How about those Pandas!
by Than Acuff
Tell me you saw that visual orgasm of the closing ceremonies at the Winter Games in South Korea. Had I been pinned on any variety of illicit substances, or even the licit ones, while watching I’d be shaking in the corner muttering about the Pandas.
But, alas, I was not and I still can’t get those light-up Pandas out of my head. The play-by-play commentary helped keep me grounded through it all. Especially after one particular machine meets human meets animal segment that was a frightening harbinger of our A.I. (artificial intelligence)-ruled existence when Tara Lipinski stated, “I was so into that!”
I was, too, “so into that.”
And say what you will about Tara but she’s pretty easy on the eyes (especially next to Johnny Weir) and that woman won a gold medal when she was 15 years old. Hot and talented, meow.
Wait, am I allowed to say that?
Personal highlights (not that you probably care) were…
Kikkan Randall and Jessie Diggins.
Women’s hockey team.
Not Mikaela Shiffrin (too Vailie).
Ester Ledecka (woman from the Czech Republic who won gold in Super G and snowboarding Giant Slalom).
Men’s U.S. curling team? I guess. They seem like nice enough guys.
Mankind’s dominance over nature and etching an Olympic alpine ski-racing venue out of a snowless scrub oak-covered hillside.
The Big Air jump that crossed over a road. Just the in-run, though. Had the athletes been gap-jumping over the road as South Koreans were driving home from work, that would have been even cooler.
The team ski event. While at first I thought it reeked of some bogus Jeep King of the Mountain parade and expected Billy Kidd to make an appearance (which would have been cool because he crushed it on skis before it was cool in the U.S.), I actually got caught up in it as the rounds continued.
Sure, that event and the Ice Capades skating expo at the end were nauseatingly overt ways to squeeze more advertising dollars out of the Olympics but, side-by-side ski racing? I’m all about it. Especially the way that 6-foot 7-inch Swiss “two meter man” Ramon Zenhaeusern doubled punched every gate while everyone else was trying to figure out if they should ski around the gate like a slalom course or through the gate like Ramon. Besides, it’s been a part of the World Cup scene for years so why not bring it to the Olympics?
“You may ski on zat side OR on zat side, but stay out of zee middle!”
You know we lost to Great Britain, right?
But we didn’t lose to Great Britain in hockey.
Altitude Painting did lose, though, to the Eldo in town league hockey action Thursday night.
The Eldo were the “bad boys” of town league last year as they suffered a couple of disciplinary actions for their exploits on and off the ice. This year I have no idea, having not seen or heard of them all year until Thursday night. But, they appear to let their playing do the talking as they skated to a 7-2 win over Altitude.
Altitude showed promise early, pressing into the Eldo’s zone on a number of occasions but as the first period wore on, the goals started to stack up.
The Eldo first struck six minutes into the game. A minute later Brandon Muller carried the puck up the boards and picked the low corner. Altitude looked to respond only to get thrashed twice more as Muller skated behind the Altitude goal to feed a teammate in the slot for a 3-0 lead with 45 seconds left in the first. Then 20 seconds later Tim Clark unleashed the Holy Smoke, the Union Congregational Cannon.
Reverend Tim Clark will join you in holy matrimony, he’ll revere your loved ones in times of loss, he’ll bless your pets, but when the puck drops to him at the point all bets are off as he looks to summon all that is holy to unleash the power of the Almighty through a hard disk of vulcanized rubber three inches in diameter. And if you’re in the way, consider yourself BLESSED!
The Eldo tacked on a fifth goal as Kevin Williams set up another strike before Altitude finally responded. And what a response. Jack “Turner” Gibbons eats, breathes and bleeds hockey. Has for who knows how long in the Gunnison valley. Well, it took a man of his stature to make things happen as he charged into the slot to fire a shot at Eldo goalie Zach Vaughter. Vaughter made the initial save but Gibbons’ sheer force as a hockey stalwart willed the puck up over Vaughter’s shoulder and down his back and into the goal. Methinks Gibbons may have a little of the Lord on his side as well.
The Eldo came right back 90 seconds later, though, to make it 6-1 as Muller tipped the puck in.
Cody Scott did what he could to try to keep things going for Altitude, as did Emerson Wohlers. Wohlers was set up at the point late in the second period with time to shoot, and did. But as the puck started to sail wide, Bruce Winchenbach pulled off the tip of the season, if not the century, to punch the chest-high and oh-so-wide shot behind Vaughter for Altitude’s second goal.
Nothing is impossible, especially overcoming a four-goal deficit in the third period. But while not impossible, it proved not possible, as the Eldo scored again in the third period and skated away with the 7-2 win.