Great trilogy. One of the best reads in a while. Obviously disappointed you didn't get a chance to play at Michigan, but it's good that you're going to stay involved in what you love and become a hockey agent. Best of luck to you in everything you do.
An Existential Journey in Hockey Part 3
"You failed a test, your girl left you, things are hard at home, and you got a ticket on the way to the rink. It doesn't matter. Lace up the skates, put on the gloves, strap on the helmet and walk into a realm where nothing else matters. For the next few hours, your universe is absolutely perfect."
...And if perfection is what you get on the ice, chaos is what occurs off of it. Despite some intense uncertainty, things were going pretty well for me at the time. I calmly assumed that things just had a way of working themselves out and that this situation would be no different.
On the second last game of the season my team had a chance to clinch a favorable playoff spot that would allow us to avoid a first-round matchup with a team that has already put two guys in the NHL. It was basically a must win situation. I specifically remember hating the arena in this particular city. Dressing rooms were small, ice was always terrible, and the parents on the other team were insane. I recall one particularly deranged mom yelling over the boards at the ref that I was "on the juice and should be banned" after I laid one of my better body checks against their team.
Winning 4-3 late in the third period, I was back-checking as hard as I could to catch a player on a breakaway. When his shot hit the post and lay in the crease, I stretched out and dove to clear the puck. A dog-pile ensued. After the whistle blew, I got up on one knee and stared into space for a moment. Something wasn't right. Why does it feel like I have no right arm? Then came the pain, followed by my trainer (an MD).
"My arm isn't in it's socket or something"
(Takes off my equipment, feels around the shoulder area)
"Ahh shit, looks like you dislocated your shoulder"
"Well put it back in and give me my stuff, the game isn't done."
"Don't think so pal, you might have torn some things in there."
I had never had a major injury before, I assumed this was nothing and that I would be back in a few days. Speaking to the orthopedic surgeon the next day, I was informed that my season was definitely done and that the best course of action would be to have the surgery ASAP, otherwise it would most likely continue happening.
Anyone who follows the NFL draft knows that the word "surgery" really means "stay away from this prospect". And news travels fast. The phone calls definitely slowed down, but they still came. Dale Hunter called and once again we had a pleasant conversation. This time he told me that he'd love to take me with his 4th round pick but that I probably wouldn't last that far.
I think there comes a point in every athlete's life when they realize that they are not invincible. For some, it could be when going from high school to college and realizing that athletic ability alone won't cut it anymore. For the really good ones, the ones who truly are elite, it might come with old age when they begin to see that they won't stay great forever. My career was far from over, but I never took my talent for granted again after that injury.
The show must go on.
I had the surgery done pretty quickly and all I could do was wait to see what happened. Central Scouting released their final rankings a few weeks before draft day. My final rankings were as follows:
Pre-season - A (rounds 3-6)
Mid-season - AA (rounds 1-2)
Final - B (rounds 6-9)
In the days leading up to the draft, my local newspaper does a rundown of the local prospects with a chance at being drafted and has an anonymous OHL scout give comments about each. Since it is still sitting on my mom's fridge, here is what mine said:
"An interesting case. Has top 40 talent but missed the most important parts of the season with serious injury. Likely won't fall too far, but teams will be concerned about a 15 year-old with major surgery on his resume.
Big, strong, forward was unquestioned leader of his team that had trouble winning without him. Developed a nasty side to his game this year. Willing to get dirty in the corners and in front of the net but possesses surprisingly good scoring and playmaking ability. Needs to develop a quicker first step and learn to stay low."
The OHL draft used to be exactly like the NHL. It was held at an arena with a podium so that the GM's could announce the picks and give a jersey to their selections. My draft was either the first or second one to be held on the internet. Watching heartbroken, future-millionaires plummet at the NFL draft in New York is hard enough. Try watching 15 year olds who believe they are about to get a jersey not get their names called at all. Alot of crying went on at those drafts. Remember that 600 kids are given a letter grade and deemed eligible for a draft that contains only 300 slots.
