Aeros equipment manager and resident comedian Rick Bronwell continues his Aeros.com blog. Rick loves hearing from his fans...rather, Aeros fans...so e-mail him now!
I just want to preface this whole thing with a story. And I’ve got to thank Stanzel for typing this part up for me, since you’ll see in a minute why I’m not currently the best typer in the world.
It’s about Tuesday night’s game. We were having a good time, playing well, we were up 1-0. Everything’s good. I work the door on our bench. In the first period, Wilkie (linesman Paul Wilkinson), he comes over to me. Him and I are pretty good friends, we talk a lot on the bench. I have the coolest job in sports, like a first baseman in baseball, getting to talk to everyone. Wilkie usually hops up on the bench when guys dump it low around the boards so he doesn't get hit. Watch at the game and you’ll see it happen. He hops on the boards in the first period and the door is sort of open. We shut the door and he almost got his fingers caught. I was like “Hey man, I’m not going to get your fingers.”
What Rick Bronwell saw...(Clockwise from bottom: Lois from Family Guy, Roman Voloshenko, trainer Jerry Meins, asst. equipment manager Donny White and director of communications Ryan Stanzel)
What the top-notch medical team saw
Well guess what? Oh…my…gosh. The second period comes along, everything was fine and dandy. I’m playing the new Family Guy game on PSP on the bench. Just kidding. We’d had no stick breakages, we’re still up 1-0, with a minute left. Roman apparently had a bad shift, or got mad at someone. I was looking behind the play for broken sticks. I opened the door and kind of set my hand down because there were more guys coming off on the line change. Roman was really mad and he slammed the door as hard as he could. Guys do that a lot when they’re upset. He yelled something in Russian. “Nyet nyet” I think. I find out that the tip of my ring finger on my right hand is caught in the crack of the door where it shuts.
Usually when that happens, the door doesn’t latch or actually shut. It’ll hit your finger and will hurt, but the door bounces open. It’s happened to me plenty of times. No, here the door actually latched. I had to manually pull my finger out, with a minute left in the period. I looked down and I’m thinking that hurt so bad, I’m expecting to see a purple nail or something. No, there’s blood everywhere.
So I start freaking out. I run off the bench without saying anything. I walk back to the room. I’m looking for gauze. I can’t find any because Jerry puts it up high with the Snickers and Rice Krispies Treats. I’m getting blood all over everything. I look down, and as soon as I get the gauze on it to get the blood to coagulate. Doc Vanek comes in and Jerry does too, and they look at it and say, “Yep, it’s broken”. There’s a huge gash on the bottom side, and my nail is separated. Apparently I broke the very tip of my finger.
I said “Doc, seriously I need to get back in there. They’re counting on me. I’m so important to this team. I got a consecutive game streak going. I’ve got to get back out there.”
He said “You can’t Rick, you’ve got to throw in the towel.”
I said “No Doc, put me back in.”
So he pulls out a shot of something. I don’t know what it was, but man it was good. My finger goes numb and I get taped up. I get a huge brace on my finger. I think they just took a hockey stick and bent it with some heat and put it around my finger, that’s how big it was. I finish the game. I’m a hockey trainer, it’s what we do. It all worked out in the end. That’s what we call karma. We may have to write a song about that.
The funny thing is that Dieter was sitting there and asked what happened. Donny said, “I think he got his finger smashed in the door.” Dieter said “No, he’s faking it, there’s no way. He’s got to be kidding.”
I showed Dieter the bandage and he still thought it was a farce. So I had to show him my finger.
But it could have been worse. While all this is going on, Wilkie told me that one time at the old Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio, he got his…shall I say, upper, upper hip caught in the door? It ripped through his pants, underwear, everything. So it could have been worse. I’ve still got my figure.
Speaking of the CD…My finger is ok to play the guitar, so Benny and I are going to go into the studio next week and probably record one or two more songs. One about Bucee’s for sure. Maybe a love song for the ladies. Keep paying attention to Aeros.com for the release date for “Hold the Mayo”. You’ll love the name of the album, too!
Ok on to what was going to be the blog. I liked the timeline idea.
