Monday, October 19, 2009

Just a Story from A Player’s Perspective: Mike Van Ryn

I'd like to thank JaredOfLondon for being a most excellent writing partner. I'd like to think that this could be a pretty accurate look into a day in the life of Mike Van Ryn.

It can be hard to find close friends when you play hockey—there’s always the risk of getting traded, clashing egos and such. But when you’re a hockey player like me, it can be even harder. You always feel like such an outsider because you spend so much time in surgeries and hospitals, so you totally miss out on team bonding stuff. Sometimes, it feels like the only friends I could have would be doctors and trainers. It’s a shame because, I figure, I’m a friendly guy. I can make friends with people.

One time after practice, I went to Lee Stempniak. I told him, “Lee, there’s this new sushi place I was lookin’ at. Wanna try it out with me?” Lee turned around and sighed, “Mike, I don’t think that such a good idea.” I asked him, “Why? Did you try it out and it’s a bad place or something?” He shook his head. “No, Mike, it’s just that you’re bleeding from your ears again.” I touched the side of my head and yes, I was bleeding from my ears. “Damn, I hate when that happens”, I said. “It does that in the spring when it’s going to rain.” Lee looked confused and said, “But Mike, it’s not spring, it’s actually October.” I asked, “Really? Maybe it’s from the October windstorms. So, you still wanna try that place out, maybe some other time?” Lee shook his head again, “Nothing against you Mike, but I just don’t like fish all that much. To be honest, fish creep me out a bit. But if you want to come by my place for some beer and Hot Pockets, I would love that.” That was kind of weird, so I asked with a laugh, “Well, if you don’t want to, that’s ok, but fish are creepy? What’d they do Stempy, kill your entire family?” Lee’s eyes got wetter, and he left the room without saying anything.

Mikhail Grabovski was next to him, trying to stab some sort of fruit he had. I wondered how he got the cooler of fruit and rather large knife into the room. I asked him if he wanted to try the place, and all he said was, "Mmmm! In Belarus, fruit makes YOU salad!" I told Grabbo that didn’t make any sense and he answered, “You must hunt the fruit, sneeks up on them an BAM! Now, free you are to feast on tasty fruit goo!” He then stabbed a watermelon, letting the juice ooze all over his fingers and onto the floor. I took a few seconds to let that sink in. Maybe asking Grabbo about anything was a bad idea. I told him “Grabbo, you are a wonderful man, but I just can't keep up with your high paced life style, all these knives and exploding citrus is extra dangerous for someone like me.” Grabbo then picked up a pineapple from a cooler and stabbed at that, slicing off the skin with a cold detachment that sent shivers down my spine. Suddenly, I felt a stinging in my eye. I screamed, “AHHHHHH!! PINAPPLE JUICE IN MY EYE! IT STINGS! IT STINGS! ...Maybe some other time, Grabbo?” Grabbo shrugged and said, “Wait, have cup of juice before you go!” He threw a cup of apple juice at me, breaking my nose. I cried , “You just broke my nose, Grabbo!” He answered, “Sorry Mikey! I's not used to hitting things, I miss most times.” “That’s ok, Mikhail, I’ll just go” I gasped. He smiled and said, “Okie dokie, hmmm no more fruits, to the market I go. Later ,Mr. broken Mikey!”

I caught my breath and found one of the trainers, Fred, alone in one of the recovery rooms. I yelled, “Hey! Fred the trainer guy! I got something to ask you!” He sighed, exasperated, and said, “Mike, I can't reattach the buttons on your jacket. I can't fix everything that's broken on you.” I shook my head. “Well actually, the only thing I’m looking to fix is my crushing loneliness. Everyone I know either runs away from me or hurts me. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong.” Fred smiled and said, “It’s ok Mike, you know I’m always here for you, usually with 10lbs of gauze and some blood plasma. Why don’t you tell me about it?” Out of habit, I hopped onto the examination table. I said, “Sometimes, Fred, I feel like I'm just hurting myself. I fell twice getting the mail today. Grabovski nearly killed me with a paper cup earlier.” Fred carefully patted me on my shoulder. “You just need some support, and not just crutches this time. You need a good friend, someone who you can talk to”, he suggested. I smiled a little. “Thanks Fred. You wanna talk some more, like, over a dinner or something? I know this new place that just opened up.” Fred nodded and added, “That sounds really good Mike. You want to ride in the wheel chair? Just for fun this time.” I said,“That’s awesome! It’s like it was meant to be, you know just where it hurts!” He smirked. “You mean everywhere?” “Exactly! And you can make it better! Wanna go for some sushi?”

Fred the trainer and I rode off into the sunset. He whispered, “Well, you do need protein to help your bones knit!” I was puzzled. “But my bones are fine right now, Fred." He grinned. "Give it a day or two, Mike.” I giggled, “Oh you.”

1 Comment:

kidkawartha said...

“Okie dokie, hmmm no more fruits, to the market I go. Later ,Mr. broken Mikey!”


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