OFB Undergraduates Unleashed — Home for the Holidays and Hockey

We asked our two undergraduate associates, Andrew Tomlinson and Alexander Perlmutter, both liberated from their respective universities for the holidays this week, to detail what this winter break would mean to them in terms of taking in pucks without the obligations of class schedules, term papers or exams looming. Turns out neither has interest in heading for sun and fun down South, and both have well-developed plans to indulge their puck passion over the next few weeks.

Andrew: It certainly has been a tough semester filled with long days, late classes and late nights. That isn’t even the tough stuff; while other students were struggling with papers and projects I had to cope with a bad Red Wings team and a schedule that all but cut hockey out of my life.

The days of checking NHL.com highlights, watching little dots move around my phone screen and attempting to get accurate play by play via Twitter are over. Starting tomorrow it’s smooth sailing — well, except for Tuesdays next semester, as my schedule has been planned around the hockey season. Christmas break is the most exciting part of the year for me because it is the true start of my hockey season.

His Delta name: Ed Belfour

His Delta name: Ed Belfour

This is the time of the year when I can finally sit and analyze every statistic, blog about every team trend, and of course take the “Blades of Steel,” a struggling fantasy hockey team, on a monumental run from last place to regular season champions. The end of the semester is a little hockey Christmas present to myself.

While many are looking forward to the Winter Classic on January 1, I have to say what I am most excited for are those nights with the wind blowing outside and the radio on and tuned to either the Red Wings or the Caps. Being from Detroit, winter is my favorite season, and I remember every winter of my youth being devoted to listening to hockey games.

Sure, watching on a giant HD television, (providing CSN doesn’t show the Wizards) is great; but to me the radio symbolizes what hockey is. It is a highly personal experience where complete concentration is required and where imagining makes it even more exciting. Takes me back to what it must have been like for the early hockey pioneers. We are really lucky, I believe, to have the impassioned voices of Steve Kolbe and John Walton calling games in our organization.

Welcome to winter and the start of my hockey season. It is the most wonderful time of the year, the start of my hockey coma.

* * * * *

Alexander: This winter, my last as a college student, will surely be the last fun one I’ll have for a long, long time. It’s a scary thought actually, because this 21-year old has to make some major decisions over this frigid winter in DC. I’ve no doubt that the ones who pay the bills will have no trouble finding a way to bug me about applying for jobs and to masters programs.

While I find time to do that, the five-week span of my break will also include working for my father and for the best Capitals’ blog, hang out with the friends and family I haven’t seen since August, and get my hands on a now hard-to-get Caps’ ticket. I also must play some North American hockey (English hockey is rubbish), something I’ve longed for since August 24th.

But just as equally, I’ll long for that Caps game. There are only six home tilts during these five weeks, thanks to the NHL’s awesome holiday season scheduling. March 8 was the last time I headed to Verizon Center, and those painful nine months without a live contest has rotted me. I simply must go this winter break.

It’s so special to see your team play live. Until it is unavailable one doesn’t really understand how invigorating it is to see a live game. Season ticketholders are awesome, because I believe they are true fans; but I also suspect they are not nearly as emotional as I am when I go to a game and may for obvious reasons take a few contests for granted. Because I know I’ll only go to three or four a season, I live it up. Always.

It’s also nice to be a little more awake and energized at 7p.m. here instead my midnight laptop cuddle at midnight in London. It’s also nice to be able to catch a hockey game at a bar like Bugsy’s in Old Town. In fact, I’ll try spending most of my time out of the house just to avoid the conversation with my parents about my future. When they bring it up, maybe I’ll just feign a need to get on Metro to get downtown for a game (hopefully my parents won’t be familiar with all of the Caps’ road play late this year). I’m motivated, but man, do I hate being pushed to do something I know I’ll eventually do.

Then there’s my brother, who may be the coolest or most annoying person on the planet at any given time. This Christmas, I suspect he’ll be the latter. He’s getting a second shoulder surgery for a nagging rotator cuff injury he sustained two years ago. I also had the same injury and I took full advantage of being handicapped and having my left arm out of service for three weeks. “Mom, can you get me this? Patrick, can you get the remote? Dad, can you get tickets to the next game ;)?”

But now that I have to take care of Patrick again, I have a feeling all those things I want to do will have an asterisk.

*if Patrick doesn’t need my help.

But Patrick has consistently been the only person in my family who has any sense when it comes to applying for jobs or masters programs, which makes him less bothersome than my parents in that regard. So, perhaps it’s not such a terrible thing that I’ll be forced to spend time with him. He might be an encouraging presence instead of a pestering nuisance. If I get a job, I might just reward him with the best seat in town.

Maybe I’ll make that a Christmas present. Two brothers taking in a hockey game together isn’t a bad way to spend a portion of winter break.

This entry was posted in Comcast SportsNet, detroit red wings, John Walton, National Hockey League, Washington Capitals. Bookmark the permalink.

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