Saturday, August 20, 2016

WORLD WIDE HOCKEY TOUR - BOMBED IN THE BOX (A)

The Selects as a team were on a high note because they won six straight games versus collegiate teams. Next up was a matchup against two junior hockey squads. This story refers to the first game of the two.   

Mekkar was in a bad mood on this evening and that attitude resulted in more than his usual aggressive nastiness on the ice. About midway through the first period of the match The Arctic Warrior was whistled for roughing. Then, he was sent to his hockey home away from home, the penalty box. At first, he was aware by the booing that he was a target of crowd displeasure. Then, hometown fans began to give him some more grief. Mekkar responded by squirting some water, from the water bottle, at fans over the short glass. However, the home fans got their revenge. The Native from the North proceeded to get bombed during this particular visit to the sin bin.

However, he didn’t recognize the onslaught of objects being thrown at him while doing his time in the box. That was, until he caught one with his hand and exclaimed, “What! It looks like cherries!” He flicked a few right back into the crowd which incited them even more to continue the rain upon him.

Well, he was playing a club that resided in a region for its bountiful assortment of fruits. Mekkar thought to himself out loud as usual, but normally unaware of it, and asked “Where did the fans get all of those cherries?” Cherries, like marshmallows, are a symbol used by the fans to show who they think is not tough and to get under a player’s skin. All who know Mekkar definitely wouldn’t place him in the soft category.

Before this trip to the penalty box, Mekkar was involved in this game against a well known junior squad on the continent. He was playing with extra roughness due to his mood. Since Mekkar doesn’t care what people in general and especially enemy fans think of him, he was unrepentant. He clearly was not planning on modifying his behavior.

This attitude was straddling a fine line because he was still performing for a team that was representing his country. The Selects team executives had minimum standards and codes of conduct for players to follow. It was even applied in the face of taunts and worse actions taken against him and his teammates. This conflicted with Mekkar’s disposition and style of play which to him elevated his effectiveness on the ice.

The young man from the Arctic fought his inner being with its urge to taunt the unfriendly and downright hostile crowd there. He did respond as his normal self to opposing players who gave him grief with comments such as, “I have encountered bears, so fear of humans Ha! You have to be kidding me!”

Alf’s sibling felt that the ice surface was not in prime shape and intentionally prepped in that manner to slow down the speed advantage of his team. Any way to help the plodding and slower home side, huh! Mekkar suspected this treachery because he knew it was odd for a rink in this area to have such a poorly maintained ice surface. One could tell there was a pride about that. Mekkar also felt that the building was warmer than it should be because he acutely familiar with arena operations in general.

Mekkar wasn’t sure if the cherries and possibly other fruits were given out in bunches, bags, or gift baskets as a promotional giveaway items to induce greater attendance to the game. He thought the idea was one that was outside of the box. He was of the opinion maybe the local community was having a fruit festival and might have had a different incentive item given to the fans each night. He also asked the question of why let the fans bring these outside things into the arena in the first place? Would it hurt the concession sales there which all or at least a portion of food sales and parking fees from an event go directly to the home team.

These are things Mekkar had running through his mind while serving his sentence in the penalty box. It was quite a regular spot for him and a very well known part to Mekkar, especially back home. Well, since he had such a penchant for taking aggressive penalties.

On this evening, Mr. Bad Attitude, Mekkar had heard of rowdy fans at junior rinks in other locations around North America doing crazy stunts like this. Like tossing batteries, red dyed and colored rice, or spraying various substances at visiting team benches and on individual players themselves. In a few locations heavy tarps and temporary roofs would be used to cover non-homeside benches and tunnels to and from the dressing room to combat these unruly fan behaviors. Since Mekkar had heard about stories such as these before he could not just discount the notion or possibilities. He understood that these fan responses could erupt and arise at any moment. Thus, Mekkar needed to always be ready and prepared like as if he was on a reindeer trek watching out for predators.

Back when he, at home earlier in the decade, first observed in person the nasty tempered clubs coming from North American hooligan hockey breeding grounds. Those visitors acted in the same manner and brought some of their drunken supporters with them. Mekkar figured the squads where imitating the behaviors of belligerent, rowdy, and downright rude to almost everyone around them fans. Monkey see, Monkey do!