Freudian Slips: On the Bubble

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Location: Irony, New Jersey, United States

Life takes us many places. It's a box of chocolates and a Hansel and Gretal trail of candy wrappers. I have filmed as an actor in The Happening, Invincible, The Lovely Bones, The Bounty Hunter, The Greek American, Bazookas, Limitless, TV's Its Always Sunny in Philly, Outlaw, New York, The Warrior, The Nail, Game Change, Cold Case, & commercial work includes The Philadelphia Eagles, Septa, Coors, Turbo Tax & Carnival Cruises. Freudian Slips spotlights irony in short story format.

March 23, 2008

On the Bubble

Samples of my custom painting on 3" miniatures.

The almighty power of the Internet can open up unseen worlds. A couple of months ago, a custom painting service that I offer on Ebay attracted some positive attention. An unsolicited email from the president of the South Jersey Bubble hockey league, invited me to do a meet and greet with the players.
At their next meeting, I brought color brochures, references of past customers, and samples of my finished product. The league meets on a weekly basis at a swank residence up in Burlington, NJ, where the owner powers three ICE Super Chexx bubble hockey tables. Upon arrival, my preconceived notion that this league would be a collection of sedentary overweight guys taking out their failures at on-field sports in a tabletop game was quickly dismantled. These members were athletes who fielded softball teams, played tennis, took skiing trips, athletes who collected trophies as if it were a national pastime.
To be expected, New Jersey had a scatter-plot representation but players came across the bridge from Pennsylvania. I learned that a guy traveled down from Connecticut to make the opening face-off. Arrivals got greeted with handshakes, many addressed by nicknames they had earned by reputation.
The league showcases some of the best collection of talent in a single league across the country. Four of their members currently boast official rankings in the top twelve in the country. The walls were decorated with pictures from national tournaments, there were stories of peril and prowess on the ice, and Excel spreadsheets kept their league statistics beyond dispute.
I have never met a cluster of more competitive hobbyists anywhere. They showed such a rare blend of stout competitiveness and good sportsmanship that their camaraderie was infectious. They welcomed me in their lair by putting me on the playing schedule the night I attended. They took turns offering me encouraging words while they rattled the pipes of my goalie and kept the scoreboard blinking all night. With no instant replay, I sometimes had to ask how goals got scored on me. Explanations often carried awe-inspiring mystique.
“My winger kicked the puck ahead with my right foot over to my hockey stick. I saw your goalie covering the short side so I deflected the puck off of your left defensemen into the net.” Moving his lighning quick hands like a concert pianist from rod to rod, my opponent scored again before he could finish the play by play of the goal that I questioned.
Now I am no slouch when it comes to playing bubble hockey. My resume includes making it to the second round of the only doubles tournament I had the gumption to enter. But from the moment the opening face-off dropped, I watched one nationally ranked player pepper 31 shots on goal in a puck-controlled blitzkrieg offense. While my knees buckled at the level of competition before me, my competitive juices flowed and my obsessive-compulsive nature kicked in. My mind began taking pictures of the plays run against me, formations on the ice, the ingenious mode the players tethered passes and carom the puck. I was so far out of their league, the strangest thing happened. I joined their league.



Blogger mommanator said...

You took me to a place I haven't been before, Bubble Hockey! guess I haven't been out too much lately, sounds like fierce fun. I have heard said you can handle your "stick" or is it "schtick"

6:22 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

That cracked me up. lol
At this age, my schtick is better.

9:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I can't help but be reminded of your "Mr. Bill" endeavors. You've come a long way.


8:47 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

Now that mom says we are Jewish, guess I should have been making dradels out of clay.

6:02 PM  

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