Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sunday morning homily III

It's amazing, isn't it, how much difference one week can make?

Last Sunday, we found ourselves taking in all things hockey, from scoring autographs to watching practices, at the Tampa Bay Lightning's annual back-to-hockey IceFest for fans. Now, seven days later, we find ourselves wondering what to do until the Lightning's home opener Oct. 11 against the Carolina Hurricanes.

In the preseason, I suppose, it's either hockey feast or famine.

What we're having a hard time understanding, however, is how Lightning fans, ourselves included, can't follow this morning's exhibition in Berlin. It's not on TV. Nor is it on the radio. Even is unhelpful, offering only a score, but nothing else.

Granted, it's just an exhibition within the team's preseason schedule. The result won't count in the Lightning's win-loss record. Neither will any points, no matter how beautiful or pedestrian. That doesn't mean, though, that some of us wouldn't mind spending a portion of our Sunday morning following along.

Though the league's desire to grow the game beyond North America is admirable, especially because the game boasts a pretty diverse pool of players, the NHL shouldn't forget about its bread and butter -- fans here at home who have spent a summer waiting for the puck -- any puck, for that matter -- to drop.

Yes, I know I should be happy with the memories gained over the past month, surely enough to tide me over for the next few weeks, but I feel a tad slighted about not being able to watch or listen as the Lightning begins a history-making, continent-crossing road trip to Europe.

How 'bout them Rays?

While hockey will always be Game One here at Hound Central 4.0, I'd be remiss if congratulations weren't extended to the Tampa Bay Rays for winning the American League East title.

It's been a remarkable run since April, with the Rays, a perennial junior circuit doormat, surprising nearly everyone with their head-over-heels play, amazing walk-off wins and a thumbing of their noses toward more traditional powerhouses in Beantown and the Big Apple.

The Rays' first-ever playoff series starts Thursday at the Trop here in St. Petersburg. We may not get tickets to any of the games, but it won't keep us from cheering them on. After all, it's like the Rays have said all season long -- We Are One Team.

Back from the Wild

While most of you enjoyed a restful night of sleep in either the crisp fall air or, in warmer climates, air-conditioned comfort, two of Humidity Bay's Goofiest Dudes spent last night camping out in the backyard. To be honest, it wasn't all that bad.

It wasn't all that muggy and, save for the occasional siren or loud vehicle, we heard more wildlife (cicadas, frogs and birds) than anything else before finally nodding off to sleep. Heck, we even slept in until 8:30 a.m.

Granted, our air mattresses and sleeping bags were far from a night in a suite at the Vinoy. Still, keeping a promise to camp out provided more than enough comfort for both of us.

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