Friday, December 21, 2007

Brings me back to my childhood




When I show friends the film Slapshot, they have a hard time believing that it's very realistic. But let me tell you, the clip here is definitely representative of some of the hijinks I saw of the minor league clubs in the 1970's. When I first saw the film, I remember asking my parents (the one occasion I remember my parents taking me to a movie together) if I SHOULD be seeing it, because it was rated R, and my dad actually said, "It's nothing you haven't seen before, and you're with us, so it's all right."

When I was growing up in the old home town of Lewiston, Maine, my father used to take me to Maine Nordiques games at the Lewiston Arena. The Lewiston Arena is now known as the Collosee, and is currently home to the Maineiacs, a pretty damn good little hockey club, thank you very much.

I don't remember much about wins and losses, yearly records, individual players, etc., as I was pretty young at the time. I think my dad got stuck with me on game nights as my mother was a nurse and worked nights, and the siblings had their own things going and didn't want to babysit. But because I have an absolute shit memory, the fact that I remember being there at all means I must have gone to a fair number of games.

A couple of random memories of these games:

As the fights would break out, and no game was complete without at least one fight per period of play, dad would be in torment. I could tell he was faced with a dilemma - Do you jump up and down and scream, supporting your team and egging on the fighters, or do you try to set an example for your big eyed 8-year-old daughter by pretending to be disgusted at the violence and sit with your arms crossed? Dad would attempt option two, but I was never fooled. His crossed arms would positively twitch to the rhythm of the fight, and he would chew on his lower lip until my jumping up and shouting would give him the go-ahead to join in. "Oh well," I'm sure he figured, "it's too late to make a lady out of this one. Might as well go nuts."

And the games were lucrative for me as well, as he used to disappear between periods and go to the canteen for beers (beer wasn't allowed in the seats) and he'd give me money to go to the concession stands for hot chocolate and popcorn - by the end of a game that went into overtime, I had a ton of cash in my pocket because he'd give me a five each time and never ask for any change.

Ahhhhhh...sweet memories...

But anyway, if you haven't seen Slapshot, or if you've seen it but think it was pure fiction, I can tell you - there never was a more true-to-life sports film ever made. And if you watch the DVD with the special feature of running commentary by the Hanson Brothers (also highly recommended) they talk about playing in Lewiston, which means that there's a good chance I saw these guys play as a kid and had no idea who they were. Maybe not, but it sure is fun to speculate.

I will be on vacation for the next week and a half, so I may or may not post, so I'll just say it now...

Happy Holidays everyone!

17 Comments:

Blogger Mr. Beer N. Hockey said...

That is just the sort of story we love to read in these parts. The stars of the NHL all twinkled blood on a regular basis in those days. Dope City's minor pro team, before they were granted an NHL franchise almost 40 years ago, was every bit as savage as your girlhood memories. I can still see my dad knocking guys out from the comfort of his Easy-Boy on Saturday night.

There is no better sports movie than Slapshot. It would be great to see someone actually try to top it. Violence, humour, beer, sex and hockey. Bring it on!

Merry Christmas.

21 December, 2007 20:00  
Blogger Dr Maroon said...

Maine-iac. Pretty good. I likes it.

22 December, 2007 05:53  
Anonymous Lawnslave said...

I agree with Beer & Hockey, no better sports satire ever was made, nor will be. George Roy Hill, we forgive you for "The Great Waldo Pepper". Oh, and DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT try to watch Slapshot on VHS, the soundtrack is redubbed with generic background music, The DVD has the original 70's music, each song plays into the scene you can hear it in. Brilliant, F'n brilliant.

22 December, 2007 10:14  
Blogger Medbh said...

My brother lived like he was in that film for years and even did the naked on ice thing, too. Mr. M puts the tv on for the big "Hockey Night in Canada" every week and even I'll watch a bit.
There's a big controversy here about a player who got the longest suspension on record for using his skates on another player during a fight. He crossed the line.

22 December, 2007 11:11  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Awesome clip. That's so funny about your dad's inner fighter turmoil too.
Have a great holiday honey, I hope you have a ball, eat good food, drink good hooch and have a lovely time.
FMC

22 December, 2007 11:50  
Blogger Andraste said...

Hey Mr. B&H - happy holidays to you, too. Baton Eleveeeeee!!!

Docky - yes, clever, eh? Mainers are notoriously insane, so it's appropriate.

Lawnslave - long time no type! Are you an icy driveway slave these days?

Medbh - The hits in hockey are getting more and more vicious, it seems. The players are so much bigger and stronger than they used to be.

FMC - Thanks, and happy holidays to you too. DRINK UP!!!

22 December, 2007 13:15  
Anonymous laughykate said...

Hey, have a lovely Christmas, we will obviously get it first down here, I will try not to mug Santa and relieve him of all his presents he has for the rest of the world.Although I will be sorely tempted.

P.S. What is hooch? In New Zealand that's what we call marijuana.

23 December, 2007 02:24  
Blogger Andraste said...

Thanks, Laughykate - have a great Christmas yourself!

Hooch = booze. It's a colloquialism that's coming back into vogue because it's so funny.

23 December, 2007 11:07  
Blogger MikeP said...

That is a geat story about hockey. Have a Merry Christmas, too.

23 December, 2007 14:39  
Blogger Xul said...

I soooo love me some U Maine hockey! I have a Maine-iac shirt but it's from the aforementioned team. And Slapshot is the greatest of all sports movies. I laugh my ass off every time I watch it. I do miss the old NHL(sniff).

23 December, 2007 19:10  
Anonymous Sam, Problemchildbride said...

Eat, drink and be merry this Christmas, Andraste. If you don't the world will be all wrong. Have a blast, darlin'!

24 December, 2007 01:39  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Yeah, Coach--old time hockey!" that Halloween when you and I and the other one went as the Hansons is STILL one of my all-time best costumes ever.

NOW we know why the John Linnell song about Maine begins "Relaxing on my hands and knees/Relaxing on my faaaaccccce....." he's singing about a fight where a hockey game broke out.

Merry Happy ExMass to you and yours.

~Sare

24 December, 2007 12:23  
Blogger Archivalist said...

Btw, it's MAINEiacs. I guess it makes a difference to someone...

And for this Christmas season, here's a message from Slap Shot:
"Well, Dave's out! Who's gonna take his place?"
"Is the answer Jesus?"

Happy Holidays!

24 December, 2007 19:47  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

You there! Girlie girl, yeah you with the rack. Happy New year.
FMC X

31 December, 2007 09:24  
Blogger Kim Ayres said...

Happy New Year! - Hope 2008 is good to you :)

01 January, 2008 12:42  
Anonymous Sam, Problemchildbride said...

Hope your New Year was a good 'un. Come back and tell us, won;t you?

All the very best to you for 2008.

02 January, 2008 17:59  
Blogger Jim said...

Nice post about Slapshot and the glory days of the Maine Nordiques and the very physical hockey of the old NAHL.

Watching yesterday's Ice Bowl in Buffalo made me reminisce about outdoor hockey in my hometown of Lisbon Falls, just down the road from where you grew up in Lewiston. That and Bob Costas' story about the original Ogie Oglethorpe prompted me to write my own hockey-related post on my blog.

My Mom's from Lewiston and I now work there. City's changing and the Mainiacs play a good brand of hockey.

Cheers and Happy New Years!

02 January, 2008 20:04  

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