I'm quite certain that I didn't sleep the night before the draft. Unless you are a definite top 10 pick, nobody has any clue where they will get drafted. I watched the entire draft because it was interesting, but I started to look for my name once the 2nd round started. When you get drafted, it consists of you sitting in front of a laptap pressing F5 every 10 seconds for several hours. When my name didn't come up with the first pick of the second round, I began to fear that I wasn't going to get drafted at all. The headlines would read "Guinness confirms biggest draft plummet in sports history--local has-been to become hobo"
Then my name came up and my heart stopped beating for what seemed like a minute. My mom cried. I won't say exactly where I got drafted but I went well ahead of my final projection. It may not mean that much, but at 15 years old getting selected in a draft that some people in some places actually care about is an amazing feeling. I jumped around for a while and then spoke on the phone to the GM who called right after the pick. After our conversation, I forgot who I had just spoken to and which team had drafted me.
Rehab was going well and decision time was looming. I was hearing that Michigan had become interested in me because a few of their prospects who were older than me had declared their intentions to play in the OHL. But getting drafted is a circus. Everywhere around town I was getting congratulated. My friends had a party to celebrate my getting drafted. Girls started treating me differently at school. I think they thought I had somehow become rich or something, not realizing that OHL players make $55 a week.
If you're undecided, OHL training camp is where you make your decision. As I understood it, once you spend over 48 hours with an OHL team, the NCAA considers you a professional athlete with no college eligibility. So i went to camp, still about a month away from being able to play full contact.
I sat down with the GM, who knew that I was considering college. He basically explained to me the benefits of the CHL, the education packages, and the unique experience of being a young local celebrity. He was very polite about it, but told me that if I was signing, he wanted it done within 2 weeks.
"Two weeks is plenty of time to evaluate your options. I have to know these things so I can plan for my season. There are other kids we drafted who would love nothing better than for you not to sign so that they can have your spot."
He gave me a contract and I took it home. On this contract, I was given the second best educational package available (1st rounders get the best) which consisted of 4 years of 75% tuition paid for. It was also a 2-way contract, meaning I was basically signing with two teams: the OHL team, and their junior B affiliate. This meant that I might play the year in junior B, or they would send me down if I wasn't performing.
So i went home and thought. I thought all day, I thought all night. I had no appetite, and I don't think I spoke to anyone besides my mom the entire time. I was waking up almost every night in a cold sweat. I was so afraid of making the wrong choice. Why should I sign there? If they are going to keep me in Junior B then I might as well just play tier 2 Junior A in Toronto and wait for a scholarship. Then the phone rang, it was the GM.
"Have you thought about it?"
"Yes, I'm still not sure"
"How's this sound? A one-way contract (guaranteed spot on the team) and a 1st round educational package (100% tuition)."
"I'll call you back tomorrow"
What if I wait for a scholarship and then Michigan doesn't even want me? What if Michigan offers me a scholarship and then I dislocate my shoulder even worse next season, ending my career and eliminating my non-binding commitment? It isn't worth it.
So I signed. I signed because I was terrified. Because I couldn't take anymore agonizing, sleepness nights. I signed because the attention I was getting from the OHL and the local fans and my peers was like a drug. I signed because it was the easiest thing to do. And honestly...
It felt great.
I was late getting this done and that is because I had no idea where to end the story. I realize that some of you will not be pleased with this ending but I really can't go much further. The original purpose was to give you guys insight into college hockey recruiting as it relates to the CHL and I think I have done that. Furthermore, anything past that point would have had nothing at all to do with Michigan and would be pretty self-serving on my part.
If you guys have any questions, I'll answer them below. Just remember, I'm not giving up my identity. To answer your first few questions: No, I don't play in the NHL. I am in law school and am a hockey agent in training. Thanks for reading guys. This was a bit rushed because I have somewhere to be but I wanted to have it done by tonight. I'll be back later to correct any of my spelling/grammar mistakes and answer your questions.
in retrospect, do you wish you waited it out for michigan or another college or were you happy with the OHL route?
what do you think you would have done if Michigan offered?
(p.s. - Great narrative. You did a great job of conveying the uncertainty, anxiety, anticipation, and excitement that 15-year olds go through.)
Ultimately, you're looking at two situations where the experiences can't be duplicated. I chose one and never looked back. Playing in the O were amazing years. My best friends today were my teammates. So I'm happy with my decision. My first year in the O was the most terrifying/shocking/exhilarating experience of my life. I got pretty homesick and you just kind of cling to your teammates, it's a lifelong bond so I wouldn't be able to give that up.
Also, Michigan wasn't allowed to offer me until I was a junior but I had to make my decision as a sophomore without knowing if they wanted me. If they were allowed to offer sophomores, I'd have been a senior on the team this past season, I would have committed immediately.
