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Week 16 – Game Previews – Part 2

FROM THE COMMISH: This Sunday will be Bill Tucker’s last Sunday/Farewell party at ACE. We will haveBTSH DJS all day/night, pizza, Petra and Trivia will have a Jaeger launch with raffles and sports related trivia that night. So call in sick on Monday and see Billy off proper to Texas. He’s been such a huge help this season. 

Poutine Machine at Fresh Kills,
1:00 pm, Tompkins Square West
by Eli “Law of Syllogism” Kazin

Fresh Kills enters this matchup with a sparkling 14-0 record, just four wins away from an undefeat…wait, what’s that? We have to say goodbye to Bill Tucker (and Jamie Crosby)? But I actually wanted to talk about Fresh Kills’ quest for an undefeated season this week. Fine, fine, we’ll discuss Bill (and Jamie), if you insist.
As many of you already know by now, Gut Rot goaltender contributor Bill Tucker is moving to Austin later this month (as is Jamie Crosby). Bill’s weekly contributions (but not Jamie’s, she never wrote for the site) will be missed, as will Dr. Hunter S. Tompkins’ official predictions, which I swear to you I have always read as Dr. Hunter S. Thompson. On a personal level, Bill (but not Jamie) jumped into the day ref pool this year after Creamy decided the ref administration team was beneath him, but with Bill’s (and Jamie’s) departure, my workload on Sundays is about to go way up.
The Mathematics have a special place in our hearts for Bill (and Jamie). Whenever our starting goaltender missed a game, Bill (but not Jamie) was always there to help us out, and he (but not Jamie) picked up plenty of wins for us. Earlier this year, he (but not Jamie) notched victories against the Dark Rainbows and Mega Touch, but his crowning achievement was a shutout victory for us against the Corlears Hookers back in 2011. Yeah, that happened.
Bill (and Jamie) even play a role in my pick for this game. Fresh Kills beat Gut Rot last week, while Gut Rot beat Poutine Machine back in week 6. So, by the law of syllogism, Fresh Kills will beat Poutine Machine and remain undefeated. How do you like that? I buried the lead.

Corlears Hookers at La Famiglia,
2:00 pm, Tompkins Square West

Aaaron Sorkin has a line that “Decisions are made by those who show up.” The BTSH equivalent might be “Games are won by those who show up.” And that probably explains why the Hookers are on a two-game losing streak. A full Hookers squad is one of the hardest outs in the league. But even Danilo and Gavin can’t win games all by themselves.

But there is a bright spot for the team from the wrong side of the FDR.

New uniforms. 

Gone are the purple and gold disco outfits, replaced by a more subdued and classy logo that reminds some folks of the Lbs. Coincidence? we think not. perhaps the new look will be enough to lure Jason Eitel out of semi-retirement and put the Hooks back on the winning streak.

Meanwhile the Tuques have developed a “Family style” offense, with everyone sharing in the scoring buffet (of course, as metaphorical papa, Denis still gets the biggest helping). With the Hookers defense and goaltending taking the biggest hit in the summer swoon, don’t be surprised if the Italian jobs make it three losses in a row for the BTSH bridesmaids.

Gremlins at Skyfighters,
3:00 pm, Tompkins Square West

Both these teams looked strong in the early part of the season and both have struggled of late. But that’s what makes great BTSH matchups. This one is all about  the Skyfighters offense versus the Gremlins surprisingly strong defense and stellar goaltending. With guns like Martin, Robert and the Hopper in their lineup, don’t expect the Fighters to post up the single goal that they’ve managed in several of their recent games. On the other hand, Jamie B is still one of the top candidates for goalie of the year and the Grems have been known to put a few biscuits in the basket themselves. 

We’re predicting OT for this one and quite possibly a shootout. Give the edge to Sky Fighters snipers if it comes to that.

Gouging Anklebiters at Cobra Kai,
4:30 pm, Tompkins Square West

Since Bill spent 500 words talking about BTSH, he has handed the reins of this Anklebiters / Cobra Kai preview to Dr. Hunter S. Tompkins.  We apologize in advance.

The last game before the summer swan song is always a biggie.  Who will forgo the brunch to show up the court?  Who will skip the match in favor of mimosas, eggs benedict and charcuterie?  These factors will weigh heavily in this contest’s outcome.  On one foot, Cobra Kai has had a rotating cast of characters in and out of the lineup all season.  Perennial hot head Pete Lang?  Out.  Becky “The Pugilist” Pear?  Nowhere to be found.  In their place is a rag tag group of free agents, castaways and some guy named Jeff Borger.  Once he has a season under his belt, I’ll bestow a nickname on him.  But don’t count out the Dojo.  The newbies have energy to spare and the combination of Greg “The Anvil” Altman and Will “The Wonder” Kuhns are capable of making any defensive combination look like last week’s Swiss cheese.  Old, moldy and ripe for the breaking.

