Friday, September 30, 2016


There was a barrage of constant interruptions throughout the night and on the day of the game as cautioned earlier. Mekkar was mindful of the intentional nature of these actions due to the forewarning before ever leaving home on this whirlwind tour. Despite this being aware of this environment Mekkar still became irritated. Mekkar considered this as a problem and was cherishing the chance to exercise his wrath. He would get his opportunity to dole out payback that night as a result. Mekkar’s disposition is to get ticked off and get even by reacting in a specific manner while knocking some heads in.

Mekkar started the game and got his revenge in a physical manner and hit everything in sight on the ice. He judged most of the Selects squad and said they had too much respect for the Soviet champions. The Arctic Warrior was like a man possessed and showed no fear while carrying out his own sense of ice frontier justice of punishment. It got to a point where even the opposition players did not want to provoke him anymore with nasty stickwork. Mekkar spent a lot of time to think and ponder the ongoing match from the penalty box. Alf’s older brother had seen quite a few tapes, etc. and knew what to expect in the game itself from the Red Army club.

The young man from the arctic had the best statistical night of all the Selects defensemen despite spending so much time in the sin bin. He was only a minus one which means that the other squad only scored one more goal than his team while he was on the ice. Lasse said the stats were misleading because it might have looked better if Mekkar had not made his team short-handed so often by taking frequent aggressive penalties. Still, the Russian club possessed quite a bit of speed and talent. Kharlamov himself undressed Mekkar on the ice with an incredible move and then immediately scored a goal.

Right before the match Mekkar had implored his Selects teammates to adopt a successful strategy that worked against the Soviets in Quebec City. He had Alf translate a newspaper article for him that revealed a tactic to interrupt the commonly used flow and weave game. Mekkar was willing to combat and overcome the well schooled style of smart, elegant, and officially clean hockey. A method with a penchant for connecting on longer breakout passes to create odd-man breakaways to rack up the goals. [;]

However, Mekkar’s teammates did not heed his advice and it was to their demise. Also, later on in the game several members of the Selects just ignored anything the Native from the North said and counted him responsible for the Selects handicapped situation. The Selects were effectively crushed eleven to two. They failed all over the ice that night even while Mekkar dished out some devastating hits. One of the few positives was that none of their players were seriously injured in this debacle. None of them wanted to visit any hospital facility there as a patient. The players had been previously told stories about the doctors performing operations without anesthesia while the subject is fully awake during the procedure. Mekkar’s response was, “No way! I will wait until I get back home for anything like that. No surgery here for me.”

After the drubbing and post-game formalities such as both squads exchanging of gifts, the fun part was about to begin thought Mekkar. Some of the Soviet players had invited a few of the Selects athletes over for a get together, that is - a party. The Russians had heard that their young opponents could consume considerable quantities of drink. So, they had to test Mekkar and a number of his teammates to see if the alcohol intake rumors were correct.

Mekkar got into one of the host’s vehicles along with Alf, Lasse, Johan, and another to journey to unknown location. He didn’t know where he was being taken to but felt, for some unexplained reason, secure in the fact he had some quality booze with him. As the crew started to roll along the streets further away from the city center some nagging thoughts crept into Mekkar’s mind. Were the agents still watching them? He supposed, that finally, officers and the like would leave him alone and not hassle him or any of the other visiting hockey players. Mekkar’s reasoning was where would they go when they didn’t quite know where they were. Plus, they were with some of the most famous athletes in the country and were visible in that sense.

They finally reached the outskirts of the capital and arrived at one of the home side player’s little home. Right then a numbers of cars rolled up onto the scene and Mekkar quipped, “Now! We have a party.” Many of the cluster went inside and participated in activities like card games while ingesting copious amounts of drink. While the music was in the blaring in the background, Mekkar noticed that the host individual’s family was absent from the premises. He then downed more booze and didn’t concern himself with anymore trivial matters like that.

Both Mekkar and Lasse esteemed themselves lucky that Alf was there because he was the go between to break any language barriers. The young Alf was a valuable asset as to the interaction between the two team’s players at the party. There were not a whole lot of people there including a lack of females. The goal was to get totally blasted and Mekkar was fine with that. In time, most of the group were so wasted that many had landed on the floor, sprawled across coaches, and a couple ended up under a table passed out drunk. There were only a small number that were even remotely conscious, as most were in a stupor.

When the phone rang there was a collective groan in the room and everyone just neglected to answer it including the property owner. He was sort of hanging halfway out one of the windows basically toasted. One person asked if anyone was going to pickup the phone. Another responded, “Who cares, leave it alone. Anyway, I am too drunk to get up off of the floor.” Mekkar wouldn’t answer it because he didn’t speak the local language. Plus, it wasn’t his residence. Plus, he was still in a semi-aware catatonic hammered state and fairly unmoved, along with others, on the floor also.

Monday, September 26, 2016


Sixth, expect your hotel rooms, cars, busses, etc. to be bugged so be careful as to what you say all times. Their goal is to make you paranoid and distracted in a manner as to negatively affect your performance during a match. Seventh, bring multiple sets of top notch ear plugs to help block out all noise and interruptions. The phone will certainly ring during your afternoon nap; late night phones calls to wake you up, and flicking hotel room lights. Plus, fire alarms will go off in the middle of the night to also disturb your sleep. Not to forget, bugging the phones of all of the visiting player’s quarters. Many other out of the ordinary events will occur to throw you off of your routine.

