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Old
09-18-2007, 03:33 PM
  #1
Hank19
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I suck

So I've been playing in a mens 21+ league for about 3 seasons now. Every player gets ranked from 1 to 4 (1 being the best, 4 the worst) and the 6 teams are redrafted each year.
I would say the average calibre of player in this league is a lifetime travel player. Some of the better players have played minor-pro with even a couple of NHLers (from the 70's).
There's maybe 10-15 players who rated as 4's, like me. Guys that never played a lot of hockey growing up.

So anyway, I'm never going to be mistaken for a star in this league but I could at least keep up and pitch in a goal or assist here and there. I'm close to a point-per-game player.

But this year is totally different. We had our first game last night and it was insanely fast. Not only that but I noticed our team had 3 younger guys who've never played in the league before. It was the same with the other team. Every one of these new guys could skate like they weren't even touching the ice as well as pass, shoot, etc. I would say they all played Junior C hockey at some point.
Normally the 1st week is the slowest as a lot of guys haven't done much over the summer, but this first game felt like a playoff game with how fast it was. It was insane. I was huffing and puffing by the end and all I could think of was "I've been training for a marathon for 2 months. I'd be dead if I hadn't done that".

After the game everyone in our dressing room commented on how much faster the game was. One former Junior C player even said it was close to his old playing days. Even the ref, whom I spoke with after the game, said the league is at least 2 steps quicker than last year. It appears that a lot of the older players moved on to a 40+ league and the replacements have all been former Junior or AAA alumni.
I can't tell you how bummed out I am. The last 3 seasons have been fairly fun but it sucks not being able to contribute and constantly feel like you're letting your team down

Everyone's going to say "keep at it! You'll get better" but I'm in my 30's. I'm not getting better any time soon and I certainly don't have time to train or practice during the rest of the week.

The reasons why I've stuck with this league the past 3 years is because the rink is only 10 minutes from my home, the times are phenomenal (7:00, 8:20, 9:30) and because we redraft every year you don't get the cement-head mentality.
Everything about the league is awesome except that the calibre of play is getting way above my head.

I wish I could find a league that was better suited to my skill level but still had the great times and easy going style. Unfortunately, that's a pipe dream in my area. There's simply not enough ice time for something like that.

Oh well. I'll stick with the league the rest of the year, but I have a feeling this will be last season as a beer league 4th liner.

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Old
09-18-2007, 04:11 PM
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You need to talk to the league about creating a division for just the 2-4's. Or just 3-4's.

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Old
09-18-2007, 04:20 PM
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You need to talk to the league about creating a division for just the 2-4's. Or just 3-4's.
That'd be a good idea.

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Old
09-18-2007, 04:23 PM
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Twist and Shout
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Don't get dissuaded. It does suck to be in a league where you consistently have to play at your best to be somewhat competent compared to others. Being a step behind everyone takes the fun of the game, so I'd suggest joining another league which has different divisions of play according to skill level. That way you could even be one of the better players on your team. Good luck.

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09-18-2007, 04:24 PM
  #5
Backstrom #19
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After a couple of games you should get used to the faster speed.

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Old
09-18-2007, 05:25 PM
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i dont know what position you play but you may want to move to defense, and beat them with your years off experience/hockey wisdom, play smarter hockey, its not always about how fast you are, but more about positioning and hockey sense

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09-18-2007, 05:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Backstrom #19 View Post
After a couple of games you should get used to the faster speed.
I do agree with that....our team has gotten the bump up in divisions a couple of times and we all knew we were a bit out of place, but we eventually figured it out and scratched out wins. Just gotta adapt a bit and keep skating!

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Old
09-18-2007, 05:53 PM
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Even if you don't get on the ice between games, you can work on your cardiovascular fitness and flexibility/agility off-ice. The better shape you're in, the less fast I'd think the actual *skating* will seem (can't promise the game will seem slower!)

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Old
09-18-2007, 07:07 PM
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That league sounds fun.

