Monday, April 16, 2007

Vinnie Antonelli: American Hero

Sometimes in life, you are fortunate enough to run across a man of honor, integrity, and stick-to-itiveness. A man who seems superhuman, yet is composed of flesh and blood. A man whose desire to win is only overshadowed by his hustle.

A man like Vincent Antonelli.

Last night, we opened our hockey league playoffs against 32 Degrees. When we last played against them, we shut them out by a score of 9-0. That score belied their talent, for 32 Degrees is a good squad. We were hungry - for a win, only I was hungry for Chee-tos - and wanted to start the post-season off with a strong showing. (Our 15-8 record had us finishing in third place.) The team hit the ice ready to play.

Except no one told 32 Degrees.

We played like hell, skating about as fast as Michael Moore after an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet. We had no spark, no hustle, and it showed. After the first period, we were down 1-0.

Enter Vincent Antonelli.

Even at 5'11", Vinnie is a fireplug on the ice. Last night, he was rolling thunder, driving rain. During a scrum in front of the opposing goaltender, Vinnie - who was playing right wing - parked himself in front of the crease. The puck came to him, and as he was being rubbed out by a defenseman, deftly steered the puck past the goaltender. 32 Degrees - 1, Harrigan's - 1.

The period ended with our teams tied at one apiece, and Vinnie looked like he was getting a second wind - as if he used up all of his first! Our team took Vin's example, and kicked it up a notch. We scored another "hustle goal" to take the lead in the third - a goal that was set up by Vinnie's pass - then Vinnie scored his second goal (and third point of the night) after busting his hump in front of the crease. One insurance goal later, we took Game 1 by a score of 4-1.

With a few minutes left in the game, Vinnie looked at me, and said, "Take my shift. I'm done." I thought he was just resting on his laurels, but he later told me that he strained his groin earlier in the night. Damn.

And I can't score when I'm completely healthy.

Editor's Note: Since Vin had such a terrific game, I figured I would reward him with more fabulous babes!

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