Thanks for the narrative. It gives some insight into the process and the apparent disadvantage of ncaa teams in the competition for recruits. I find it interesting that you are planning to become a hockey agent and I wonder at what point kids tend to sign with an agent. I wouldn't mind a part four and five if you're up for it. Also, did you go blue for college or law school?
Some top kids have agents when they're 14-15. Most 16 year old O players have agents to help them with contracts. They don't charge anything with the understanding that they will represent them if they make the NHL.
An OHL education package only covers Canadian schools so I did my undergrad in Canada. I now to to law school in the USA but I don't go to Michigan unfortunately.
How come your local newspaper doesn't keep an online (searchable) archive of OHL prospects?
My hometown newspaper isn't exactly the New York Times, they are more concerned with the 3rd grade science experiments at the local grade school.
Okay, forget the whole 'tell me about your life' stuff...
Let's hear your "best goal ever" story. And don't even try to tell me you don't have one. We all do.
Thanks again for putting yourself out there to inform/entertain us.
Easy, my first ever playoff goal. I wasn't getting alot of if time and was a bit down on myself in the playoffs. Someone on my team got hurt and so I got a few shifts in the 3rd period. We were down 3-2 at home late in the third. The other team was pressing us hard, we couldn't get it out. I saw the defenseman pinch too soon and knew my teammate would get there first. So I took off down the ice and my d-man flipped it high over the ice and by some miracle it landed right on the tape. Goalie came out way too far on me so I faked the shot and dragged it backhand and put it top shelf. I was going so fast I ran into the boards and fell down, then my teammates piled on me and the crowd was going insane. We won the game in overtime and I got a lot more icetime after that. I was on cloud nine, named 3rd star, and couldn't wait to call everyone right after the game.
I scored more than my fair share of goals, although I'm sure I couldn't hold a candle to you. But for every breakaway, every beautiful give-n-go, every one-timer, or even the extra one-handed flip to the backhand goal (you know the one that ridicules any goaltender you pull it off on), they all pale to one in particular.
Playoff game, against a team we shouldn't have beaten. Early in the third, we're down by 2 and morale on the bench is just gone. We'd all but given up. They'd been killin' us on the backcheck, so before the shift we dedicated ourselves to just get it out to the D for the long shots. So we're out there, and I'm on the LW... eventually we do get the puck back to the right D, and my center's on the boards low, so I just drive to the net and set up the biggest screen I could despite butt ends under my ribs and a nasty crosscheck from the two opposing players I was wearing at the time.
Well, long story short, Derek gets his shot off, and he's got a good, heavy slapshot. The puck's comin' in low and fast, stick side low. Instinctively I drifted back in perfect timing with the puck's arrival and pulled the deflection off my tape, through my legs, and through the five. I always enjoyed practicing tip-ins during the warm-up shoots, but by my own admission was never overly great at 'em. But that might be the most memorable goal I ever scored. The goalie was FURIOUS, hehe. The whole thing lasted about half a second and the defenseman kept rattlin' me for about another three before he realized what happened.
The bench goes nuts, they start playing tight, and it just became one of those games where with every passing shift you were just sure we'd pull it out. And we did, all because of the huge momentum turn of that deflection. I'll never forget it.
The backhand flip dosen't always work. My favorite save wasn't even a save. Kid had a penalty shot on me after I owned him on a breakaway a few minutes earlier. He came in and tried to go to the backhand and I poke-checked him, hard. Puck cleared the zone, and he hit the boards behind the net. It was one of those breakaways where going in I knew I would stop him, he knew I would stop him, it was just a question of how.
Anyway, same kid gets a penalty shot (covered puck in the crease) and he just has fear in his eyes on the way down the ice. I flinch my blocker about 4 inches up the stick, a fake poke. He panics and loses the puck off his stick. On a penalty shot!!! it goes into the corner, penalty shot over.
I could do nothing but smile
I was talkin' about the ol' forehand-backhand-forehand-backhand, break left, over to forehand, goalie comes down hard on the left, then while still skating to the left stickhandle back to backhand and around the goalie's ass before chipping it in using only the right hand up on the butt end. I'm not saying you've ever let one up, but depending on the goalie it works, and usually humiliates him when it does.
Here's the 2010 EA version, essentially.