Use these occasions as a trigger to foster more team building among yourselves. Increase the cohesiveness of this squad in a manner with a focus of it is us against the whole world and use it as motivation. Eighth, bring your own preferred alcohol and possess it on you. Otherwise it is assured to be stolen and you will be stuck having to borrow some from one of your teammates. Barring that, reduced to drinking nasty tasting homemade vodka most likely made from your own hand. There was a lot of additional advice and tips stressed to the players.

Anyway, Mekkar was still upset at the ever changing schedule and itinerary of this tour. He, along with his team, was informed in the air to be prepared to play three different clubs located in the Moscow area. This had been expanded from just one as originally planned. The Selects players were told that it was to make up for previously cancelled games and also for the long break they had in Africa.

When the Selects had touched down in Moscow and got off of the aircraft events happened almost exactly as they were described beforehand and warned about. It was fortunate that Mekkar heeded the pre-trip advice and purchased some less expensive goods during the North American part of the journey. Those items were originally intended to be taken back home. He now decided to sell those items behind the Iron Curtain for a tidy sum profit. Mekkar was not the only team member to do this, even a couple of the coaches got into the act by bringing alcohol that couldn’t be found here. The players just expected those coaches to drink it in style instead. Boy, they were wrong!

The KGB agents and a few of the military personnel they encountered since disembarking their flight and on the way to the hotel appeared to Mekkar to be very smug toward them. It seemed that way throughout their whole stay there. Mekkar distinguished the steely eyed looks and cold stares as a type of borderline arrogance. Takes one to recognize another haughty person. Unknown to the hosts, Alf was a secret weapon in the Selects arsenal since he was fluent in the Russian language. Mekkar and other teammates were always pestering Alf to translate for them. They were continually asking Alf, “What did they say?” over and over again. Alf knew his older sibling was a pain in the butt and now he felt the rest of the squad was acquiring this defective trait from Mekkar. Well, Sirga’s expansive language plan was at least being put to good use after all and outside the scope of the family business.
After checking in at their temporary quarters them boys ventured out around the capital city. They soon broke off into smaller groups and pairs to track down the locations to unload their goods. Mekkar was eager to make some exchangeable cash and wanted to get rid of the smuggled articles on his person. He had a sense that the government security people were following him, Lasse, Alf, & others were sort of letting them slide. Mekkar felt those authorities were overlooking minor breeches of the law and protocol with regard to bringing items from outside the country. He thought that they might pounce on the recipients after they leave. Mekkar was of the opinion that the agents were looking for a handout or a bribe to look the other way. He knew this is a normal practice with police and state figures all over the world. Yet, Mekkar did not dare to do this because he did not know who he could trust there.

It dawned on Mekkar when he looked around the place as to why the locals consumed a lot of alcohol, just like back home. He determined that many people there drank like a fish. He described the scene as kind of depressing and thus maybe the reason for these societal habits. To him people were not upbeat and didn’t appear to be happy as a whole, at least not in public or in front of the visitors and most didn’t try to hide it either. Most of the individual dour citizens also seemed to Mekkar as being cut from the same cloth with little variety in dress or mannerisms. Mekkar attributed it to being under the thumb of powerful communist rulers for so long in the vein of Joseph Stalin, etc. It was as though Mekkar had stepped back in time into the 1950’s similar to an old black and white movie on television. Mekkar has never been a fan of tv shows and films that are from the pre-color period.

Could it be the host city residents and government employees knew something that he didn’t? Thus the reason for displaying their overconfident attitude thought Mekkar. He let out a sigh of relief when the small contingent had gotten back to their hotel for the evening. Especially after trading their goods for money that could be switched for a real internationally valued currency before leaving the country. Mekkar definitely didn’t want to get stuck with rubles afterward since they weren’t accepted as payment back home.

In the Arctic Warrior’s opinion, the Soviet players appeared to already believe they had victory over their opponents. Especially of opposition squads as inexperienced as Mekkar’s team. Like a boxing match, a team can be scared and defeated before the game itself. The Selects players were already warned about these dubious tactics would increase when the home squad’s own confidence waivered. Even more so, if there was a thought of potential defeat. Mekkar & his brother Alf both suspected the KGB’s role behind various actions that might be taken against them. The intensity of the nefarious activities almost always increased the day before a game itself. The fatigue factor was the goal through paranoia and suspicion. That is, to have you wiped out by game time and to force mistakes on the ice.