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Old
09-19-2007, 09:14 AM
  #10
Hank19
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Originally Posted by We'reGonnaWin View Post
You need to talk to the league about creating a division for just the 2-4's. Or just 3-4's.
I wish I could but you should see how good the "3's" are. The ratings are kind of screwed up in that you're rated according to your hockey experience. So if you've played Junior C you're automatically a "2". If you've only played travel hockey you're automatically a "3" and if you've played Junior B or above you're a "1".
But some of the "3's" in this league are phenomenal. Despite only playing travel for 15 years, there's some guys in this league who I think could have seriously played major Junior.

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Originally Posted by Twist And Shout View Post
Don't get dissuaded. It does suck to be in a league where you consistently have to play at your best to be somewhat competent compared to others. Being a step behind everyone takes the fun of the game, so I'd suggest joining another league which has different divisions of play according to skill level. That way you could even be one of the better players on your team. Good luck.
That's what I think I'm going to have to do. I used to play in a league where the calibre was much lower to the point where I was a superstar. Hahaha. I really enjoyed the league.
But the times were horrendous and the rink was 45 minutes from my house. I already drive 2 hours each day for work I didn't want to add on another 1.5 hours in that day. I might have to suck it up, but being in my 30's and with 2 kids, by the time 9:00 rolls around, Hank's pretty tired.

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Originally Posted by jdmef8vtec View Post
i dont know what position you play but you may want to move to defense, and beat them with your years off experience/hockey wisdom, play smarter hockey, its not always about how fast you are, but more about positioning and hockey sense
Hahaha! God bless you for assuming I have 'hockey wisdom'. I actually played D for a few games last year and I enjoyed it. I might try it again this year.

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Originally Posted by LilWinger11 View Post
Even if you don't get on the ice between games, you can work on your cardiovascular fitness and flexibility/agility off-ice. The better shape you're in, the less fast I'd think the actual *skating* will seem (can't promise the game will seem slower!)
Hahaha! If you saw my workout schedule now, you'd see that if I wasn't doing what I'm doing, I'd be in a coffin after that first week. Besides running 8-10K 4 days a week, I lift weights 3 days a week as well as throwing in some time on the stationary bike and ellipticals.
I think the problem is I don't have 'hockey legs'. There's guys in my league that look like they couldn't walk up a flight of stairs without keeling over. But when they get on the ice, they're flying around and never seem to get winded. It comes from being on the ice several hours a week from the time they are 4 years old.
I can do all the squats, deadlifts, presses or lunges my heart desires, but skating is different than all of those, and it hits muscles in a totally different way.
Another advantage they have is that they know how to skate properly. Now, I know how to skate, but these guys, through years of skating, don't take a 'wasted' stride.
Experienced skaters or hockey players know how to turn, cut short, cycle, etc. I know I'm not explaining it quite right, but they make sure to not waste any movement out there and it saves their legs from getting worn out over the course of a game.
While I'm wasting time making cuts and stops and starts in either zone, their years of experience have taught them when all those things are necessary. Where I might make a quick stop and then try to back up in the crease thinking there'll be a rebound, their experience will tell them, the pucks not going there, it'll be there, so instead of them wasting energy stopping and starting, they'll make a slow turn and come around to an area where the puck will eventually be for a scoring chance. So while I'll have just sent my legs on fire with all the churning, stopping and starting, they'll have made an easy arc and gotten far greater results out of it.
I hope I explained all that right.

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Originally Posted by newfish View Post
That league sounds fun.
The league really is fun and it's a high level of skill which I don't mind to make me better.
But it sucks going out each week knowing that the most you can do is dump the puck, make a few defensive plays and hope that you touch the puck a handful of times over 60 minutes.
It's no fun being a non-factor and not really getting any better while doing it.

I'm going to have to find another league. It just sucks when you realise that YOU suck.
Oh well, at least I'm a star on the pond with my 4 year old. Hahaha.

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Old
09-19-2007, 03:03 PM
  #11
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Have you ever tryed to ask the players on your team what you might be able to do or get help on? i Know when i played my first junior hockey season the play was so much more fast pace and moving it was hard to learn at first the coach tho tryed to tell you what to do but he really only showed you what to do but having someone who has played at that leval and trained it helps a bit more. o iwould always asks the captains and vets and what they had todo to adapt and get where they are now and they were so helpful becuase they use to be in the same situation.

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Old
09-19-2007, 04:03 PM
  #12
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I would give it a few games (season?) and if not, see about a different league. If you're just getting left out in the cold every game, it's not going to be much fun. But maybe that particular team was really good? What kind of experience do you have compared to the average player?