I'm pretty sure that's what Kessel used on me when he had a penalty shot. Got Burned bad. I've also pokechecked the shit out of people when they try it, just have to time it right
Sounds like a sick goal. Any move can work, it all depends on how it's executed. Some moves aren't even really moves and just involve very subtle gestures like moving your eyes to trick the goalie.
at least for me personally, whenever I had a breakaway or was in a shootout and/or was coming down with a little time to think of 'what to do,' I'd either get too creative and flub it by doing too much, or just plain old brain fart and then have to just shoot, usually with the puck out way too far in front of me.
As I got older, and as I played less, I put together a cycle of three or four separate moves and stuck with them depending on the situation. Former Hershey Bear legend Mitch Lamoreux once gave me some great advice-- stickhandling, dekeing, all that stuff is meant to pull the goalie out of position. But if he's already out, just shoot the thing. As I got older I paid much better attention to the net the goalie gave me, and just used the quick wrister without so much shake n bake.
Good stuff, talkin' hockey with the Canadian contingent here at MGoBlog. Thanks again
I've enjoyed reading your story.
This sounds like home.
Excellent read. I was eagerly anticipating the third installment all day today.
This might be prying too much, but did your unfortunate shoulder injury become an impediment in your OHL career? I admittedly get peeved when a UM athlete leaves early for the pros, but your story reminds me of how quickly an athlete's career trajectory can change due to an injury.
Also, congrats on never losing your academic focus. It will serve you well. I sincerely hope you become the hockey equivalent of Rob Pelinka.
My shoulder is the reason I chose to just stop playing hockey and go to school. I've injured it 4 times, 2 surgeries. I could have signed a professional contract, but once you do that it voids your scholarship package. So I chose to stop and just take my school money.
It's $55 a week and it's been that way since the 70's. That $55 gets taxed too. Complete bullshit. On my team, the overagers got extra money out of respect, like $1500 a month, but it's technically not allowed. Also, our coaches gave us playoff bonuses, which aren't allowed either (about $400 a month). They did it because we constantly complained about having no money, which was true. It got ridiculous, you can't live a normal teenage life with $40 a week, which was what we got after taxes.
Played in the O myself, our playoff bonus was a $1000 bill (actual $1000 bill, not made up of $100's) , a new suit and a trip to the Bahamas. We won the Ontario championship and had a hell of a time in the Bahamas. Great diary.
Great stories, all three of them. I've been looking forward to this part for two days. It's amazing that you are only a year or two older than I am, and you've had to make huge, life-changing decisions, while my biggest decisions have been mostly about what to eat for lunch.
I had a few questions, and it would be great if you could answer any or all of them:
I read about how it was your cousin that turned you on to Michigan. Is that how most Canadian kids end up in the NCAA, through some kind of personal connection, or do the college teams make some kind of effort to get their names out there?
Did playing in the OHL change your perceptions of them as uneducated jerks?
And since you write so well, can you describe what the OHL teams mean to their towns? I've been through Ontario many times, and I know that most of the cities represented are (relatively) tiny. I imagine they have Texas high school football-level fanaticism, for their teams.
I don't think it's always through a personal connection, it's usually because of parents. Some parents want their kids to go to college 100%. However, it's very rare that a top Ontario player turns down the OHL to go to college. The 2 years is too long to wait.
Playing in the OHL did change my perception of it as a league of uneducated jerks. But I can assure you, there's plenty of them in the league. I became best friends with a few guys who are plenty smart and were just too good at hockey to worry about school.
The smaller the town, the better the fans. There is definitely some amazing fanbases in the O. The OHL is basically a mini-NHL. The arenas are designed that way and that's basically the lifestyle. It's living the NHL lifestyle without the money. Frankly, that's what made it so great.
From the clues you give out...
-would have graduated this year from M. So you are a 1989 DOB (like fellow Ontarian Louie Caporusso) and played with other 89's like Doughty, Gagner, Couture.
Lots of names from the 2005 OHL draft round 2 and beyond for a big power forward.
Figured you played in a small market like Owen Sound or went far away to a place like Sudbury.
Guess I'm getting no where.
My fundamental flaw turned out to be assuming you ended up playing for us, meaing I never had any chance and guessing your identity in the first place.
Sorry you didn't get to play at Michigan, but it sounds like you made the best decision available to you and it all worked ou for you in the end. After all, you played in the OHL and enjoyed your time doing it; its not like you went to Ohio State or something.
Still glad to have you in the MGoCommunity, and thanks for the story. I now hate the NCAA's dumb rules more than ever.
