Saturday, November 14, 2015

The Squeaky Wheel

... gets the oil, as the saying goes, or in this case, the jersey as well as a flogging from the guy who has to hear all that darn squeaking. Like everything in our lives, getting a hockey jersey for N turned into a complete fiasco, albeit it a harmless and entertaining one, thanks in large part to my neurotic OCD. Then again, who doesn't love a good story (though this is a long one)?

N has been playing hockey for several years, and with the exception of his first year, he has had the same number every season. He's hardly alone in this, and every kid wants to keep his number from one year to the next. How can you blame them? N has managed to keep his and last season his jersey started to get a little snug. This past year he, like all kids, grew a little and this is where the story gets interesting. Being the anal retentive planner that I am, I initiated talks last season with the equipment manager MB about getting him a bigger jersey with the same number, and of course it wasn't going to be a simple matter.

The reason for this was because one of the star players in the older division had the same jersey, and he wasn't about to give it up any time soon. I asked if there were any others in the storeroom and was told no, so clearly we had a problem. I even inquired about the possibility of purchasing a jersey, which I realize is foolishness, but what's the harm in asking? Well, as luck would have it, the older player in question was in his last years of youth hockey and would potentially focus on high school hockey, thus relinquishing his jersey. There was also the possibility of going to a select team, resulting in the same conclusion. I emailed MB and mentioned that if this happened, could we please get his jersey.

Sure enough, over the summer I spoke with the star player's dad and learned that he was going to play for a prep school, and a powerhouse one at that. Beautiful. To me, the clouds had parted and the rays of the sun were shining brightly upon us, which of course was a classic case of counting my chickens before they hatched. You'd think by now I would have learned, because like everything in my life, this was not going to go smoothly, at least not without a little kicking and screaming.

When the season began, I contacted MB and asked if we could get the jersey in question, upon which he informed me that he had given it to another player who needed a size up. What? I couldn't believe it? Hadn't I made the proper arrangements already? Didn't I make it clear last season that we were pining away for this jersey? Whatever be the case, what was done was done, and you can't give a youth hockey volunteer a hard time because they are donating their time and they don't need to hear parental groaning. I know this first hand because I was the scheduler for 3 years and even though I didn't get paid a dime, that didn't discourage people for ripping me to shreds over the schedule.

I told N that he had to wear a different number this season, and he was fine with it. I'm sure he was bummed but he never complained, he's just that way. I went to the storeroom and searched for a jersey and this is where the story takes another turn. While rifling through the different jerseys I couldn't help but notice that there on the rack was a jersey with the number we wanted. Did the other person change their mind? Did they have an extra one, after all? I contacted MB and he said it was an adult medium and might be too big, but if we wanted, we were welcome to take it. I could sense that he was pretty irritated by me at this point, and I could hardly blame him. I asked N his thoughts and he enthusiastically said yes, so I grabbed the jersey and you'd think that at this point the story was done and over, but that's never the case when yours truly is involved.

So now we had 3 sets of jerseys: the old one that was too small, the new one that might be too big but had the right number, and the new one that fit but had the wrong number. Once we had decided on a set, we needed to sew N's name on the back, and I didn't know how to use a sewing machine. I got a crash course from mom, and being the foolishly optimistic person that I am, I attempted to sew his name on. The thing is, I chose an hour before practice to do this, and it just happened to be the day they were taking team and individual pictures. Talk about biting off more than I could chew.

As you can imagine, sewing his name on a hockey jersey ended up being a bit of a disaster, and I had to scream and holler for mom to come to the rescue, which she is so good at. That didn't solve our problem of needing a jersey for team pics, because mom wasn't going to be home until later, and we needed to get to practice. Well, as luck would have it, we still had the jersey with the wrong number, so I figured he could just wear that for pics because you only see the front in the pictures. We went with it and it was fine until after practice, when MB came up to me afterward. His son plays, as well, so he was watching the practice and wondered why exactly N was wearing that particular jersey after I had made such a stink about getting the one with his number on it. I was beginning to wonder if there was ever going to be an end to this drama?
I didn't have time to explain it to him, not that he wanted to hear the story, and just told him that we'd be returning two sets of jerseys and that we were happy and grateful to get the one that we wanted. It turned out to be a happy ending, albeit a long and dramatic one.

The story of my life. Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Sal for the pic.

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