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Old
09-19-2007, 04:49 PM
  #13
Hank19
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Originally Posted by Jarick View Post
I would give it a few games (season?) and if not, see about a different league. If you're just getting left out in the cold every game, it's not going to be much fun. But maybe that particular team was really good? What kind of experience do you have compared to the average player?
I'm hoping that particular team was just that good. I asked a buddy of mine who plays on another team and he also felt the pace was a lot faster than years past.

XweekendwarriorX, I'm going to take your advice and ask some of the guys, but in a beer league, I shouldn't have to worry about screwing up or making the 'right' play all the time as it should be fun and we should all get the chance to be an "Yzerman" on every shift. Instead, I find myself trying not to make mistakes and just do the safe move everytime. What kid grows up pretending to be a 4th line dump and chase player? I don't think it's any different when you get older and join leagues for fun. I want to be able to try some moves out there and experiment with some things but the game is just so quick and all the guys take it very seriously. I feel like I'm letting down 14 other strangers.

Jarick, I don't have much experience. I didn't start playing hockey or skating until I was 13. I joined a houseleague team half way through that year and then played 2 more years of houseleague after that. From 15 and on, I've only played in pickup games and a handful of beer leagues.
I don't want to sound like I'm bragging, but I think I'm halfway decent for the little amount of organized hockey I've played. I've even had some guys I played with in other leagues ask me what travel team's I've played on as a kid. But I'm not nearly good enough for a league where the average player has put in 15+ years of travel service and can skate like any normal person walks and breathes.

Basically I started this thread to vent a bit and I'm happy I was able to do that.
I wish I was better but at my extended age of 33 and married with 2 kids, getting better isn't easy when you don't have time to practice your game.
I'm just hoping I can find an easy going league suitable for my skills.

Thanks for all the advice and thanks for letting me complain. I wish you all hattricks in your next outings.

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Old
09-19-2007, 05:21 PM
  #14
FLYLine24
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A league that redrafts every player each year? Sounds brutal. I wouldn't play in a leauge like that. Or a league that has former minor league players playing against brand new rookies...the league sounds terrible man, i'd join a real league thats better organized then that.

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Old
09-19-2007, 08:46 PM
  #15
XweekendwarriorX
 
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What state i the league in and is there contact or normal bar league rules?

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Old
09-19-2007, 10:14 PM
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different opinion

Hank, some respondents mention that you "will get used to the speed" or something to that effect. I'm not so sure. When you look at development past puberty, hockey is pretty much ALL about speed. Are you fast enough to execute what you do well and can you keep up with the pace?

From Mites to the NHL, hockey games are pretty much the same. Players skate offside, miss passes, and lose the puck to other players. The only difference is at which speed.

As you age, your conditioning may suffer. And from the sound of it you weren't a high-level player to begin with. Hardly the recipe for continued success.

I play 35+ at age 39, weigh about 35 pounds too much (225 at 5'8", which puts me something like 70 pounds over those medical chart guidelines!), but am one of the top scorers because my skill level is alright despite not playing/skating at all for the past 15 years. Why? Because I don't have many guys that are buzzing around.

There have been two times I subbed in at the A level and I have been to some lunchtime open hockeys to get prepared. I'm the same guy, but in that setting it is all I can do to keep up. Forget standing out.

Our rink has SEVEN levels of Men's League.

35+
Elite
A
B
C
C2
Novice

Not every rink does. It may be worth exploring another level. Face it, the league isn't going to slow down and you are unlikely to speed up a lot. Why piss into the wind when you may enjoy something more your pace.

One issue we have is that the 35+ was the first place our Director steered players if they were older. Now on its second rendition, the league has attracted many Elite and A players. Going forward the weaker players will be steered to Novice or C, despite their age. I only mention that to illustrate how hard it is to get every player at the right level.

No matter what you do some people will be stronger and weaker in their category. As long as nobody is too far out of whack the league will be healthy and the players should be happy.

Nobody in Elite would want me on their Wing, so even though I might enjoy it that doesn't mean it is the right place for me.

Good luck.