Preparations during the next day for the Selects’ focused on the matchup against the mighty Russian Red Army team, otherwise known as CSKA Moscow. The Red Army squad usually supplied most of the personnel to the powerhouse Soviet National team. Yes, Mekkar knew some the history and it was well known the USSR team had dominated the international hockey landscape since the nineteen sixties. The Selects’ opponents also regularly defeated top-level pro clubs from North America and National teams on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. The Red Army club (CSKA) was able to attract the best players because of the required military commitments of most males in the USSR. {Wikipedia]

The CSKA roster was filled with names acknowledged throughout the hockey world. Players such as Valeri Kharlamov who was as talented as Gretzky or Lemieux, one of the best goalies ever Vladislav Tretiak, Vladimir Petrov, the tenacious Boris Mikhailov, Alexander Gusev, Vladimir Lutchenko, Yuri Liapkin, a young budding superstar defenseman Vyacheslav Fetisov, and more. Many of those players had gained experience on the international stage and now were squaring off against kids. [Wikipedia;;;;] 

Friday, September 23, 2016


Before the Selects embarked on their worldwide barnstorming hockey tour Mekkar, Alf, Lasse and some others watched tapes of the 1972 Summit Series. It pitted the Canadian NHL All-Stars against the Soviet Union’s national team The boys also watched all the matches from the 1974 Summit Series featuring the WHA All-Stars versus the USSR. The others watched, but Mekkar studied.

Mekkar had seen other games involving Russian squads because of the large satellite his papa constructed back home. It was the only one of its kind in the area and stood out like a sore thumb. He even paid attention to a practice session of the Soviet national squad carrying out their precise drills to perfection on the ice. All the while they were blindfolded. Mekkar thought that was incredible!

He attributed it to the environment those players’ trained in and it appeared to him as intense. That is how they became the well-oiled Red Machine as he described it. Mekkar had the feeling that sometimes the Soviet players were so extremely well drilled, like the soldiers they were, they gave him the perception they were more machine than human. Mekkar also saw the other side of the coin and that might be a possible flaw in the system to be exploited.

Most of the Soviets did not seem to him to exhibit that internal drive in an outward way much of the time. Although there were a few exceptions that displayed their emotions on an individual basis, it was very rare. Maybe it was a tactic used to show that the Eastern European powerhouse was not at all intimidated by extroverted Canucks, examined Mekkar. This was contrary and very unlike the players from Canada and to a lesser extent, America. There was no quit in the North Americans and a continual non-stop striving for victory until the gametime clock had expired. [; Wikipedia]

The Native from the North noticed this lack of excess outward emotion as a visible behavioral trend in the great majority of Russian athletes of the time. Yet, there were still pointed exceptions. Mekkar applied those expressed unmanifested characteristics and demeanor to individuals in all sports behind The Iron Curtain, not just hockey players. He was of the opinion that this psychological profile trend was a by-product of the Soviet sports system itself and could be possibly attributed to the Russian culture as a whole. Out of a historical subjection to dictatorial national leaders and the expectations for complete obedience of the population. Mekkar labeled many of the European players in this manner also. Outward displays of emotion on the ice were frowned upon by high ranking officials and subordinates. It seemed to Mekkar as if there was a waiting for a specific reaction from a superior before a display of their own. Many things resembled being contrived and much too calculated for Mekkar’s taste.

The Arctic Warrior did not want to live his life that way, where he would be always on pins and needles. He couldn’t do it because he was too bold and brash for that. Mekkar acknowledges he never could be successful in any venture with such extreme structure and protocol. Mekkar many times acts before he thinks without the extensive thought process of possible scenarios and actions beforehand. He would have done his own thing anyway and somewhere along the line eventually snap. The reaction would be something totally stupid while at the same times ticking off the authorities, thus, sabotaging future opportunities. Especially people who have the power to make decisions with regard to Mekkar’s now growing hockey career aspirations.

He recalled prior to this hockey barnstorming tour some veterans were brought in to give advice, tips, and answer any questions of the Selects players regarding this trip. The guest speakers had been involved in numerous hockey games in many places around the globe. They gave Mekkar and his teammates some good hints and insights especially relating to issues they probably would encounter behind the Iron Curtain of Eastern Europe and Russia.

Some of the topic points were: First, don’t expect to like the food and find alternatives to fit your taste. Second, put all of your hockey gear in other bags that are not on your person because those will get searched. It will almost definitely be the case when you are not near them and more specifically at the airport for your inbound flight. Third, bring any normally used personal accessories and utility items. Plus, carry any goods that are hard to find at your destination in your one carry-on bag and never let it leave your sight. Keep that tote with you at all times. So you can jettison the contents as quickly as possible to make some extra cash.

Fourth, assume that you and your entourage will always be watched and followed by the KGB, secret police, or some type of security agent at all times. Travel everywhere in groups so that individuals can split up at any time to hopefully lose them. Unload through selling your snuck in contraband items to black market sources as quickly as possible. Don’t forget about the back end of the official political party stores which are not ordinarily noticed by much of the general public. Those goods will bring a nice profit for you. Bring scarce things like Levi’s and other items from outside the area, but in all instances be careful.

We can give you guys more detailed information of where to go and who to speak to. Be sure to make friends with the hotel concierges by bribing them with products and money. They are resourceful and a wealth of good information of the best deals to be had for you. Each one of them is usually hooked up with particular black market connections that will purchase the goods. Remember to set aside and keep a few hockey related items in the bag as a cover to hide the other products from peering eyes. You might also have to give gifts to local police and agents to stay out of trouble if you get caught. Bribery will get you everywhere there.

