It's Evaluation Time
Luckily, this time, I'm on the other side of the glass: I'm watching, evaluating, judging, mocking, selecting. Not skating.
Just before the Spring 2007
season kicks off at Chelsea Piers, I attended the evaluation skate with Carrie, our captain, and teammates Eric and Brian (who were also scouting for their Division 5 team, Homer's Heroes).
Skating in the eval session is nerve-wracking enough, especially considering the fact that when I skated for evals, it was only my second time on the ice at CP. Needless to say, it was much less stressful this time to stand there with a pad and pen while the skaters did all of the hard work.
So, as we casually milled around beside the rink, with a subtle air of superiority, some 70+
skaters (I recall around 60 in my session) warmed up and got ready to impress us.
I was there mainly for support. I figured Carrie and Eric would do all of the selection, and I'd collar guys as they came off of the ice to lure them into the rarified air of D6 hockey. Besides, I didn't want to compare notes with Carrie and find out that our eye for quality rec-league hockey skill diverged significantly. In addition, Carrie had done some serious recruiting in the off-season. Turns out we only really needed one or two skaters, and therefore we could afford to be picky.
We kept simple lists: a column for Yes
and a column for No
. We jotted down the numbers on the laminated cards pinned to everyone's jerseys based on skill and propensity to fit into D6. The obvious choices -- fast skaters, obvious skill players, good shots -- were about as likely to make our cut as the guys who tripped over the blue lines. There would simply be too much competition for the upper tier of player, so why bother? Turns out my list was pretty compatible with Carrie's, and overlapped where it counted. I recognized a couple of folks from my Wednesday clinic
, but not the kinds I'd stick my neck out and try to recruit.
After sitting around cracking jokes at the skaters' expense -- including our current goalie Dominic, who was looking for more ice time on an additional team -- the water break came. I boasted that the drills they ran during my eval session were harder -- where the fuck was the skate-on-one-blade-and-kick-the-other-leg-up-to-the-outstretched-stick drill? -- and we agreed to divide and conquer based on the top 5 or so on our lists. Being the betting guy that I am, I guessed that the guys I was slated to corner would "want to skate in D3 or D4".
And I was right. It wasn't like these guys were superstars. Sure, we could be picky, and were therefore targeting better players, but it was almost as humiliating to get the pseudo-reverse-rejection as it was to skate in a fishbowl with hopes that a team would pick you up. The interchange would go something like this:Me:
Hey, I'm John.Them:
Hey, I'm [redacted
So, what division are you looking to skate in?Them:
D3 or D4. [I fucking knew it!
] What division are you guys in?Me:
] We're a strong D6 team [And by "strong", I mean we went 5-12 last season
.], and we've got some solid D3, D2 players on our team [Great coaching, Carrie!
]. We only need, like, one guy, so we're looking for another star.Them:
] Um, yeah, OK, I see.
Yeah, so, I'll tell you what. Here's my captain's contact info, her name is Carrie. Give us a holler if you're interested. [Voice and body language projecting: "You know, when you can't get on a team above D5, you egotistic fuck."
And so it went. As it turns out, Carrie and Brian were more successful in their pursuits while I was cannon fodder. I like to think that by covering the D3 wannabes on our list, I freed them up to pursue more realistic finds. Turns out, we picked up one guy on our list...who was ranked as a 3 by the rink. Carrie's contention is that the rink is much more generous with their rankings, and notorious about inflating the rankings they send out to team captains after evals. She noted that out of our list of No
s, the rink ranked "a 4/5, two 5s, 2 5/6s, 9 out of 13 6s, and 7 out of 9 7s."
Naturally, I joked "I shudder to think of how they ranked me."
Carrie's response? A 6.
But, she continued, "You're not a ringer, but you're solid, and besides, everyone on the team likes you. Personality matters."
I'll take it.
Labels: Chelsea Piers, Evals