Anger in its time and place
May assume a kind of grace.
It must have some reason in it,
And not last beyond a minute.
From the poem Anger by Charles Lamb
How quickly love can turn to hate, sweet murmurings to spiteful hisses, sporting wrist shots to slap shots of fury.
It was just a few weeks ago that I celebrated the acquisition of my latest hockey training device – a radar unit designed to detect the speed of sports projectiles like tennis balls, baseballs and hockey pucks. How gently I handled my prize during those first blissful days, quickly brushing off any dust or scuffs that dared to defile its surface and actively ignoring any quirks that could be construed as shortcomings. Now, just a few weeks later, I’m consumed with a desire to smash the contraption to a thousand bits. And unlike the poetic excerpt above, my anger has no grace of any kind and is lasting well beyond a minute – in fact, it’s exhibiting the staying power of a rogue erection during Grade 8 health.
I arrived at my current state through a series of missteps that began a couple months ago when I realized I’d hit a figurative wall with my shooting practice. Throughout the summer I’ve worked on my shot every second day, each time firing my 200 pucks while experimenting with subtle technical adjustments in an attempt to produce the hardest shot possible. The problem was that my naked eye couldn’t discern what effect these tweaks were having on my shot speed.
The solution was clear. As soon as I’d assembled some extra money, I placed an online order for the radar unit. After an arduous two-week wait, my new tool arrived and, dripping with excitement, I proceeded with my first shooting session.
The instructions stated that the device works best if the projectiles are launched directly toward it, so shooting at a net with the detector behind the net. I couldn’t do ity this way because my setup involved shooting into a curtain of solid blankets. And of course I didn’t want to place the unit in front of the blankets because I’d be sure to nail it with a puck.
So I experimented with various other placements and found the box lacking. This lead to me mothballing my blanket system in favour of a sturdy hockey net that I bought online. Sure enough, shooting straight at the radar-majigger did prove to be the most effective practice but by this point my relationship with the box had turned pretty sour. The main reason was that, regardless of where the gadget was placed, it couldn’t consistently detect shots unless they were within a foot or two. While I’d initially been forgiving of this foible, my tolerance quickly dissipated.
As I spent more time with the high strung box, I learned that shot placement is not the only thing it’s fussy about. It’s also prone to inexplicable lapses in concentration during which it will miss three or four shots in a row regardless of the shot location. But that’s not the worst of it. I also noticed a particularly puzzling wrinkle that has proven to be the most frustrating of all.
Every once in a while, like once or twice a shooting session, powers that are within me but not completely within my control come together and produce a shot that feels much harder than my normal output. When this happens, I look to the digital readout with extra anticipation, hoping for confirmation of what I felt. However, without fail, the unit has always stubbornly refused to produce a reading in these situations, regardless of whether the shot was high, wide or right down the middle.
This is when I lose it and start bump-firing expletives and hockey pucks like a skunk-drunk executive blasting a machine gun at a mountain man retreat. Within seconds I’m wobbly with rage, missing only a disheveled, sweat-laden comb-over to complete the picture of a raving, middle-aged lunatic.
So far this approach hasn’t brought success. As my angrily-blasted pucks pile up in the net, the cheeky box sits safely on its perch where, suddenly freed of its inability to detect shot speeds, it gleefully displays a number that is embarrassingly low.
I know what I need to do. I must somehow pull myself together and revert to the other hockey revenge option: take a number and bide my time.
So that’s what I’m doing. I’ve taken a step back and am keeping my eye on the situation, waiting for the right time to strike. I’m not sure when or even how, but someday when that digital dink least expects it, I shall exact my revenge ... and it shall be sweet.