Fifth, expect bad service and poor treatment towards you for everything because they want to get into your head beforehand. They believe the mind games always help the home teams to achieve victory. It is their way. You are not special; they have done this to all other visiting teams in the past. [] This includes one sided refereeing in favor of the home sides on the ice too. [;] 

Saturday, September 17, 2016


Nilla, Tazil’s mother, had a hearty laugh and an outgoing disposition. She said to Mekkar, “When you get here give us a ring and we will come to see you.” Her education was relayed into work as a civil servant in a national government building there. The brutal dictator killed her husband for some unknown reason and no one has ever given any explanation. She seemed to have a joyful disposition despite the outward circumstances that easily could have left her extremely bitter.

The Selects players, staff, and their transportation crew were booked into the swankiest hotel in Kampala. However, on the second night Mekkar, Alf, and Lasse went and stayed overnight at Tazil’s more humble residence instead. The youngsters played diverse games while they were there with the family. Others in the neighborhood dropped by to take part in the activities. Mekkar even teased Tazil about wearing a coat when it was so warm (about 90 degrees Fahrenheit). Next, the three arctic boys retrieved their hockey sticks and pucks among the gear and taught the kids there about the game in a number of aspects like how to properly hold a stick and shoot. Some of the children had never seen anything that resembled ice hockey in any form. Mekkar wished they had more time to spend there and additional items to give away there. The three Selects players even autographed a few of the goodies also. Mekkar figured that they could acquire a few extra sticks and related items from equipment managers to replace what he gave to the kids there. He knew it was up to them to customize the fresh gear to their liking for future contests.

What the Native from the North remembers best is the animal chasing contest during the festivities. Tazil was very quick and extremely proficient at this enterprise. He told Mekkar why and how he became so exceptional at it, “The reason is you become good at this to prevent from going hungry.” Tazil also mentioned that this was the case before his mother got that good government job to feed the family especially after his father had died. Tazil went on to say, “Now catching the food is just a hobby to keep his skills sharp and improved my futbol (soccer) goalie reactions.”    

Team staff and their vehicles then arrived to entreat Mekkar, Alf, and Lasse to get ready quickly so they could depart the city. The powers that be wanted them to join the rest of the team to forge ahead on the journey. Both sides waved their goodbyes and the Selects headed off to explore around one of the largest freshwater lakes on the global map. The assembly took them through the Masai Mara wildlife area in Kenya to reach the well-known Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. Mekkar wished Tazil could have been with him on this part of the trip because he knew the region so well. Yet, Mekkar thought it was probably no big deal to the Ugandan since he lived so close by and has seen these different animals in person many times over.

As the vehicles were in the northern part of the park and not far from the border and the lake they stopped to take a break. The idea was let all of them just enjoy the scenery. Soon afterward a herd of elephants went strolling by. Mekkar was glad it wasn’t too close because he didn’t know the temperament of pachyderms in relation to people. “Hopefully, those big beasts don’t see us,” stated Mekkar. It was still close enough to make the ground tremble as they rolled past. Mekkar commented that it felt like an earthquake on the Richter scale. The vehicle was rocking and swaying from side to side while also stirring up everyone’s meal from earlier. The tusked creatures were not quite stampeding, but at the same time they were not walking slowly either.

Mekkar came prepared, as always, with a few sets of binoculars for those in the transport to use. Some of the others had their own as well. After the distance widened between them and the animals, the vehicle Mekkar was in headed off in pursuit. He had an overwhelming feeling to pursue the adventure even while doubting the wisdom of tracking the beasts. They followed the chase due to the strong urging and pestering of the driver by the majority of the passengers. Still the truck kept a wide gap between them and the moving herd. Mekkar and his buddies next saw something that he didn’t believe at first. A male lion had gotten way too close for comfort. Mekkar felt it might have been hungry and possibly desperate but also asked the question, “Don’t the female lions usually conduct the chase and hunt the prey instead?” The rest told Mekkar to keep quiet as to not attract any attention to them.

Well, one of larger pachyderms, Mekkar was unsure if it was a male or female elephant, kicked that displaced lion in the air like a field goal in American football. It seemed as though the big cat was dead before landing back to earth with a distinctive thud. Yet, they were too far away to feel the lion’s punishment but could see it with a sense of empathy on behalf of the clawed cat. Mekkar right then stated out loud, “Whoever said that the lion is the King of the Jungle doesn’t know what he is talking about! Oh, man!” He continued on to anyone there that was listening, “Did you see that lion get kicked like a field goal or a soccer ball? That was so cool!” They were all cracking up at that statement, but also told him to keep his voice down since Mekkar gets louder when he gets excited.

Soon after this they left to be out of range of the mammoth animals. A notification came over the sound box in the truck. When they came upon another location instructions were passed along that it was now time to go and resume the tour. The backtrack via a different route began. Mekkar pointed out a sight to the east. It was the highest mountain on the continent, Kilimanjaro. Mekkar was not a mountain climber and had no desire to he would only observe the peak’s majesty from a reasonable distance. He would let the handheld field glasses amplify and focus the view of the famous mountain.