12 a.m. Tuesday at Toyota Center
Hey everyone. Ricky B, Ravishing Rick here, with my assistant Donny White. We’re just starting to get the equipment bags into the room at Toyota Center after the Rockets/T-Wolves game. We just got done unloading Omaha. I actually helped Donny there this time. They’re unpacking as we speak. I’m sure they’ll go out to Wild West after that, Sieger (Omaha equipment manager Greg Sieg) likes Wild West. Donny just put on his I-Pod. We’ve got some Jimmy Buffett going on. A little Jimmy B on the radio. We’re going to put all the bags in, and I’ll get back to you when we get done with the hanging process. If we come up with something good in the meantime, we’ll be back.
That didn’t take long. Well, you tell us if it’s good or not. We’ve gotten seven or eight equipment bags in, and the stick cart. You have to remember that these bags are about 35-45 pounds each. And the goalie bags are about 52 or 53 pounds. So when you’re carrying 23 of them, you start to realize which ones are heavy and which ones aren’t. Mattias Weinhandl has the heaviest equipment bag I’ve ever felt in my life.
All the bags are in the room and in the players’ stalls. We’re starting to unpack.
We have all the gear hung up. The fans are out. We use one big carpet blower, two little metal fans and two little blowers I got from Pep Boys. What you want to do when you dry the gear, is have a circular motion of air. It doesn’t matter if you have fan blowing on one thing, it’s gotta’ be moving around the room. And you definitely have to have AC on in Houston. And you have to have a nice exhaust system to get the old air our and the new air in.
I got the sticks unpacked on our rack. We bring them back and forth too. Usually the guys will put out the sticks they want at SLICE, we put numbers on the wall so they just line them up. We tape those up, put them on the cart and bring it over. Then we use the cart for dirty underwear, jerseys, socks, etc.
We’re having fun because we moved from Buffett to Nelly. It’s the version they can’t sell at Wal-Mart.
Donny’s putting out all the shower supplies. Normally what we give guys, is we have shaving cream and disposable razors, the two bladed ones. They have baby soft faces. Saline solution, hair spray (LA Looks) of course. Degree deodorant, the spray stuff. Stick deodorant is nasty with this many guys. Body lotion, Gold Bond baby powder. We have LA Looks hair gel, maximum hold 10. The guys love their hair hard. We’ve got some more hairspray, but I think it’s left over from the Rockets Power Dancers.
We’ve also got hand sanitizer and Vaseline. Fighters, or if you get cut on the face, you put Vaseline on top of it, so the cut doesn’t get reopened if you get hit again. Also, we use mouthwash, we have little cups set up, and a hairdryer.
We’ve also got two-pot coffee machine set up. We supply them with packets of sugar, stir sticks, Folger’s coffee, thanks to our deal with Sysco. We have International Delight French Vanilla creamers. The guys have to have this for some reason. And of course we have the ticket envelopes for will call.
We use Tressame shampoo. Professional, affordable, Tressame. Ooh lah lah.
Right now Donny is putting up the underwear. We have a change room where everyone has their own number and hook. When they come into the rink in the morning, they get changed in here into t-shirt, shorts, etc. There are two different kinds of socks, there are thick and thin, it’s all about personal preference.
We’re putting out tape too. The clear tape is used for socks. We have white and black tape used for knobs on the sticks. Thin white and thin black, thick white and thick black. We also have grip tape that goes over the other tape. We have red, green and black grip tape. And of course the most important piece on the tape rack is the bubble gum. It has a nice shot of juice in the middle when you bite it. Right next to that is my skate and equipment board if they need stuff done.
For an upcoming blog we’ll try to get a camera in here to give you a look at what it’s really like.
Now we’ll put the towels up and get the coaches unpacked. We’ll talk then.
Donny and I just found the heaviest bag. Even heavier than Weinhandl. We have coaches bags that we use for our clothes, the coaches use them, one is the flip flop bag. And the soccer ball goes in that one too. The guys gotta’ have their soccer ball for hand-eye…well hand-foot coordination. These bags are 1/4 the size of player bags, but Jerry Meins…I love you…but he has two coaches bags and they are the heaviest bags I’ve ever carried in my life. They’re so heavy, oh my goodness. They’re small, you don’t think they’ll be heavy. You go to pick it up like you would a pillow, and I threw my back out twice already.
I’m laying down on my couch in my beautiful equipment room at Toyota Center. I’m getting ready to go to sleep. I have my alarm set for 7 a.m. The guys start showing up at 8:30. I’ll get up, I’ve got some skates to do, a couple of glove repairs.
