Win or lose; winter, spring, summer or fall; asphalt still warm as the sun lingers in the west or in the face of a brutal north wind, suds freezing to slush faster than you can dump em back; there’s nothing quite like popping the tarps off a couple Busch lattes out in the parking lot of the local rink after a beer league hockey game.
Maybe a joint gets passed around. Maybe not. But if you’ve got a few of the brew that’s cold as a mountain stream and fresh as its name, you’re well set to break down the highlights. That beauty goal Eggy scored on the backhand; how Johnsy just left that one guy open there in the slot; when Hammer puked on the ice. Ba-wango!
There’s always a couple pals who can be counted on to bring a case. And there’s always one or two who never seem to chip in. In the end, it doesn’t matter. It’s the camaraderie that counts. Not everybody can be Bobby Beers. Not by a long shot.
When the case is empty, a mountain of empties amassed in the middle of the circle, it’s time to shut’er down. Toss those empties in the blue bin over yonder, saddle up and hit that old dusty. If the good lord’s willing and the creek don’t rise up to a second or third wave, we’ll do it again next week. Game on, good buddy. Game on.
Sheldon Birnie is a writer and beer league hockey player living in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. His writing has also appeared recently in Cowboy Jamboree, BULL, The Daily Drunk, among others. Chirp him online @badguybirnie if you can’t find him in the parking lot.