They were moving at a rapid pace to their next destination. Mekkar felt it was pretty amazing to view animals such as giraffes, etc. in the wildlife preserve with the Kenyan capital skyline silhouetted against the setting sun. It was then only quick jaunt to Nairobi nearby to fly out to unnamed locations northward. 

Thursday, September 15, 2016


This line of vehicles on the desert frontier kept moving at quite a rapid clip and distance. Basically stopping only for short pit-stops to refuel, reload with supplies, or have all empty their bladders, etc.  When they reached the temple ruins of Luxor everyone checked it out. However, the group didn’t spend near the amount of time in comparison when they previously visited the pyramids. Mekkar was definitely feeling groggy and listless at this point on the journey. He figured that he saw the pinnacle earlier on at the pyramids. Thus, Mekkar was sort of indifferent to the Luxor site. It was different from the manmade similarly named hotel near the Las Vegas strip. The contrast between the beautiful oases here along the Nile amidst the desert was most striking. The column of trucks, well more like sport utility vehicles, journeyed on. It was estimated the group covered a stretch further than the equivalent from San Diego to San Francisco everyday so far and this travel trend would continue as is. 

Other sites passed by and viewed by Mekkar, when he was awake, was the large Aswan Dam & Lake Nasser. They were going to exit Egypt soon. Yet the voyage continued as they advanced through the desert like so many before them had. Mekkar reflected to his studies in an instant and thought just like Erwin “The Desert Fox” Rommel’s tanks would have if they had reached this far south. Of course, Mekkar was quite aware that travelling companions were a very different type of warrior, on ice. The only true uniformed and active soldiers accompanying them were in service to the Egyptian military. Their tasks on this trip were not military in nature, just as drivers. Mekkar felt it was not wise for their guides and chauffeurs to wear any uniforms since it would just cause trouble down the road. Especially since they would be crossing into another country real soon and later on during this trip.

Ever a student of history and from research, Mekkar was only slightly perceptive of the deep animosity of various tribes and nations in this region of the planet. But, not the full extent. The Native from the North discerned and decided that former colonization and imperialism of these parts of the world created a sphere of issues still existent today as a result. Elites drawing up national borders while at the same disregarding the local populations and dividing homogeneous tribes. Of course, he reasoned there would be future complications and it happened.

It was another day or so until the Selects reached another large metropolis but they were all dwarfed by Cairo in comparison and where this excursion began. After passing a generous bend in the river and near the Sudanese capital Khartoum the Nile joins together from multiple branches. Despite many efforts by the surrounding people to harness resources from the longest watercourse on the planet to meet ever expanding power requirements, the ancient river still flows on. It has not been brought to a halt at all. Now Mekkar and his caravan crew can enjoy the fruits provided by the waterway as a result. Assorted construction of bridges and other crossings assure that locals have access to all the benefits the Nils provides on both sides of the river.

Mekkar recalled this was one of the places where the ancients were able to build whole civilizations without the modern tools of today. He guessed that the area was probably more despite deforestation. The desert has claimed much of the land in our times in his opinion. Even historians that Mekkar has read about have admitted to this trend. However, the Great River has not been completely conquered, like his own dwindling people, and the water still flows.

Some of the days still seemed warmer to Mekkar and he would request that the driver turn up the air conditioning in the truck. The boys from the coldest regions of their nation were here, so there were no outward complaints from the other passengers. Yet, none of the others including Alf or Lasse preferred it as chilly as Mekkar. They were always teasing him about having ice in his veins. Mekkar had too much time on his hands and was examining the potential change of seasons and possible effects upon him as they reached closer to the equator. He has enough trouble with hot weather because his regular body temperature is much lower then the normal 98.6° F (37° C). The funny thing is that his friends notice that heat radiates and emanates from Mekkar more than anyone they know. Alf mentions that his older sibling is unable to keep his heat within but at the same time prefers it colder, when healthy. Not surprisingly, no one who knows Mekkar is astounded that he is contrary to accepted scientific norms and conventional wisdom, but accepts him as an oddball in many ways. The poor driver ended up wearing a heavy coat while doing his duty. He didn’t even mentioned anything about it nor bring up the subject at all. The guide kept speaking about details of the sites the crew arrived at or passed on by without a beat. Alf had a theory that the coachman was talking so much to keep warm, who knows!

Khartoum was almost the half way point to Lake Victoria, but the White Nile runs past that onto Burundi. However, even scientists were unaware of this continuation at the time and the true source in Burundi was discovered in the early twenty-first century. [Wikipedia] The group didn’t stay long, but solely needed to replenish and resupply and be on their way.

As the chain passed past various regions they finally approached and journeyed through Uganda, the locals there cast their gaze at them with a lot of suspicion. Mekkar had the concept that the possible reason for the distrust could have been because their group was viewed as guests of Idi Amin. An off-handed comment regarding how the visitors were travelling by land instead of by boat on the water was the basis of this misjudgment. The regular custom was that normal tourists followed the locals and moved between different stopping points on the water.

