It’s funny, but there’s something about the crisp weather that will always remind me of playing roller hockey on the block back in the 70’s. Yeah, setting up the net behind Bob Brennan’s Treat Potato Chip truck and hoping that no one breaks one of his tail lights with a near frozen "Scotch 88”. How many of us were there, huh? Six, eight, ten? It’s hard to imagine seeing kids playing in the street now, because that just doesn’t happen in Brooklyn anymore.
Now while most of my friends from the block went to High School in Brooklyn, I was one of the “fortunate” or maybe “un-fortunate” ones who had to make the trek into the City every day. The ride on the F-train was something like one hour and my school was planted right on the corner of Second Avenue and Fifty Seventh Street in Manhattan. So when it came to getting home in time to play with the guys, it was a real pain in the ass. And especially when we had to turn the clocks backward in late October. Because that meant that it was dark by five, and I would only get about 45 minutes worth of pucks shot at me in front of Molly and Martin’s house.
So how did I solve this problem, well when school ended at 3 o’clock I would usually run like hell down 56th street and then up to Third Avenue to try to catch the 3:10 F train from 179th street. The 3:10 would usually roll into Church Avenue about 4 o’clock and that would give me enough time to strap on the pads and the rest of my goalie stuff and skate into the crease by 4:15. Only about 45 minutes of playing time, but I guess it was better than nothing. Oh, but then there were those days that I missed the 4:10 F, and I was cursed with the 4:20 or even worse the 4:30 F to Coney Island. When I was on one of those trains I just about lost all my excitement when it came to playing. That’s because I was doomed to only play for less than a half hour before it got dark.
Yeah, don’t let the sun go down on me. Especially when it came to playing hockey on the block, And especially when the guys were all waiting for me.