It was only a matter of time. In my August 30 post I regaled loyal readers with accounts and descriptions of the feverish fun generated in the 2018 Cape Breton summer season once table hockey took over as the cabin's prime entertainment mode. Faithful readers will recall that I crowed about the success I have enjoyed as a player lo these many years. But having played a few games with my unconscionably competitive cousins Lynn and Louise, I also predicted that my long-standing unbeaten record stood on thin ice.
Perhaps an update is in order. The cabin's 'sunroom', normally the scene of Bananagrams bloodbaths in which Lynn demolishes all challengers was transformed into a kind of hockey rink. The twins—Lynn and her 40-minute-younger doppelganger—decided that table hockey promised an arena-full of far better fun: Bananagrams was cast aside like last week's wilted lettuce.
I acquired my first table hockey game, oh, about a hundred thousand years ago. I managed to get neighbourhood friends to play but they never brought the sort of intensity I felt the game warranted and deserved. I was the only brother in a family of four and though two of my sisters are, like Lynn and Louise, identical twins, none of my sisters delivered the sort of frenzy that truly exhibits what a terrific game table hockey is. Starved at home for worthy competition, I decided it was just not in the nature of girls to want to destroy a table hockey foe. It turned out I was wrong, but it took decades for my error to be revealed.
Lynn and Louise are monozygotes of an entirely different stripe. They took to the game like a murder of crows to freshly cast-out bread crusts. We decided the way to make the most of table hockey was to organize an honest-to-goodness tournament, complete with a round-robin component followed by a playoff round culminating in a 'gold medal' game. So that's what happened. In each game the first player to three goals wins. Over the course of the last three weeks six tournaments unfolded. In most of the first five—some involving three players, some with four—I lost a single round-robin game before bearing down in the playoffs. I qualified for the gold-medal game in all five tournaments and—fortune favouring the bold—managed to bully my way to the gold medal in every one.
Perhaps it is not strange that in every single game I played those who stood and watched invariably cheered for my opponent. Any goal scored against me delivered unrestrained joy and euphoria not just on the part of the scorer but from everyone watching. I began to feel distinctly unloved.
Last Thursday evening, my third last of the 2018 Cape Breton season, delivered Tournament Number 6. This one was a four-way contest, pal Kevin Squires taking the fourth spot. That Kevin has table-hockey experience was immediately obvious in our round-robin game but because he had not played in years I was confident that I would prevail in our opening game. My confidence was entirely misplaced: Kevin won, 3-2. The round-robin results determined seeding for the playoffs. The second and third seeds—Kevin and Lynn—squared off first. Lynn won. I exulted in a 3-0 shutout of Louise in the 1-4 matchup. Beware exultation. Fiercely competitive, the final game between Lynn and myself went on and on and on. Eventually the score stood 2-2. Then disaster. Lynn's right defenseman beat my goaltender cleanly on a vicious shot from behind her blue line. The game was over, the gold medal Lynn's. I managed not to cry.
Defeat was bad enough but what's worse is that redemption—or possible redemption—is a long way off. I have a wealth of time to lick my wounds: I will have to wait 'til next year to seek vengeance in another table-hockey slugfest. Until then Lynn can boast—and she most certainly will—that she is the defending gold-medal winner in the famed, ferociously antagonistic Bigadore table-hockey league.