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Cornered Coach: Avalanche of Tears


People grieve in different ways.

Saturday, the nine-year-old Atom Avalanche I coach suffered their first loss of the year, as we got blitzed 7-2 by the Blues. So there goes our perfect season, which means the '72 Miami Dolphins and their 'El Perfecto' 17-0 record are safe for another year.

I don't know how the Dolphins superstar duo of Bob Griese and Larry Csonka would have reacted to a loss, but a lot of the Avalanche were heartbroken.

Our goaltender, "Action Jackson", is a competitive little guy who's really tough on himself. He was in tears after the loss, despite the fact we would have got pounded a lot worse if he hadn't come up with a ton of huge saves.

Cole Jones is the son of one of our assistant coaches. Father and son are both perfectionists, which comes in very handy since coach Corey is an organizational master—the guy who takes care of our "Team Snap" account, fills in the game sheets and does a great job coming up with some very creative practice drills. Cole, meanwhile, is one of the hardest workers on the team; diving around, blocking shots and always hustling. So, as we proceeded to lose against the Blues, Cole was really down in the dumps.

Nobody likes to lose, especially when you're not used to it, as the Avalanche had rolled to seven straight victories before we finally took it on the chin. So it was no big surprise that a few of our guys had long faces after Saturday's defeat. With that said, however, a few players had different reasons to gripe after the game.

The "O-Dog", for instance, was upset by the shortage of Smarties when the post game snack was handed out. At practice the previous week, I'd promised everyone a chocolate bar after our next game and made good on the request by picking up eight Mars Bars and eight Smarties on the way to the rink. Unfortunately, however, the Smarties were the candy bar of choice for most members of the Av's and when I got to the O-Dog, there were only two measly Mars Bars to be had. You haven't seen a longer hockey face since Wayne Gretzky glumly sat on the bench, ignored in the shootout, as Canada lost to Dominik Hasek and the Czech Republic in the '98 Olympics.

My son Max, meanwhile, managed to contain his post game grief until we got home. However, while he was disappointed by the loss, his major concern was that he couldn't find his Lego Movie video game as he prepared to relax and unwind after our devastating defeat. But forget about the business of losing to the Blues, Maxy was much more concerned with foiling the "Take over the World” plan of President Business; the howling only abated by his mom, the person who takes care of business in our family, as she finally located the Lego game under the sofa.

Yes, losing impacts people in different ways. But it's important to taste defeat every once in awhile, since the game of life certainly doesn't involve a constant string of victories.

So with that in mind, the Avalanche will pick themselves up, dust themselves off and prepare for this Saturday's tilt against the Senators.

And the coach will come prepared as well… packing a box of Smarties for the O-Dog, of course.

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