I got the color copy of Neil's interview in The Hockey News to him this afternoon. He definitely had NOT seen it yet, judging by the way he immediately took it out of the envelope and read it straight through. :o) Eric Meloche was sitting next to him, and proceeded to lean over to read it, too. When Neil was done reading, he got my attention and said, "Thank you, Donna". :o) Things like this are why I think so highly of him -- even after being, arguably, the most popular guy EVER to be on this team, he doesn't take even small gestures of appreciation from fans for granted.
After assisting with handing out the Secret Phan questionnaires to the players (which ask information such as their favorite snack, favorite colors, what size they wear, stores they like to shop in, etc), and helping to collect them once they were filled out, I went back to our lane to wait for our players to arrive. The guys choose a lane number from a hat, then head over to said lane. The players at Mark's and my lane were Randy Jones, our second-year defenseman, and our captain, Boyd Kane.
I was in no shape to bowl, given how much trouble my hand has given me this week. The last time I tried to bowl with my hand like this, two years ago, I kept dropping the bowling ball. Talk about mortifying! I had no grip strength and I just couldn't hang onto the )$@#$# ball long enough when I tried to throw it. I had no desire to have another day like THAT today, so I didn't bowl. But Mark, Randy, and Boyd all did. Incidentally, Boyd's right-handed, so he was able to bowl, but his LEFT hand is in a cast most of the way up to the elbow... and with his ring and pinky fingers included. I've never seen a cast that extends onto any of the FINGERS before. I'm darned if I know which bone(s) would have to be injured in one's hand to require a cast that looks like this. But whatever the injury to his left hand is, his RIGHT hand's just fine and DANG can he ever bowl. I think my favorite shot of the whole day was when he was trying to get the far-right-hand-side pin for a spare. He threw a ball that went into the gutter a moment before it reached the pin, but had such spin on it that it ricocheted OUT of the gutter and up far enough to knock the pin down anyway. Now THAT's what I call a spare! :o)
Actually, both Boyd and Randy have an enviable knack for hitting ONE pin, when that's all that's left standing. I can't imagine it... I consider myself lucky to hit one pin when I have all TEN of them standing there to choose from, let alone when there's just one upright pin remaining. Both of them got plenty of strikes and spares... that hand-eye coordination they've developed for hockey apparently serves them well in other sports, too. :o)
Karla and Al, meanwhile, were at the next lane over from us and they were bowling with John Slaney and Wade Skolney. At the lane on the other side of us, the players were Todd Fedoruk and Joey Hope. The Secret Phan committee had to get a little bit creative when Todd arrived... fortunately, we had a few extra folders and copies of the questionnaire on hand, because we had to get something together on the fly for him to fill out. We didn't know for sure if he was going to come or not, because there've been conflicting reports in the local papers as to whether he'd signed an AHL deal with the Phantoms or not.
My concern for Todd, now that it's clear he is joining the team (otherwise, why would he have come today?), is that it might create an awkward situation for him among his Flyers teammates who remain locked out. I personally don't see how it's any different for him to sign an AHL deal as opposed to the guys who signed overseas in order to keep playing. The man wants to play. I don't blame him one iota. If it was up to HIM and the players like him, there wouldn't BE this stupid stalemate in the CBA negotiations. I hope the other Flyers, the ones who are not signed in other leagues but are practicing in this area, don't give Todd a hard time for finding a way to get back onto the ice in real game situations.
Overall, it was a nice afternoon, and to top it off, I didn't have anywhere near the major fatigue I experienced yesterday (my first day on this new blood pressure med). I hope that means I'm making a quick adjustment to it, because I really don't want to be in drowsy mode when I'm at work. (Nor do I want to feel fatigued while I'm driving, for obvious reasons.)
Tomorrow night's the next of the every-other-Monday gatherings in the Deptford Mall food court, where sign language and interpreting students meet up with members of the local Deaf community and chat. Jean and Joe want to go, and they left a message for me asking if I'd like to go, too. I do want to. I haven't been there since the end of the summer, and I'd like to go again.