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Old
09-20-2007, 08:09 AM
  #17
Hank19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XweekendwarriorX View Post
What state i the league in and is there contact or normal bar league rules?
It's in Ontario and the rules are pretty much like most beer leagues. No slapshots, no hitting (rubbing along the wall is permitted), no fighting.

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Originally Posted by FiveThreeEmptyNet View Post
Hank, some respondents mention that you "will get used to the speed" or something to that effect. I'm not so sure. When you look at development past puberty, hockey is pretty much ALL about speed. Are you fast enough to execute what you do well and can you keep up with the pace?

From Mites to the NHL, hockey games are pretty much the same. Players skate offside, miss passes, and lose the puck to other players. The only difference is at which speed.

As you age, your conditioning may suffer. And from the sound of it you weren't a high-level player to begin with. Hardly the recipe for continued success.

I play 35+ at age 39, weigh about 35 pounds too much (225 at 5'8", which puts me something like 70 pounds over those medical chart guidelines!), but am one of the top scorers because my skill level is alright despite not playing/skating at all for the past 15 years. Why? Because I don't have many guys that are buzzing around.

There have been two times I subbed in at the A level and I have been to some lunchtime open hockeys to get prepared. I'm the same guy, but in that setting it is all I can do to keep up. Forget standing out.

Our rink has SEVEN levels of Men's League.

35+
Elite
A
B
C
C2
Novice

Not every rink does. It may be worth exploring another level. Face it, the league isn't going to slow down and you are unlikely to speed up a lot. Why piss into the wind when you may enjoy something more your pace.

One issue we have is that the 35+ was the first place our Director steered players if they were older. Now on its second rendition, the league has attracted many Elite and A players. Going forward the weaker players will be steered to Novice or C, despite their age. I only mention that to illustrate how hard it is to get every player at the right level.

No matter what you do some people will be stronger and weaker in their category. As long as nobody is too far out of whack the league will be healthy and the players should be happy.

Nobody in Elite would want me on their Wing, so even though I might enjoy it that doesn't mean it is the right place for me.

Good luck.
My speed isn't bad. I'm one of the faster players WITHOUT the puck from blueline to blueline. But once I get the puck on my stick I stop moving my legs and that's where I get in trouble. So I'm good at chasing down loose pucks or shadowing some players, but my offensive capabilities at this level are sparse.
I don't think my conditioning is the issue. I'm 6'1", 215lbs and my body fat % hovers between 7-8%. I'm not saying this to toot my horn, only to show that it's not a matter of physical conditioning but rather, because I have limited hockey experience, my brain can't work as fast as my hands and legs. While most guys, who've played their whole lives make decisions based on instinct, I have to think about what I'm going to do. And with a league that's this quick, that's a game killer.

I've actually been calling around to rinks about getting ice for next year. I want to start a 30+ league where each team is only allowed 1 or 2 guys from a top level.
That's how this league used to be, but because they've dropped in numbers the last couple of years, they're taking everyone.
I have no problems with that, but the majority of newcomers have graduated from Midget AAA and the local Junior C/B circuit.
It's great for guys that want to continue playing a high level of hockey in a fun and safe environment. But for guys like myself, it's becoming more of a chore than enjoyment.

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Old
09-20-2007, 03:25 PM
  #18
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You need to talk to the league about creating a division for just the 2-4's. Or just 3-4's.
The only year I've played in an ice hockey league, we were supposed to have an A, a B-C, and a D league. Three separate leagues, depending on skill level. We were a D league team intentionally, just looking to have fun and mess around, since most of use either could never afford to play [me] or were over 50 and slowing way down due to immense beer bellies. The D league was supposed to have 4 teams; 2 folded right before we started the season. So, our wonderful D League team was stuck against mostly B leaguers. It was pretty, especially since every B-C league team was allowed 1 A leaguer, and every B-C team had been together for AT LEAST 10 years.

Wow, what a nightmare.

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Old
09-21-2007, 07:06 AM
  #19
Hank19
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The only year I've played in an ice hockey league, we were supposed to have an A, a B-C, and a D league. Three separate leagues, depending on skill level. We were a D league team intentionally, just looking to have fun and mess around, since most of use either could never afford to play [me] or were over 50 and slowing way down due to immense beer bellies. The D league was supposed to have 4 teams; 2 folded right before we started the season. So, our wonderful D League team was stuck against mostly B leaguers. It was pretty, especially since every B-C league team was allowed 1 A leaguer, and every B-C team had been together for AT LEAST 10 years.

