Monday, October 27, 2003

You KNOW my hands are in pain when I arrive at the Phan Club's Meet and Greet, see that the bumpers are already up at our lane (to prevent gutterballs), and I still opt not to bowl. I learned my lesson last year when my attempt to bowl in the afternoon, after interpreting that morning, was a disaster. I barely got through half of a game then, before the pain got so bad I had to stop, *and* I dropped the ball three times into the bargain. My hands were in such bad shape I couldn't even keep my grip on the bowling ball. This year, because I interpreted prior to the Meet and Greet again, I figured it'd be better for everyone if I chose not to be a menace to myself and everyone in the vicinity, so I relegated myself to the cheering section.

Karla and Al were at the lane next to Mark and me. They had two players (Andre Savage and Mark Murphy), and we had one (Ian MacNeil). What nice guys. All six of us spent the afternoon applauding for one another's good results. Well, except for the little exchange that had Mark Murphy threatening Ian MacNeil with a bowling ball, lol... Well, I did say they're NICE guys, but I never said they're SANE nice guys. ;o)

I lost count of how many games were bowled at either of our lanes... in past years, we've generally had two or three games with the player(s) at our lane, but this year, both of our lanes had WAY more games than that. Mark and Ian, in particular, bowled at least five or six games; with just two players, the games moved fast. Karla got her lifetime best score during one of the games, including three consecutive strikes. I took a photo of the computerized score sheet so I can e-mail it to her.

My one concern is that poor Ian's thumb was looking pretty sore by the end of the afternoon. He started out with a bowling ball that fit his thumb too tightly, and I think he waited too long to track down a different bowling ball with wider holes. I hope he's not joining me as a member of the "Ouch, my hand hurts" club today. Good thing the Phantoms have the next few days off... we are in dire need of scoring, so we need our forwards not to have sore hands from ill-fitting bowling balls. ;o)

Speaking of scoring... that's absolutely the thing the Phantoms need to work on most. Our goalies both have GAAs under 2.00 (Little: 1.83; Niittymaki: 1.93) and solid Save Pcts as well (Little: 0.930; Niittymaki: 0.921). With numbers like that, there is NO way that this team should be 2-4-1-1 after eight games. The problem is that we also have scored a mere 14 goals in that time span, while giving up 17. We need to figure out how to be as effective at the other end of the ice as we've been in our own.

So, I hope we brought some good luck to our bowling partners, all three of whom are forwards... and I hope Ian's thumb is fine by the time the next game rolls around. If he has the same kind of success shooting the puck as he did with the bowling ball... including several instances where he earned spares by knocking down that one last pin... we'll be in good shape. :o) I hope our players had as nice of a time as I did. I really enjoyed yesterday afternoon.

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