they heard an ambulance siren on their foot travel, they were not worried at all.

As they approached the theatre they all noticed on the offerings board the martial arts movie Enter The Dragon starring Bruce Lee would start in about ten minutes. This movie house was kind of older and appeared to Mekkar to run aged movies at a lesser ticket cost. It definitely wasn’t one of those monster sized eighteen theatre complexes they have in the suburbs today. All four members of the team bought their tickets and went inside to purchase the goodies that one consumes at the movies – popcorn, drinks, etc.

Mekkar noticed thing that was radically different from home. At the snack bar, popcorn at home has choices with additional toppings offered such as various grated cheeses that they could not get here. Oh, well the joys of travelling Mekkar thought to himself.

The four young men chose and were glad to watch this movie selection. There was also an unhappiness that no other teammates came along with them on this excursion. Mekkar guessed the no shows might have gotten bored with the lack of selections and would have made it harder to have a good time out together. “Their loss,” quipped Mekkar.

Mekkar, Lasse, Alf, and Johan were the only members on The Selects roster to be involved in any martial arts as actual students. Plus, each of them were already big Bruce Lee fans and had seen some of his other films back home. Some that were made in China and displayed the subtitles across the bottom of the screen so the people could understand the dialog. They all loved the butt kicking action. Mekkar was aware that the plots were not the greatest, but he didn’t care. He had a feeling that he might hand out some butt whipping of his own during games on this tour. Thus, the influences for their film choice.

Alf was the exception among them as he had an advantage of understanding a portion of the dialog in those foreign martial arts movies from Asia when they played at home. Mekkar’s younger brother had already learned Japanese and was learning Cantonese Chinese in which he would later become fluent in. At this point it was as a result of Sirga’s accelerated language learning program for him. As with each of the boys it was done for the benefit of the family business. This was just a small part of Alf’s eventual impressive array of languages topping the twenty five tongue plateau. Alf would just pick them up like he had a knack for it comparable to his mechanical ability. Mekkar said, “Alf absorbs languages like we drink water.”

While waiting in line near the snack bar counter to get treats for the movie, they were commenting and debating amongst themselves. The topic was Who was The Man. The other patrons there were unable to decipher what each were saying because they were not conversing in English. Mekkar switched to English as he reached the counter as to be understood for the order of the items desired. He was chosen because his English speaking skills were better than anyone else in their group as well as having the most confidence in those skills. After receiving and paying for the items the conversion hovered back to the subject in their own tongue.

“Bruce is the man,” one of them would say. Mekkar pointed out that back in the village James Bond was the man all the boys wanted to be when they grew up. For Mekkar it was the 007 character played by Sean Connery. All four of them distinguished that Bond was still a fictional film icon while Lee was at one time live in the flesh.

Lasse, Mekkar, and Alf were all involved in the same local dojo back home, while Johan was part of a small city club much further south. As students of the defense and combat arts the four hockey players could really appreciate the athleticism, fluidity, lightning fast speed, and power generated by Bruce Lee. Alf was the youngest of their group but was by far the better martial artist among them. Alf spent the most time honing his skills in the various disciplines and the craft. Mekkar’s younger brother liked Lee’s training and method of using the best of many styles to mix and adapt them to his strengths. This was similar to Mekkar’s view that there were team benefits to the mixing of hockey players, multiple styles, and systems of that time.