Today was all in all a productive day. We started the day at 6 a.m. at SLICE. We practiced at 10 a.m. The guys packed their bags, and we put them on the truck. We got out of there about 5, because Donny had to drive to the airport and get Omaha and their stuff. They came in at 2 p.m. Their guys went to the hotel to do whatever. I went home, spent some time with the family, trimmed up the beard. I watched a couple of my Tivo’d shoes. CSI: Las Vegas, love it, it’s unbelievable. A little Family Guy, which Heather still doesn’t get. I record them all on Adult Swim at 2 a.m. and she gets mad. Family Guy is what grinds my gears.
Sleep well. I’ll see you in the morning.
I’m awake. Donny’s up. We’re getting ready to go throw some skates on the sharpener. I’ve got about five or six pairs to do. Guys do them before the pre-game skate or after. I usually have five guys before, and then there are like 10 guys after. The guys who do it before are Ratchuk, Morgan, Hamilton, Stoner, Weinhandl. Murph always waits. He sharpens his whenever, and not all the time. If he does do it, it’s before the skate.
Donny’s going to make some Gatorade for our room. I’ll make it for the visitors. Donny now says he’s going to make it for everyone. He’s in a dangerous mood. He must want a blog. Cool, rock on. We’ll see you guys.
They have this beautiful lunch here at Toyota Center on weekdays from 11-1. It’s $3 for people who work here, buffet style. Today it was Enchiladas, rice and turkey tortilla soup. It was fantastic. Churros for dessert, and a nice tortilla salad too. $3 lunch, can’t beat that. Tetarenko came and ate with us.
We just got word that Wardo got called up to Minnesota. He’s driving to Toyota Center as I type. He’s going to pick up his gear. We’ve got his stuff packed, and his skates are sharpened for the game in Dallas tonight. He’s going to Hobby and flying out to Dallas.
Everything’s going well. The skates are done. I usually get them done right after the skate. There were about nine or 10 guys who got the skates sharpened this morning.
Now we wait for the stickboys to show up, and they’ll get the benches ready for the game. This is a nice part of the day. Donny’s working on laundry. The visitors skated at 11:15, so we have to wash their jerseys and hang them.
Oh, before I forget. Game jerseys, you never dry them, ever. Never. They shrink. They’re made of a polyester blend. They’ll shrink automatically with heat. Guys always complain the jerseys are small anyways. So you wash them in cold water, with fabric softener, and then let them air dry.
One of Omaha’s players blew out the back of their pants. It was on a seam so it was an easy fix on the sewing machine. Our guys have done that before, “Hey Tricky, I tore my pants today, can you fix them.” So here I am, re-stitching. A tailor is now on my resume as well.
We are going to leave you with the quote of the day, maybe of the month. Here it is: “Daddy, don’t eat poopoo because it’s icky.” It’s what my daughter said to me yesterday. Right from the words of a three-year-old girl. That’s my girl, growing up to be one heck of an observationist. Love ya, Ash. I think Mommy has been teaching her things she probably shouldn’t be while I’m at work. Actually, it’s probably a nice life lesson. That should be the theme of the next album, Volume 2.
Now I’m going to go rub my bear paws. I got them from Heather’s mom and her significant other. It’s a little wooden tree stump that’s carved into a bear. He’s my little personal good luck charm. We tried to have him on the bench for our games but we lost three in a row. Little Pawsy has been retired to the top of my work station at Toyota Center. Pawsy, I still love you, you’re my boy. He’s right next to the Vick’s Vapo Rub which is a must for me at night. I sleep so good.
I’m sitting here watching Discovery Channel, which is a big surprise. Man vs. Wild…This Bear Bryant guy...He is a lunatic, the stuff he does is just crazy. I think he’s skiing in the Alaskan mountains. He was walking over a glacier in ski boots. Now he’s walking through a jungle with a bunch of foliage. He’s yelling through the woods to scare bears away. I hope to God I’m never skiing in Alaska and get caught, because I’ll never remember any of this.
The other thing I love, when I’m watching Discovery Channel, are the info ads. Billy Mays, the guy with the beard. He’s crazy. He’s nuts. Billy Mays, here, for the new Never Scrub. Never scrub your toilet again, call us for a free never scrub your toilet thing. I ordered one, and it works pretty good.
This all got to be pretty long, and well now I can’t type anymore thanks to the aforementioned incident. So we’ll have the mother of all mailbags next week. Don’t forget to send me your comments, questions, recipes, etc.