When the Selects and their small entourage arrived in the Ugandan capital Mekkar contacted a person he was acquainted with, Tazil. Tazil’s mother worked with Sirga in some capacity for a short time up north. Mekkar was unclear on the actual connections and details between the two women and didn’t really care too much. However, he befriended Tazil during that time. Mekkar had previously contacted the Ugandan and his family when they got closer and told them that he might make it there, if it all works out right. He said it would depend on the time frame and possible schedule to the area excluding any unforeseen changes that were very common on this trip. Thus, Mekkar was not definite in the planned visit, just estimating a potential occurrence. 

Friday, September 9, 2016


Mekkar must have stated his concerns in his mind and also out loud because another person there told him that the nose had been shot off by way of a cannon ball. A misfire that was done by one of Napoleon’s soldiers long ago and that he was not in any danger of falling debris. [Wikipedia] The young man was hoping to see the rest of this vast pyramid complex on this day and he accomplished this. As dusk approached they loaded back up into the same vehicles and continued on. Happily the vehicles were supplied with snacks, drinks, and whatnot as they caravan travelled south through the desert with the great river nearby flowing in the opposite direction northward.

As he was leaving the pyramids in the distance of the rear view window, Mekkar felt sad for the long lost people who built those magnificent symbols. Masterpieces that are still around thousands of years later to be treasured by the earth’s inhabitants today. He also reflected about the culture and the people who lived during that time period. Would they be pretty much forgotten today if these manmade structures no longer existed? Would their past accomplishments be basically erased today and banished to the annals of history? Mekkar pondered on these questions.

The native from the north was still a product of his upbringing and environment. He thought that hopefully some in the future will still remember us as a people. That our good deeds might be recognized long after our own native culture is no longer present in the world. That maybe we failed to leave any massive makers of a culture long passed like these the Egyptians did under the Pharaohs. He realized right then the future fate of his own indigenous civilization. Mekkar felt somber because many ancient peoples along with native societies have come and gone.

They disappeared and those stepping stones for progress, as well as, the lessons that could have been gained now are perished forever. The usefulness can’t help us in the current age, even though there are some areas where mankind has gained ground. The basic truth is people have changed little in their nature throughout the sands of time. Mekkar is of the opinion that ancient peoples lived in the same vein as today’s native environments. They both face similar dilemmas in that many of their contributions are rarely recognized by the dominating and overwhelming surrounding modern lifestyles. Mekkar knows one thing for sure, that concrete jungle dwellers are fairly inflexible and unadaptable in comparison to his tribe and society.

Whereas a passenger in the moving transport during that first night Mekkar had plenty of time to think about things, that is, when he was awake. He deliberated that everyone has their own agenda, no matter whom they are or when they lived. The team’s visit to the pyramid valley reinforced this belief in his head. Mekkar kept speculating ways to show others those native manners of living also have their benefits. He affirms those are, on a smaller scale, excellent examples that resemble provision of a more equal distribution of resources. Which in turn raises the overall prosperity to the group as a whole due to sharing concept among its inhabitants. As long as everyone works and contributes their fare share of the load, and not sit on their rear end expecting others to take care of them. It is not a welfare system but a matter of survival just like, in a sense, a pack mentality of sorts.

Emerging from Mekkar’s concept is that he feels modern societies have a very different screwed up viewpoint. For the most part those in charge do not care about their overall populations, except perhaps as slave classes to provide for the state and the benefit of the elites. This is a result of the dog eat dog greed mentality that is embedded into the consciousness of each modern society. Mekkar says it has also been imparted into the subconscious of the people by way of design as designated by the elites. It’s all one facet of a greater overall plan to brainwash the people. This has not changed since the beginning of time.

The Wanderer from the Arctic considers it is ironic that the more technological civilizations are in many ways more backward and regressive. It is due to the impersonal, detached, and narcissistic attitude that infects and permeates the various societies. While at the same time delude them also. It is quite a quandary that he hasn’t yet internally solved. Mekkar let these type of thoughts swirl through his noggin while he took in the majesty and expanse of this area. He appreciated how long these natural and interspersed manmade objects have stood the test of time. Mekkar answered some of his own questions regarding how these lasting wonders of the ancient world were built and still remain today.

Mekkar realized that even back then the same issues plagued mankind and the powers that be. That those in charge still will do or say anything to retain their status, positions of power, and influence just like today. Unfortunately, the human species never appears in Mekkar’s mind to learn from their own past history with its flaws and errors. If they did, he questioned whether the supposedly civilized human race would continue the same courses of action to their own folly. Mekkar would respond with a definite - I think not! He saw these physical symbols as just a part of another empire and culture. One that has come and gone in a long line of successive great powers who existed for at least awhile, but fell due to internal decay and inefficiency. His inquiry of when will it ever end never was resolved during this consideration process.

These crazy ideas kept popping into Mekkar’s head to fight the absolute boredom during the transportation travel period along the stout Nile River. He could only be fascinated by sand for so long. Still, much to his chagrin, was the long journey to the next destination wherever that may be. It was an unknown factor as Mekkar was kept in the dark about this just like the rest of the players. He was not amused, as it was Mekkar’s nature and preference to be in the know of upcoming developments. 

