Wednesday, June 22, 2016


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

It encouraged Mekkar as he felt emboldened like hey, if a little guy like Lee could take on larger people and kick their rear ends when necessary, why couldn’t he? Of course, Mekkar realized that Bruce was in a class all by himself. Lee was an innovator and might never be matched in the combat arts realm.

Nonetheless, Bruce in his films provided some additional inspiration to Mekkar in regard to overcoming his lack of imposing physical structure and size to make great impact anyway. Mekkar also referred to him as, “The Bruce man,” as he called him admiringly, “Probably hasn’t encountered a pack of wolves or a polar bear too close for safety’s sake.” Well, in this one area, Mekkar thought in a humorous way, that he an advantage over the out of this world Lee in his realm. Each of the four in that crew at the movie house continues to love and enjoy good action martial arts films ever since, plots and speaking be damned.          

During next day and in the span before The Selects match against the home team at the Summit arena, the Aeros has a surprise activity awaiting their tour guests. The hosts invited The Selects team members to join them to attend a major league baseball game at the Astrodome.

The Astrodome was the first multi-purpose dome stadium in existence when it opened in nineteen sixty five. Approximately a decade before other early domed facilities such as the Superdome in New Orleans or the Kingdome in Seattle. The Astrodome was nicknamed The Eighth Wonder of the World as it was one of a kind at the time it was built. Now, it is empty and houses almost no sports - probably just rats, Mekkar figured. [Wikipedia]

Mekkar was familiar with baseball because he had been forced to watch many tapes and films. He did this along with other sports as part of his mama’s plan for him to learn the english language. Plus, Mekkar had previously played similar games like pesäpallo, rounders, and over-the-line. So, attending this game would not be a total foreign experience to him.

The Aeros and Selects players sat in a section designated for them down near the field level. Undoubtedly, the Selects players enjoyed the various snacks and beverages mobile vendors would bring by during the game. Unknown to Mekkar, many of his teammates had never been to a live baseball game before.

As Mekkar was trying to find his seat he blurted out the comment to one of the home team players, “You know that this doesn’t change the fact that you are still the enemy come game time tomorrow.” On of the Houston players’ responded back, “That is tomorrow, just sit back and relax and enjoy today’s game as our guest.” That particular home team player was there with other members of their family to enjoy the day off. Since, it is a rarity during the long season.

Native from north Mekkar was enthralled by the indoor playing area and soaked up the atmosphere of the place along with the game as well. It was good thing that Mekkar had brought his binoculars, as he usually does, to see things more close up. He just thought that the hometown Houston Astros Rainbow, Tequila Sunrise uniforms with the multi-colored stripes were the coolest things. [Wikipedia]

He is a sports fan in general and welcomed colorful items and clothing. Mekkar has the concept of if you just want just black without color in everything, like the trend is going in today’s sports world, just revert yourself back to the nineteen fifties and before. Similar to the period before the advent of color television.

The visiting teen hockey player doesn’t remember who won the baseball game or even who the opponent was and didn’t care. He did get to have some interaction and converse with each of the Howe’s - Mark, Marty, and Mr. Hockey Gordie. That itself was the highlight of Mekkar’s day. Mekkar had got wind that there was supposed to be an evening meal with both teams together later that day, but it never materialized. That was okay because some of the Selects’ team members had consumed too much of the ballpark goodies. A copious amount beyond what was beneficial for their own good. Those same individuals paid for it later.

Suspicious in his nature as he was, Mekkar thought that maybe the whole thing might be a tactic used by their opponent. Not only to soften the Selects’ players up but also to distract them. This in turn, would affect the upcoming match. Mekkar unwittingly made his thoughts regarding this matter audibly known to others around him. This was by the way a regular unconscious habit of his.

Some of the squad hung out together in one of the hotel rooms that evening after arriving back from the ballpark. During the banter when Alf heard his older brother’s incredulous comments, he rebuked Mekkar. The reply was, “We are not in Eastern Europe behind the Iron Curtain you paranoid, unappreciative oaf!” Mekkar gathered Alf was probably right. Yet, he wouldn’t admit it outwardly as to not lose face. Definitely not in front of the team.

On the bus ride from the hotel to the arena a couple of hours prior to faceoff, Mekkar noticed that a couple of his teammates looked lethargic. It seemed to him like they had the flu or something related. So, Mekkar decided to move over to sit by the goalies as they might be more alert. Mekkar figured that they would need to be more awake if a lot of high speed vulcanized rubber was about to be blasted at them. Since netminders are normally so superstitious, he calculated their other worldly aura might separate him. That is, whatever was affecting the sluggish ones he saw on the bus.

Mekkar went through his common pre game routine and it was not long to game time. He started to get revved up. He also grasped that the Aeros were a veteran team with a championship pedigree. Early in the match he foresaw that this was going to be game involving a lot of speed and skating along with quick puck movement. He also supposed there was to be minimal plodding, grinding, bulliness, and thuggery on the ice that night. Some of the Selects’ players had pre-notions, expectations, and assumptions of a North American goonish style they would face before the game began. The Aeros could bring the wood or the pummeling if they had to but it was not necessary for this matchup. This was a definite relief to Mekkar.