Really good read and a great example of why this blog is the best out there. You just don't see real, heart-felt stuff like this anywhere else. Diarist of the Week for sure.
Great life experiences that give you a competitive advantage in the game of life. Thank you for sharing!
I think you are getting the better of the deal; being an agent is a lot better than playing. When I think of the 80's MIchigan teams that had Larkin, Sabo, Abbott, Brock, Kamienicki, and "borrowed" football players Mike Gillette and Michael Taylor, it's Close who possibly had the best career in major league baseball, without ever getting past AAA ball.
My opinion could change if Barry Larkin gets elected to the Hall of Fame this year, but Close is still making great money being around the game he loves.
As for hockey, the best thing about being an agent instead of a player, at least from my observation, is that agents are far less likely to sustain multiple concussions than players are. Also, an athlete losing all of his money and being broke five years after his career is over happens so often now that it is almost a cliche. How many agents have you heard of that happening to? I haven't heard of it happening to any. You will soon have it better than many of the guys who "made it."
If you decide to get surgery, go all the way. Don't get a scope, get open surgery, it has the highest rate of success. Also, when you're doing rehab just do it 100%. sounds easy enough but I see so many people that half-ass rehab. Do what your doctor or physiotherapist tells you to do and do it fully.
Other than that there isn't much to say. Shoulder injuries suck. Good luck with it.
I'll second that statement. I have rotator cuff issues in both shoulders. One from a snowboarding incident and the other from a broken collar bone. I did my rehab, no surgery, and even took a cortisone shot in one shoulder. I still have issues, to this day. Surgery was an option but my orthopedist was pretty clear; surgery is going to require 6-9 months of rehab and you won't feel "normal" for about one year. That's a long time and I believe that's why people half-ass their rehab (as noted above).
Thanks for sharing your story Jim. You did an awesome job. I hope your shoulder is functional and remains so. There's nothing worse than getting older and having old sports injuries that limit your life.
Since you're planning to be an agent, what can you offer your clients that other agents cannot? How will your OHL experiences play into what you offer?
Best of luck in law school and your future career.
What I can offer is that I actually care about my clients. When I was in junior, most of my buddies weren't happy with their agents because they just didn't care about them. They'd make up stories about how they were too busy to talk or whatever, and meanwhile they would be having 45 minute conversations with another player on our team every single night because he was a higher rated NHL prospect. Some of these guys have 15-20 NHL clients and then 50 CHL clients. My philosophy will be to keep a short client list and treat them all like family. I already have 5 clients that I share with an established agent with the understanding that they become my clients when I graduate. All are in the AHL but a few got up to the big leagues this year. They like me because they know I'm honest with them and will check in several times weekly to see if they need anything.
I'm intrigued since a lot of the OHL horror stories I read are about GMs / coaches who basically treat their kids like pros and force school to be missed, etc. Were there grade standards you had to keep to keep your education package or were you guaranteed to keep passsing grades as long as you scored enough goals? I'm interested b/c my cousin is getting to the age and skill level where he's being looked at by OHL teams and US NTDP and such. Luckily his parents are well to do and both Michigan alums (he's also a really good golfer--3 handicap-- so there's a schollie chance for him in that as well), but he really digs hockey and has the genetics in his favor to be a potential pro athlete.
but I thikn things in the OHL were the same in that the education package was guaranteed so long as you were in a position to use it (obviously if you didn't graduate HS you couldn't use it). At least in my case, there weren't stipulations attached as far as grades or how many points I had etc. It could be different in the O (or even in the Q now, as my first season in the Q was almost 20 years ago now).
I had to keep a B- average to tap into my scholarship. Also, you have start going to school within 2 years of your last OHL game, and you get one year of tuition for every season you played in the OHL. The package is void once you sign any kind of professional contract regardless of what league it is. I'm pretty sure all players get a 100% package now, but at the time only the elite players got those, and you had to negotiate for it.
and it goes into a big reason why Canada has SO MANY more legit hockey prospects than the US. At 15 I was a freshman in High School, playing Bantam AA in Chicago, worrying about hockey, high school drama, grades, and that's about it. It was always a definite that I'd go to college (graduated Michigan in 09) and my dad still gets on me about grad school. I just can't imagine the pressure on a 15 year old to decide their future. I had a hard enough time picking a college at 18, I can't imagine doing something similar at 15.
I really enjoyed the read, and I'm really happy that you're happy with your decision, enjoyed your time in the OHL, and are moving towards being a Hockey Agent. How often do you skate now?