On the other foot, the Biters always run deep and possess a milk curd makeup somewhere between sharp gouda and Spanish manchego.  In a word, they’re pretty tough.  So tough, they sport a sparkling 9-2-3-1 record going into the final August week.  Over the season, Bill has mentioned each player on the squad at least fifteen times, so here’s my X Factor.  Coco.  Her shining, smiling presence bellies a raging hockey tiger just waiting to be uncaged.  And considering my track record with jungle cats and cheese plates (call back to an old preview…one person will get it), I hesitate to tempt the fates.  Playing with fire, the Dojo will do their best but ultimately fall to the Foot Nibblers 4-1.

 As for Bill and Jamie, what can I say?  They’re folks of a kindred spirit.  Mad ramblers sucking down life one bottle at a time.  Their journey isn’t an unfortunate occurrence.  It’s what’s supposed to happen.  Over the years, I’ve breathed in many ether soaked rags with these two lovers of the night and one thing is for certain.  Bill can’t hold his ether worth a damn.  But dammit he tried.  So, the next time I find myself knee deep in some sort of protoplasmic ooze surrounded by wild, carnivorous pelicans, I’ll smile and wish they were there to snap me out of my hallucination.  Either that or join in the fun.

Denim Demons at Filthy Gorgeous,
5:30 pm, Tompkins Square West

With Adam Rubens trying to steal the Gorgeous appellation from the Filthys (see our earlier post) this one is sure to be hard fought. But as with most of the 5:30 games, the big question is … will anyone be around to watch it? This week the answer is definitely not as most of the die hard court hangers out will forego their distaste for darkness and head to the ACE for Bill’s leaving party. If Jeff Kamen and James Periera each score 6 goals in the metaphorical forest and no one is around to see it, do they still count? That’s a question for former Filthy and current philosophy player Jon “Redpants” Rick or the aforementioned ACE crowd. We already know what Zack Tinkelman and Matt Novick would say …

The last word this week belongs to the man himself. Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Bill Tucker …

Sorry friends, I just can’t do it.  I absolutely refuse to say goodbye.

A one-two syllable punch, the word screams the total and complete end of things.  A final nail in the emotional coffin.  When someone says goodbye, it means for good.  All time.  The Sandlot’s FOR-EV-ERR.  Despite a permanent move to the Lone Star State, I know leaving a league I care deeply about can’t be the last hurrah.  There’s always room for one more shot of pinot grigio.

But even I can’t deny it.  This Sunday is going to be my last BTSH game for quite some time.  Possibly ever.

When I look back on what this league has given me, it’s staggering.  When I moved here over three years ago, I had nobody.  Just an apartment full of movies, IKEA cutlery still wrapped in plastic and a red bag of goalie gear.  After a street hockey Google search and a blind e-mail to Adriano asking if anyone needed a keeper, getting a team was random luck.  Four hours of free agent scrimmaging, an application where I drew a drunken stick figure and a compliment of Ellery’s beard was all it took to get me on Gut Rot. 

Three years later, 80% of my social circle is BTSH related.  Great times, dear friends and an amazing sense of community has been the reward for showing up on Sundays to play a game I love.  BTSH isn’t just a beer league.  It’s a family of like minded people, good folk who enjoy nothing more than clashing sticks during the day and clinking bottles at night.  A natural gathering ground for people who don’t mind showing up to Ace sweaty and gross from humid day of hockey.  My kind of down to earth maniacs.

But next week, I’m gone.  Jamie and I are packing up a sixteen foot Budget truck and trekking 1700 miles away to a new life.  The reasons are many (if you want the detailed version, click here) but the trek is bittersweet.  Every non-BTSH person I know has said, “I’m sure there’s street hockey in Austin.  There has to be.”  If there is, who cares.  It’ll be nothing like the league I’m leaving behind.

Luckily, the trip has been more than worth it.  Since joining BTSH, I’ve made lifelong friends, had fantastic good times and packed my brain full of manic, woozy memories.  To those I’m leaving behind, remember what separates this league from the others out there.  It’s about sitting on the court with a sixer of PBR, laughing with your team after an 8-0 drubbing.  It’s about the many BTSH couples, relationships and marriages.  It’s about turning Sunday night into Monday morning as the rest of the world wishes they were capable of having our brand of carefree fun.

Remember, friends.  This isn’t a goodbye.  Jamie and I will return to tip back a High Life and share a laugh with this great group of ball chasing cohorts.  And when we come back, make sure you keep the league the same way I found it three years ago.  Keep that door open.  Maybe some other NYC newbie is out there looking for a hockey playing family and a place to call home.

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