ShadowA man once told me, “What you do when you’re alone defines who you are.”

He continued on to say, with that said, you want to do good when you’re alone, then, don’t you? So you should work hard and try to always do the right thing, because if you do the right things, God loves it.

Of course, God does love it when we do good (because he knows it’s much better for us), but he knows the truth. The truth, in my mind, is that we cannot do that. We cannot be a vine of poison ivy, and grow plump, juicy plums. Mmm… plums.

We can’t do good without being loved by God. Another man told me that the desire to do good is not from the flesh, but that it’s from God.

The cool thing is, there’s a neat (I mean, really neat) opportunity given to us by the creator of the entire universe, an opportunity to  be saved from the person in the dark. