Well there’s something that we don’t do each and every season! The Austin Blades gets something of post-season activity on the ice.
We returned to Houston for the first time in a very long time. It was so exciting that the number of people who attended were ready to go about a week before.
Houston set us up very nicely at the Hilton Garden Inn in northwest Houston which was conveniently located to the rink that we played at on Friday evening.
We would have three days of hockey at three separate locations. We were just a bunch of traveling idiots, doing what we really love to do.
Our first night was at Willowbrook Aerodome. A place that the Austin Blades had never played before, and its our understanding that Houston now is practicing there every Friday evening for an hour. Getting a FULL sheet of ice.
As shocked as we were, it was very apparent that Houston has been getting better and better. They definitely are a lot faster now!
Some say that the score at the end of the evening was tied at zero. Others say it was 1-0 with Austin winning. Depending on how much of a hardnosed person you are about the rules. The puck crossed the line, but it didn’t completely pass over. So if you say that it counts, it was 1-0. And if you say that it must completely pass over, it was tied at zero.
I was glad to see WELL OF SOULS guitarist, O.J. Morris, had been there later in the evening to come check things out. I’m not quite sure what he thought about it, but at least he was there.
I had actually invited about twenty different people from the Houston and surrounding areas to ice rinks that were conveniently close to their area. The idea of using the reciprocation card however would just end up burning me to the point of being butthurt. Wanna see the bruise??
Three days, three rinks around the city of Houston, many invited. ONE showed up.
Saturday morning, we joined Houston at their usual time at Memorial City Mall for a half sheet of ice. We actually did a bit of scrimmaging and just took it to another level with Houston.
And if you recall or have recently read the blog post about the “mystery woman” from the mall, yes– I did think about her. I did think about seeking her out afterwards. But I didn’t in the end. I don’t even think that the kids train was even running by the time we got off the ice.
Saturday evening we ALL got into one vehicle and sent our butts into downtown Houston for a baseball game that was offered to us from the Houston team.
My first time at Minute Maid Park. My second MLB game ever in my life. Can you say $12 for a shot glass? Ridiculous.
I’m not much of a baseball fan at all. But it was something that I got to experience.
The Houston Astros took on the Texas Rangers. And what seemed so funky and out of place was the fact that there were more people in Houston cheering on the Rangers than the Astros.
The Astros tied it at 1-1. Then hit a home run, gaining the lead at 3-1. But then the Rangers just kept at it until the point where the score was 8-3 in favor of the Rangers.
I noticed that by the middle of the fifth inning which is basically the half way point, all of that had been played in just 75 minutes. Half of the game had blown by. It was weird. But you know what? From the bottom of the fifth until the end of the game took more than two hours to complete. Total game time was 3 hours, 22 minutes. Crazy how that works. Total attendance was 27,188. Probably the largest crowd that I had been in ever in my entire life.
The Astros would make one hell of an effort for a come back at the end of the game but fell short and lost 8-7.
After another short night of almost no sleep. Friday night we had someone in the hotel room with us and couldn’t get them to shut up or take it upon themselves to note the time was late and take off. Saturday night was another late night because the guy that I shared the room with and I got caught up watching an old episode of Cold Case on cable.
Sunday morning we went all the way over to Sugar Land to play. Probably THE COLDEST ice rink that I have ever played on. And we were going to be there on the ice for almost two hours.
After getting up super early Sunday morning to get gasoline, travel, show up, get ready, blah blah blah …. it was so draining on energy.
When everyone showed up, we paired off, Austin vs. Houston. But one of our guys decided for whatever excuse to wear an all black jersey. So in order to keep it white jerseys (Austin) versus colored jerseys (Houston), there was a trade off.
The Austin Blades would regret this switching around of players later on.
That would end up being a 3-0 victory for Houston. And something that they are able to hang on to for a while, knowing that they beat us fair and square. Or was it?
We traded players. The Austin player who was playing for Houston scored twice. The Houston player who played for Austin has tremendous speed.
Even if you take away the fact that OUR guy scored twice, there was still that one goal scored by the mother of the Houston goalie. It was really neat to see the entire family out on the ice. Mother, father, brother. The goalie for Houston is actually pretty damned good! He’s on the USA Developmental team. In training and conditioning to be able to play for Team USA, and he’s not even out of high school yet. He graduates this month.
But his mother scored a goal. When that happened a full chorus of voices started chanting “Happy Mother’s Day!” to her over and over again. She had previously warned everyone NOT to beat her up on the ice because of the fact that it was Mother’s Day. But once she scored? Yeah… all bets were off. But nobody could get to her.
It was a lot of fun needless to say. Still working on the butthurt, but I will get over it. Plus the obvious aches and pains of playing that much in that many days.
We are all excited to get back together again and play some more. Even the Houston team said that they wanted to do it again.
But it might be August or early September before we are able to.
I’m thinking about maybe talking with Houston and seeing if they would like to put together an annual meeting between the two teams, and the winner will take back home a trophy or something. And quite possibly, Houston could for once travel here to play once in a while.