Dancing On Thin Ice

So here’s the story, really, of the whole season. Robbie Earl gets clocked, like into next week, and the announcers go all somber, all, “he’s not getting up,” and he’s in that prayer pose on the ice, looking like he’s trying to remember his sexual orientation and who his mother is, that’s how hard Boston College checked his tired Badger ass. Fifteen thousand red-and-white lunatics holding their breath in the stands, because if Earl goes down, he of the dancing skates and that swoop into the zone like a great big stickhandling bird, then we’re over, then we’re well and truly fucked.

And then he gets up. And makes like he’s about to skate back to the bench, because when your head’s ringing and you’ve been kissing the rink, you just want to sit, right? He was going back to the bench, to try to clear his head and remember what team he played for, while the trainers worked on whatever was left of his left knee and hip.

You could practically see the wheel turn, the moment when he got halfway off the ice, said, ah, fuck it, spun around, and caught just enough of a Joe Pavelski shot-in-hell across the crease, not a lot, just enough to send it hopping and skipping into Boston College’s goal and himself sliding in after it, hurt and confused and an arm raised so high in triumph he smacked it on the pipe.

That’s this team, this season, this game. You might not be faster and you might not be stronger and you might not be bigger but by God you have this, that when they hit you, you get back up.

UW 2, Boston College 1.

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