Most of us read a ton of sports writing (fiction and non-fiction). I'm no expert on publishing or anything, but Mr. Lahey, this has the makings of a decent book. Seriously, I just finished George Dahlman's, "Played Their Hearts Out", which is about 12 yr old kids playing basketball on the AAU circuit. The book is getting all sorts of great reviews. The dude is a Pulitzer prize winning author. Your three installments gave me the same sort of "can't put this book down" feeling. This is the hockey equivalent of "Played Their Hearts Out".
I'm so glad that I kept an eye on Bubbles and Julien for you so you could write these great chapters.
Best reads since the chronicles of CREX.
I enjoyed reading these stories because it shows a side of sports that we don't often get to see. I just have one question though. How is your getting $55/week from the OHL different than Drew Henson getting however many millions he got from the Yankees as a signing bonus? And I don't think Drew Henson was an exception.
The NCAA has rules in place that simply don't make sense. I can't believe they would consider someone who makes $55 a week a professional. That isn't even a salary, it's intended so that you have money to get food when you're out of town on a roadtrip. After taxes, you barely have money to take a girl to the movies or things like that.
I guess I don't understand the rules either. Drew Henson was the person I thought of and he was able to play football despite getting a signing bonus like that. I remember the player on Colorado that either had to give up Olympic skiing or football because of the endorsements for skiing. It seems crazy.
Actually, the NCAA considers CHL players professionals not because of their stipends, but because there are NHL players on the teams. The NCAA has the concept of "tainting," whereby if a team has a professional player, every player with a contract on that team is considered a professional.
Since CHL teams have players who have signed professional contracts with their NHL teams, and (I think) in some cases received signing bonuses and even played up to 5 games in the NHL, then every CHL player is considered a professional by association.
Whether it makes sense or not, it's not the stipend that causes the NCAA to consider a CHL player a professional.
So how is that different from Drew Henson's signing bonus?
If it's a different sport and it doesn't include personal endorsements, it's ok for whatever reason.
If he had received a signing bonus in football, he would have been ineligible in NCAA football. Since he received a signing bonus in baseball, he was ineligible for NCAA baseball.
Adam Abraham, a third baseman for Michigan's baseball team, was a former OHL defenseman. He could not play hockey at Michigan because he was considered a professional, but he could play baseball.
I didn't realize that, thanks for the info. It still defies all logic though.
That was worth the read. It's good to get some insight into what a top prospect in any sport might be thinking. I was stressed with the whole college search process by itself and didn't have the added weight of an athletic career to consider.
Not to get into specific situations but could you give some insight into your feelings of kids from the US going to Canada for Juniors. Especially with the AAA and NDPT teams in Southeast michigan attracting talent from all over the US, what is it like for a kid going to Canada. Is there still the stereotypical "this is our game" attitude towards American born players? How is it living with a billet family, etc.?
Thanks for this trilogy, it was really insightful and well written, wish you all the best in your professional clients.
I think the Americans that come over do it for the same reason most kids go to the CHL...because they think it gives them the best chance to go pro and they can't wait two years to play at a high level. As for stereotypes, I have had nothing but good experiences with American teammates, but there is a bit of a reputation for some of them being a bit arrogant and rude, but I haven't experienced that. It seems like every American kid who goes to the OHL comes from money. I don't know why that is, but they all look like J Crew catalogues and seem to be loaded. I had 4 Americans on my team and they all had their own brand new cars and seemed to have tons of spending money. My friends on other teams all said the same.
Living with a billet family is good, they become your second family. Sometimes kids get unlucky, but all you have to do is tell your coaches you aren't happy where you're living and they'll try to figure something else out for you. My billet parents were great, they set me up with an amazing room that had video games and a nice tv. Let me have my friends over to hang out, use their cars, picked me up when I was drunk. And I lived with two little kids that would always leave notes on my door after games telling me how well I played. I still talk to them all the time.
Nothing to add or ask, but wanted to say this was fantastic! You write well too!
I am glad I took the time to read your work. It was very entertaining and insightful. Thanks .
My sister hosts 3 or 4 boys who play for the Flint Warriors of the NAHL (I think that the league). They live with her for the season and the league pays her something to help cover the cost of food. I think the most amazing aspect of your story is how these boys are thrown into the fire and expected to make adult decisions at such a young age. They certainly don't baby those boys. I respect that as a coach and former athlete.