The last few days at the rink were surreal, as the building slowly came down around us. I’d come in for a game and find myself staring at a blank wall trying to identify why it looked wrong. Ah, that’s where all the championship banners used to be. the next game, benches were missing, just the flat ends of bolts left in the cement. By the finals, we were watching the walls of the batting cages come down one at a time.
When I was a kid, I had a treehouse my dad built for me in a walnut tree out back. On the day before I left for college, my parents took it down. I remember watching the boards fall from the tree one at time, and how they sounded when they hit the dirt. This feels a little like that did. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve recognized that sensation, and thought of that old treehouse, more and more often. The disassembly of things once thought permanent.
The last copper league championship ended in calamity, two-thirds of my team storming out over an offense I couldn’t see. Really, I think it was about the blank walls, the missing benches, the falling boards. Only three of us remained on the floor after the buzzer to congratulate our opponents.
We’re disappearing too.
By the last pickup game tonight, there wasn’t much left but the glass and the floor, and a handful of diehards playing posts while the clock ran down. There were walls missing. It’s bizarre the things you think are permanent until they’re not there anymore, and it turns out they weren’t load-bearing after all.
At one point I looked up to see how much time we had left and realized the clock was gone too.
The buzzer was still there though and it eventually did it’s thing. We shed gear and packed bags, shook hands and traded emails. I gave the rink manager the Wash speech and walked out into the parking lot.
And that’s the game, I guess.