Monday, September 5, 2016


Then the mob in the stands took a hostile tone and was shouting out statements. None of the members on the Selects team could decipher except for Alf and another on the team. Only because they could speak any Arabic at all. Yet, Alf kept silent and reserved. He went into his own shell, his own cone of silence as was his personality. [Get Smart TV Show, 1965-70] Some people in the crowd began to throw various food items at the players on both teams whether they were on the ice or not. The now unruly mass of humanity did not discriminate with regard to the targets of their wrath. Mekkar thought he was lucky enough to catch a homemade loaf of bread right after he had rotated his spot on the Selects bench.

The arctic boy even exclaimed to some of his teammates, “Hey, bread! I am going to eat it because it looks good and I am kind of hungry.” Mekkar loved heavy, fresh homemade bread which then reminded him of home. Unhappily for Mekkar and the rest of his squad the coaches were tapping them all on the shoulder. It was not for a line change this time, but to gain their attention and to tell each one of them not to consume the food. No matter how delicious the food might appear. The staff explained that it could be contaminated and could have bacteria, plus who knows what else. They were concerned about potential illness because it seems that someone on the team is always sick. On top of that, colds and other illnesses are spread through the whole squad around and around throughout the season.

Behind the Selects bench players were being implored with comments and questions about the possible lack of hygiene habits of the individuals tossing the edibles at them. Mekkar snickered to Alf and Lasse nearby, “So much for good relations, what a crock!” The ice surface then took quite awhile to be cleared of all the items that littered it. Due to that the rest of the game was cancelled and called completed as a result, even though it there was a few minutes left to go. The lopsided score was a foregone conclusion anyway.

Lasse led the team to escape the madness back to the lockerroom because there was no telling how the rowdy multitude might respond next. Plus, the Selects still had to reach the parking lot. A few of the team members now felt that factions of the hostile mob might want to attempt to physically attack them or possibly shoot at them. Once the Selects all reached the bus safely, there was a sense of relief. Nevertheless, they were not out of the woods. There was another announcement for all the passengers to hear. There would be a change in the itinerary again. This time it would include a break with no matches coming up soon and a sightseeing trip too! The staff person didn’t really give more details about the detour so there were some doubts. Still, Mekkar and some of the injured Selects players welcomed the interlude to heal. Mekkar joked with Lasse and uttered, “Well, at least the incompetent organizers of this tour did something right for a change. They needed to make up for the scheduling screw ups during this whole trip around the globe.”

Relayed by the coaching crew as the current word to the players was that this break would last anywhere from a week to twenty one days. Mekkar knew that this could always be changed at any juncture, so he just considered the info fed to them with skepticism. It frankly became like a joke among the team members. Mekkar expressed himself, “I will believe they (the team management) will keep their word, when I see it. Otherwise, they are all full of lies and more lies!”

Mekkar was the lone exception among the individuals that had suffered afflictions on the tour. The rest were sent back home already due to the declaration of those players being unfit to continue in any more matches on this journey. Whew! Mekkar was relieved that the contentious environment at the arena had been swept away when the Selects checked out of the hotel the next day. At least, they got to see a few sites around Cairo. Afterward they gathered together all of the remaining members of the Selects at a specific rendezvous point in the south part of the city center. Fortunately there were no confrontations or conflicts as a result of the match the night before.

A lineup of well maintained in appearance off-road Range Rover vehicles were there to whisk them to destinations unknown. None of the players, including Mekkar, had an inkling as to the direction that was to be travelled or locations they were steered towards. Like most athletes they, most of the time anyways, do as they are told and follow the directives of those in charge. The life of high level athletes is in many ways as structured as the military including the family schedules at home also. Mekkar thought it must a surprise for the reason we are not being informed as to where we are going. He snapped, “In the dark much like the rest of this debacle of a journey.”

Even in unfamiliar surroundings Mekkar aligned himself with those on the team he knew best. So Mekkar, Lasse, Alf, and Johan were all together in the same vehicle. Similar personalities hanging out together. Well, at least the gang of four rebels on the squad still had undiscovered alcohol in their bags to make the trip more enjoyable. They were unable to acquire more booze in the city so it had to last - but still must be consumed. Even though it was fully past the darkest part of winter back home, Mekkar deemed it crazy that some locals in this area would be wearing outer garments or jackets when it was ninety degrees Fahrenheit (32.22° Celsius) outside. He was still an arctic boy at heart. Mekkar inquired of the driver regarding what he saw and was told that temperature was downright chilly here in the Northern Africa desert region. Think of Phoenix, Arizona during the middle of the summer heat and one would get the idea of the norm.

The group of motorized transport machines headed out toward the great river Nile and then turned south. It was an awfully quick trip thought Mekkar as they first arrived at the Gaza area where the mighty pyramids, built long ago, towered nearby. Right at the entrance to their destination, the line of trucks stopped and everyone got out. The Great Sphinx was there as if to greet the visitors to its domain. Mekkar figured that this was part of the intentional design of the area back in ancient times to invoke an automatic response of respect. He guessed that the Sphinx was there as a symbol to protect this place and display the glory of the kingdom. After moving around the various blocks of carved stone, Mekkar stood near the head of the statue looking up at it in awe. He wondered why it had crumbled somewhat especially in the facial region. He also, at the same time, wondered why am I basically standing near the face and underneath this monument? Some of this deteriorating figure might fall directly upon me while I am here in this position. That realization forced him to quickly move away abit.