Wow, what a nightmare.
Yikes! That would be a nightmare.

I wish our league could do that too, but there's simply not enough icetime in our area. I tried to book some ice for the beginning of September at a 2-pad facility but every hour of ice was already booked. Between junior and travel tryouts, there was no time left over.

I swear, if I can scrounge together $10,000 somehow, I'm going to buy my own rink using Custom Rinks. Then I'll never have to worry about icetime again. And I can dominate all the 10-year olds in my neighbourhood and feel like a superstar.

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Old
09-22-2007, 10:10 PM
  #20
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Welcome to my world.

I didn't start to play hockey on a regular basis until I was in my 30's and I've always struggled to make any impact in the games I've played. I usually play defense -- since few people want to play D I get to feel like I'm contributing to the team. I read as much as I can about positioning and I practice skating backward during open skates at the local rink.

Your choices are simple:
  • quit the league you're in and find a less competitive one
  • stay in the league you're in, play forward but learn your positioning so you can simplify your game and play in a diminished role
  • learn to play defense -- different position, but you can still make a valuable contribution to the team

FWIW you can still do plenty of good as a forward if you've got good puck protection skills. When you've got the puck you control the pace of the game. I suggest you stay with this team for the season and see how it goes.

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09-24-2007, 08:23 AM
  #21
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Welcome to my world.

I didn't start to play hockey on a regular basis until I was in my 30's and I've always struggled to make any impact in the games I've played. I usually play defense -- since few people want to play D I get to feel like I'm contributing to the team. I read as much as I can about positioning and I practice skating backward during open skates at the local rink.

Your choices are simple:
  • quit the league you're in and find a less competitive one
  • stay in the league you're in, play forward but learn your positioning so you can simplify your game and play in a diminished role
  • learn to play defense -- different position, but you can still make a valuable contribution to the team

FWIW you can still do plenty of good as a forward if you've got good puck protection skills. When you've got the puck you control the pace of the game. I suggest you stay with this team for the season and see how it goes.
I think I'm going to stick it out for the season. The only reason why I will is because my 4-year-old son is in hockey this year and I want him to see me play so he gets excited to play himself. But this will be my last year in the league.

I'm going to try and start my own league next year for 30+ players. I'll limit the experience of -2 junior players per team, but basically I'm going to try and keep the league light and fun.
We'll see how that goes.

We play a team tonight that isn't nearly as fast as the team from week 1. But I'm still anticipating a quick skate.
My wife watched a few games last year and she even commented on how fast the games were. When I told her that it was 2-steps faster this year, she figured my time was coming to an end with this league. LOL.

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Old
09-26-2007, 12:29 PM
  #22
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BTW, are you practicing regularly with this team, or just playing the games?

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Old
09-26-2007, 01:03 PM
  #23
Hank19
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BTW, are you practicing regularly with this team, or just playing the games?
No, this is strictly a beer league. No practices, just games.

Game 2 was pretty bad too. I'm going to play one more week and then if I don't feel any better about it, I'm done. I think I might feel differently if the guys on my team didn't treat each game like it was game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals. Not all of them do that but when you hear guys yipping and complaining about some guys making mistakes I can only guess what they're saying about me.
We do have playoffs but everyone makes them. The regular season means absolutely squat, and yet some guys days are ruined because we lost a game. I know that's the nature of the beast, but I don't get that. Or maybe it's my problem. I should be looking for a league that's more about having fun and slugging a few brews after each game. I like to compete and win games too but I won't lose any sleep if we lose or win. There's far more important things in my life than worrying about the standings in a weekly beer league.

Anyway, thanks for letting me use this thread to complain. It's helped.

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Old
09-29-2007, 05:45 AM
  #24
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Knowing that you don't have practices, I fully support your decision. From my (though short) experience, I found that you can only practically be catching up with the team if you practice with them. In the game, you simply don't get enough time with the puck on your stick to really improve.

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Old
09-29-2007, 11:14 AM
  #25
WhipNash27
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Posts: 16,005
vCash: 500
Quote:
I suck
Me too, but I've accepted it.

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