Ball Hockey Report for 2 March
written by Dave Gutteridge
It was the greatest day of hockey, but also the end of the greatest era of hockey. Paul Robertson, founder of the TSHA, is leaving Japan after 27 years of being in the country, and 29 years of declaring he would leave it "next year". This was his last Friday Night Lights for a while, until he gets bored of tropical Hawaiian sunsets and comes back to visit his true home.
Paul, if you don't know, started the TSHA back in 1996, by posting an ad looking for ball hockey players in the Tokyo Classifieds, a weekly classifieds paper that was how people put the word out before the internet changed society for the worse. Our first game was in September of that year, and even though various other people took over the running of the organization, Paul has always been active in helping the group, organizing excursions to other countries and helping to get our yearly tournament, the Yamato Cup, going.
Paul is the one who made the Golden Godzilla, Silver Gamera, and Bronze Mothra that competitors from all over the world vie for. The TSHA would not have been what it is without Paul.
Paul did manage to mark the occasion of his last night with at least one really decent goal, though in the last three minutes he had about four solid chances to walk off the rink on the highest note, but just couldn't quite capitalize. It was a big turnout for Paul's last day, with both teams having three or four subs, plus some floaters. We also had two goalies, Chris on one end, and some dude from Boston (editors note: Steve) who seemed to be on the verge of dying from exhaustion for the last forty minutes of the night. Despite asking every five minutes when the night would end, exposing his desire to go home and have a hot bath and never play hockey again, he came up with some big saves, and the goaltending was pretty much balanced. Play of the night has to go to Damian, who is pretty much brand new to ball hockey, this being only his third or fourth night. He scored his first goal, which happened to be the closing goal of the night, which gave it some added dramatic flair.
The next night was a sayonara party for Paul, at Tokyo's hardest to find restaurant, Hama Chan in Roppongi. We also welcomed back Ghengis Chad from his exile in Milan, and it was sort of a vague send off for fearless leader Rich who is leaving for Boston in a few months. Though I'd be surprised if Rich left the country without more drinking involved somewhere along the way. TSHA regulars were in attendance, and you can see photos on the TSHA Facebook page, if voyeuristically observing low to average looking middle aged men consuming cheap alcohol is your thing. From everyone in the TSHA, thanks Paul, and we know this isn't goodbye, as we'll see you back in Tokyo again!