Today is the first day of the "Off Season". Off season, you ask? Yes "Off Season". You see in Murman's world there are only two seasons: the "off season" and "hockey season". With the seventh and decieding game of the Stanley Cup played last night in Carolina the seasons have changed.
You may be curious to know that in my shop there is a sporting frenzy going on about some sort of pastime played with some sort of round sphere and the object of this game to use one's foot to advance this "sphere" in to an opponent's goal. Now where I am from "sports" are played on ice and the sport is hockey.
I take a good deal of good hearted ribbing about my love of hockey especially with my friends in the Engineering and I.T departments. I guess this soccer thing is "their" hockey and OK I guess I can live with that. Why one would watch 90 plus minutes of guys running around after a ball, diving and flopping on the field everytime an opponent looks at them funny, is kinda beyond me. Give me ice, give me a stick and a puck, maybe a few stitches and you have yourself some damn fine entertainment.
Now it might surprise you to know, I used to play soccer, I was a keeper. In fact I played the game so I could stay in shape for hockey. Hell I have even attended a World Cup Final game in 1994 at Foxborrow Mass. I saw Italy beat Spain 2-1 in a packed stadium. Yes it was fun, but it was no Stanley Cup.
The World Cup is different though, it's the biggest sporting spectacle on the planet. And it is a spectacle when you see grown men go down like they have been shot when someone brushes up against them, yet is fit to go once the foul is called. And have you actually seen the "cup" they are playing for? God, give me at least a trophy you can drink out of,,,,
This year as in past years our friends in the Engineering and I.T departments hold a winner take all "World Cup" pool. This year there are 50 people in the contest, all watching every result. There has been a lot of good natured kidding around as our former winner, Milton, who is in every sense of the word a soccer FANATIC, has been struggling with his choices for this year.
We have people in our plant from every corner of the world. Naturally those with Polish backgrounds are not especially happy, yet our Limey Camera Operator and Desk Gal are excited that Britania moves to the next round. Our Italian friends on the third floor have been keeping a low profile as the Azzuri are not playing particularly well, but will likely advance despite themselves. Our former winner Milton, well his hopes have been dashed, but Brazil is moving on and he's happy about that. I too chose a team for this pool, after all the organizers are eager to take the "hockeyman's money". It has made this event at least mildly interesting. I have gone down to our engineering department to see the posted results and trade barbs with the "soccer crowd", it's been kinda fun. My whole goal in this thing was just to finish better than my friend Milton because god knows I will hear about it for the next 4 feakin' years. And I have been holding my own. Seventh, fifth, tenth, but ahead of my "Ice Hockey Hate'n" friend Milton. He had a good laugh when he saw my picks and asked why I would pick Ecuador as one of my teams. "I like the music of the Andes" I said.
I went to check on the results today and as of this writing, MURMAN is winning this pool. Yes that's right, the HOCKEY GUY is leading 49 other soccer heads. Imagine how entertaining it would be if it were played on ICE. If I win this thing I just might buy a trophy, one you can drink out of.