My good friend Steve Devlin is the most productive person I've ever met, and I've met a lot of productive people. I'm sure when he passes away, he'll still help them screw down the lid, and show them how to soap the screws to make driving them easier.
He builds houses on Cape Cod, in Massachusetts. He helped me to build my house, and we've worked together many times. He's made his Central Cape Construction into that rarest of things: a success that deserves its success. Look out for flying wood! he says, and means it. To paraphrase, Steve is halfway round the foundation while the competition is still lacing its shoes.
We used to play in a band together, back in the day. It was the same way. If it needed doing, Steve was doing it while you decided, and laughing the whole time. Every once in a while he calls me and I hear the Blues Brothers yell in the receiver: I'm getting the band back together, man.
We were atrocious back then, but sublime. I can't describe it any better than that. In entertainment, you simply have to give the audience a compelling reason to look at you. We always did that, one way or the other. There's lots of ways to accomplish that. I suppose you could try learning to play your instruments properly, but that sounds hard. Steve used to say we were the band you had to see twice. The first time to have the most fun you ever had, and the second time to figure out we stunk.
Steve has done another thing which is rare and wonderful. He started a real, live tradition. Someone has to be the guy that says: You know, I think we should have a parade on Saint Patrick's Day. People might come. Steve is that man.
Only with him, it's hockey, and the The Lobster Pot Tournament. Steve was a good hockey player. He taught his sons in their turn to play, and helped the area he lives in to teach their kids, too. Like a true good citizen, he didn't lose interest just because his kids were too old for it after a while. He kept going.
I remember when he first tried to put together the tournament. He beat the bushes and worked like a slave and paid all sorts of money out of his own pocket that no one knew about because he thought it mattered. Then that rarest of things I mentioned happened. Everyone else embraced it, too, and it's become a tradition.
"I took my sons to a college hockey game, and they really liked the whole atmosphere," said tournament director Steve Devlin. "And on the way home they remarked how great it would be to play in a game like that. So when we started this tournament, we wanted to bring that kind of fun to our games. We want this to be a fun tournament for the kids and for the fans."
The action started last night and runs through Sunday afternoon with the teams combining for a total of 64 games.
Teams will be competing in four divisions: Crawfish (Mini Mites), 1 1/4 Pounders (Mite C), 2-Pound Broiled (Mite B) and 3-Pound Baked Stuffed (Mite A). Of the five BYHA teams in the tournament, four will be competing in the 2-Pound Broiled division with the fifth squad in line to contend for the 3-Pound Baked Stuffed crown. (The Enterprise)
So Steve got us all out of bed on Sunday morning at hockey mom hours, year after year, and we stand on the mezzanine freezing to death and watching the kids bob like buoys across the ice. Steve's son, who we told you about here before, is playing music with us in the pick-up band instead of hockey now. That's him over on the far left, along with my friend Chopper and another fellow from the band Cape Fear. They're the ones that sound like they practice.
I'm getting old, I guess. I'll still show up, though, if Steve tells me to. When the sun comes up, the birds sing, though they don't know why.
Arena Rock from sippican cottage on Vimeo.