50 Ways to Leave Your Center

Puppy LoveWe all fall in love sometimes against our will. How does that old song go? “You made me love you (didn’t want to do it)…” I confess, I have, too. It started, innocently enough, with a crush. The boyish grin, the deft stickhandling, the crisp passes. Then, I fell in love. I remember it as if it were yesterday. It was very late at night sometime during the 1998-99 season. The Edmonton Oilers were playing the San Jose Sharks.

The Sharks’ Bryan Marchment, a dirty, dirty boy if there ever was one, had the previous season knocked out Greg Adams, Mike Modano and Joe Nieuwendyk with knee-on-knee hits. Flying through the neutral zone, he caught my Dougie with another one. Writhing in pain and apparently done for the season, my crush was helped off the ice.

Only to return, 10 minutes later, with a purpose. He leaped onto the ice, made a beeline for that dirty goon, and cross-checked him right in the mouth. Then he jumped him and started whaling away. It was over. I was now, officially, In Love With Doug Weight. Little did I know, the very same tenacity that had won my heart would later become much less charming.

At first, my love was unrequited. Dougie was thousands of miles away in distant Edmonton. I could only see him on the occasional late-night ESPN2. And, then, Fate intervened. Dougie was a Blue. Finally we could be together, almost every night.

And for a while, it was everything I thought it would be. But, like a lot of loves that started out as crushes, it wasn’t meant to last. The grin wasn’t so boyish anymore. The passes didn’t hit the tape as often. The skates slowed down. It was time to break it off. The first conversation went about as well as could be expected:

“I didn’t want to hurt you Dougie, I swear I didn’t. We just grew apart. When you went to Carolina, it really hit me. I discovered a little piece of myself I didn’t know was there. No, Lee had nothing to do with this. Leave him out of it!”

Then the tearful late-night phone calls started.

“It’s not something you can fix. We can’t just go back to the way it used to be. People change. I changed. I’m sorry. I have to go now.”

Then he started calling at work.

“I asked you not to call me here. No, I won’t meet you for coffee. I was in a meeting, not that it’s any of your business.”

That was yesterday. This morning, I am sitting here checking my email before leaving for work. The doorbell rings.

Oh, no.

Come back with chocolate, and we’ll talk

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4 Comments

  1. Well, he did bring flowers…

    And if worse comes to worse:

    You just slip out the back, Jack
    Make a new plan, Stan
    You don’t need to be coy, Roy

  2. Cue the Blair Witch Camera Angle…

    I’m….so scared…*sniff*

  3. Lee Stempniak is a SAINT!

  4. After Tkachuk and Guerin were traded last year, there were some games where Weight found his old form and really played with some passion. I think he realized you two were going your separate ways. I’d say take Dougie back–on the condition Murray plays him with a winger who can put the puck in the net.

    (nice post by the way)


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