Shoshee The first time I met Bring it was because his daddy brought him to the door. His daddy said to mine at the door, “Notice you got a little guy too. Was wondering if they should start playing.” Next thing, I was lacing my skates, trying out figure eights on the iced pond, falling and getting laughed at, and laughing at Bring’s falling too. Bring’s daddy watched us quiet on the side. Our friendship was always hockey. Bring left for a few years after high school, not far, just to Lansing for college, and I stayed in Kalamazoo. Bring would write me letters telling me how he played intramural hockey on Spartans’ ice. I know I could have took the bus to Lansing and tried to visit him every now and then like he said to. It’s not like having a license was the only way to get to Bring. Like Mr. Eddie says, “More than one way to carve a cat.” I didn’t really want to meet the Lansing people, though. The only one he made me meet was Samantha from Cadillac because that’s his girl. That’s his fee-on-say. I worried he might never come back. Even now, when I think of long periods of time I just think of Lansing the city. But Bring did come back. And we’re still friends over hockey. We watch a lot of hockey. All the Red Wings. All the Spartans too when they’re on. He usually comes over to my place even though he has a 52” and mine’s just twenty-four because he says Samantha gets migraines and doesn’t want to seem like a bitch when she asks us to be quieter about our hurrahs. “No offense, Ricky!” she said to me. None taken. This year, there’s Winter Olympics on top of it all. I like listening to all the national anthems (not just the U.S. National Anthem and O Canada like for NHL games). When the U.S. scores, Bring says stuff like, “This is what it means to be an American.” It makes me feel so proud. I only ever felt that way once before when Mr. Eddie took me to the cemetery and we saw my grandfather’s grave and Mr. Eddie read off all three of the wars he was in. They were carved in the stone: the World War II, Vietnam, and Korea’s War. Mr. Eddie and my grandfather were best friends. Two days ago, Bring came over for the U.S. game against Sweden. When we went up three-two, Bring said—you guessed it—“This is what it means to be an American.” I imagined what I was watching was like war on ice. I imagined that when all the U.S. players die in fifty years, they’ll have “2014 Sochi Olympics” on their gravestones. The thing I like about Olympics is that I don’t have to wait so long for Bring to come over. When we watch Red Wings play NHL games, it’s always primetime. Six p.m. east time or seven p.m. our time or eight p.m. mountain time or nine p.m. in the West like when we play the Kings. For Olympics, though, Bring comes over so early because it’s Russia time zone. We can watch the games at seven a.m.! 87
Summer 2014 Volume 2, Issue 2
This morning, Bring rang my bell, and I wasn’t even awake yet. I was supposed to have the Labatt’s “on the ready” when he showed up. Before I answered, I twisted off a couple caps, and I handed him a Labatt’s through the door. Bring said, “Rise and shine, Ricky! Time to beat them Russkies.” Bring took off this morning and told his boss he had to see a cardiologist. His boss believed him. Bring told me he’ll only need to see the cardiologist if the U.S. Team loses. Bring’s funny. One time when Samantha called during OT of Wings-Flyers and wanted to know what was holding him up, Bring took the oil out of the pantry and the kale out of the fridge, and he cooked the kale on the stove until it crackled, and he told Samantha, “Sorry, Sam! All I hear’s static.” (It really did sound like static.) “I’ll call you when I have reception again.” He sat back down on the couch and we watched the rest of the game and ate the kale from the frying pan. By the time the Russia National Anthem was finished, it was almost 7:10 a.m. The camera floated across the U.S. Team in a single file line on their skates and we saw Derek Shoshee real quick. It looked like he was just about to pick his nose, but the camera was too fast. Shoshee used to go to our high school. He used to be a Loy Norrix Knight like us! He’s a fourth-line defenseman. Bring and me clinked our Labatt’s together and say “Shoshee” at the same time. We’ve been doing that. I asked Bring if he told Samantha he took off work this morning. He shook his head and just took a sip of his Labatt’s. He needed another one before the game even got started. Once the game started, I kind of zoned out. I was still kind of sleepy, and I started seeing things on the ice that weren’t even there. I saw me and Bring skating on the ice, and when they showed the American coach Dan Bylsma, I thought he kind of looked like Bring’s daddy on that day he came and rang our bell. Occasionally, I zone back in when Shoshee’s on the ice: Shoshee poke-checked a Datsyuk deke; Shoshee cleared the puck for a Statsny breakaway; Shoshee whispered something to the goalie, Kessel. But then once Shoshee climbed the boards and’s off the rink, I saw me and Bring again, back on the pond practicing the quick stops that spray the ice. It’s all I ever really see when we watch the games on TV together. When Bring was at Michigan State, I stopped watching hockey. I had the magnet on my refrigerator with the schedule but I never felt like turning the TV on. I knew Bring was at all the Spartans’ home games. I even stopped watching the Wings. When Bring came back, I lied and told him I watched them all. Even the Wings’ six-O.T. game that went until two in the morning that Mr. Eddie told me about.
A compilation of the Fredericksburg Literary and Art Review, Volumes 1 and 2 (2013-2014)