Friday, September 2, 2016


The next tilt for the Selects was in the most unlikely of places, Cairo Egypt. It wasn’t explained to the players as to who their actual opponent was. Just that an ice rink had been set up for this exhibition match. The coaching staff passes the word from the tour organizers that this game was for the benefit of international relations. Mekkar mocked them after delivering the news to the team. He joked, “It is just some politician speak phrases to cover for the freshly arranged match against probably some scrub club. After that, who knows what is next!”

Since the beginning of the worldwide hockey journey the team members had been informed of current and possible developments only on a need to know basis. At least it seemed that way when Mekkar, Lasse, and other players were discussing this subject together. Mekkar snapped, “Those individuals at the top are just toying with us and think it is hilarious.” He also audibly expressed himself, in his original bold manner, regarding the player’s frustration of the fact that anything was subject to change at any moment. Unfortunately, for them it usually did without warning. Mekkar had the inkling to find and beat a few answers out of one or more of those pencil pushers as he referred to the Selects management.

Nevertheless, there was a perception that the coaching staff was much better informed than were the players. It gave off an impression that the coaches didn’t always tell all of what they knew regarding the behind the scenes activities and shenanigans related to the tour. A few of the other athletes tried to wring more details from members of the Selects staff but it was unsuccessful. Mekkar scoffed out loud in the dressing room prior to this matchup, “To somebody else’s whim we go!”

Mekkar pondered several thoughts before this game. It was due to his belief that when you are not familiar with your opponent it is hard to judge their skill quality and abilities. He never underestimated anyone. Thus, the reason why the Native from the North always gave his full out, maximum effort every game. Part of it was the abhorrence of being part of a team that might suffer indignity and become a footnote in history. He didn’t want to be on the wrong side in the list of great sports upsets, ever. He figured no one wants that shame, especially him. Otherwise, Mekkar would dish out an extensive physical whipping among his own teammates to go along with the embarrassment on the scoreboard. His distaste of losing was quite clear to everyone who knew him.

Sirga and Henrik had advised Mekkar on a few occasions that it is okay to do a psychological job on your enemy for whatever reasons. For him to look at it like marketing similar to hyping a boxing match or any type of event. They also strongly infused their son to never disregard or underestimate any opponent or combatant. It is foolish to do so they would expound. Just when you think you know your foe, they can surprise you with something new they learned recently was maintained to the teenager.

Due to the last match and the Selects injury situation there was only six defensemen for this game, less than normal. So, Mekkar would be suited up even though the staff wanted to scratch him from the lineup. The wanted to hold him out for this match to let his hand heal more, so he could be more effective later on. The Selects felt they didn’t really need him for this matchup. Healthy game time scratches are usually known in hockey as Black Aces. [] The problem was there were no more forward or defensive reserves left to insert into the lineup for tonight. The travel time ensured that none could arrive on the horizon in time for the game either. There was an exception, a non-dressed third string goalie. Trouble is, netminders have their own unique standards and rules that most other players don’t fully understand, including Mekkar.

After realizing how bad the opposing squad was skill-wise the Selects would face on this night in comparison, the travelling team offered the use of one of the Selects’ goalies for this clash. Since the netminders were of a much lower quality than any of them on Mekkar’s squad. The rivals on this evening were even given a choice of goalie selections to choose from, but the Selects’ generous offer was refused. They figured that this way even the backups could gain some more playing time and help provide a competitive tilt. The Selects starting number one goalie was already scheduled to sit this match out, so the other two on the roster could split the duties.

Mekkar himself was not expected to be available, but he was needed so he was given minimal playing minutes. The members of the team, on the non-top lines, who normally received less in-game shifts & time substantially had theirs increased. The situation was similar to when a club has already clinched a playoff spot near the end of the regular season. With the second or post season seedings already set, top players get a break with reduced minutes or complete rest to nurse injuries. That is, before the ramp up of more grueling playoff action soon after.

No matter, the Selects non-top athletes clearly outclassed the other team and were far superior on this night. To avoid humiliation upon the home side and in the context of positive international relations the coaches were instructed to have Mekkar & his teammates change strategy. The Selects were commanded to work on puck passing skills and shoot less frequently on the enemy net. The reality was the Selects would have had a more competitive atmosphere between themselves in one of their own practices. The match itself was still a total rout of great proportions.

During a stoppage in play toward the end of the game due to an icing call, Mekkar perceived that the fans in the building must have realized that their team was being thoroughly crushed. The players on the ice understood that the homeside had no chance of catching up on the scoreboard to make it a competitive game again. Mekkar wondered while sitting on the Selects bench if anyone in this crowd actually grasped the game of ice hockey. Much less how many of them had ever seen a hockey match live before. He questioned whether this adversary was a local one or a team brought in to face the Selects on short notice. Mekkar also inquired just how much of each of the individuals in the restless crowd’s wages had been used to purchase tickets to this sham of an exhibition.