A Very Confusing Time
by Jimmy Garoufalis
Thursday, March 2nd
I got a phone call from Theo
at noon. He had some very important news: I had been traded from Freezer 10 to
TNT in exchange for Wai Jang.
I found myself confused and
unable to understand the latest development in my life.
A few moments later I came
to a realization: I was unable to understand because I was so confused.
I had to speak to someone,
anyone, to figure out how I should feel about the trade.
But everyone has Caller ID. I was out of luck. So I decided to have
a conversation with myself instead.
That didn’t go very
well. I didn’t have the heart to interrupt so I was still incapable of
determining what my approach should be.
At the end of a very emotional
day, I still remained conflicted. Finally I asked myself a simple question: Was I happy with the trade? There were
two possible answers: yes or no. And the answer was obvious: maybe.
Tuesday, March 7th
The first game with my new
team: TNT. I had never seen them play and I had never played against them
so I knew exactly what to expect. Our opponents were The Express.
When I got to the gymnasium
I saw Billy Ponting. Billy told me that we were now teammates. I wasn’t too thrilled. How many self-centered egomaniacs
can fit on one team? I would think that Billy was enough for an entire league
but now it’s me and …...Billy.
I introduced myself to the
rest of the team: Anne Marie, Sylvain, Real, Kate…..no wait…I mean Suze and Sheila, Anne, Ryan, Bryan, Billy and
Before the game I kept hearing the same words over and over again. “Jimmy,
you are the best”, “Jimmy, nobody can score on you” and especially, “Jimmy you are the difference
between us finishing in first place instead of last place”. It’s
always great to hear words like that, even if it was me saying them.
But it was Express captain
Anthony Ricciardi who got my attention. And fast. The game itself was secondary:
understanding the mindset of Tony was much more important.
I had always considered Tony
to be a rather ruthless individualist. The kind of person who, if there was a
parade going from Westmount to Pointe Saint Charles, he’d be walking alone from Pointe Saint Charles to Westmount.
Tony had run me over early in the game, injuring me in the process. Tony’s merciless tactic was merciless.
It was both calculating and very calculated. I wanted to wring Tony’s
neck, but I was afraid he might answer.
I singled out Tony for a
discussion at intermission. I was…we were leading 2-0 and I was playing
an amazing game. I kept hearing the same words over and over again.
“Jimmy they can’t
score on you” and “Jimmy you are so awesome out there” and “Jimmy, the Express should just give up
right now.” And this time I wasn’t talking to myself. It was my personalities talking to me.
But it was all about Tony. Tony had me wondering. He had me guessing. Tony: the university scientist. Tony:
the grand visionary. How could a visionary behave like that?
But Tony wouldn’t budge. He refused to talk to me or even acknowledge me, even though he was standing just
a few feet away. I then came to the conclusion that Tony wasn’t a man of
great vision at all: he just had perfect eyesight.
I started…we started
to struggle and the game was soon tied at 2. Whenever Tony came near the crease
I would wonder: what would he do next? Would he run me over again? Would he apologize?
It wasn’t going to
happen. No matter what would come next, Tony had ruined my evening. But while I knew it was impossible to enjoy myself, I damn sure was going to have a great time.
With a few minutes remaining,
we called a timeout. The game was still tied at 2. During the break I walked over to the referee’s bench. When
I looked up Tony was there. What the hell, I thought. I’ll try to get through to him one more time.
“Tony, is there anything
you don’t like about me?” Would Tony forget to remember to
pretend not to act like he was listening?
Tony heard me. But Tony stayed silent. At least Tony was consistent: he was
unafraid to hesitate. He was very effective at being a very cautious troublemaker.
“I don’t know
what you’re talking about.” Did Tony actually speak to me? Yes he did. But was he serious? He had run me over. He knew exactly what I was talking about. If
I added Tony’s IQ to mine at that very moment I would have dropped a few points.
“You ran me over. You caused me pain.”
“Well Jimmy, if it
makes you feel better, there is no one thing that I don’t like about you.”
Well, I did feel slightly
better. But only slightly. At the very least I had gotten Tony to talk to me. He
seemed to pretend to be contrite for what he had done, which is all anyone could ask for.
From this day forward I don’t think I’ll ever accuse Tony of being innocent ever again.
last few minutes of the game was a blur. I think we lost on a last second goal
but somehow that has been erased from my memory. Much more important things were
accomplished than the mere result of a hockey game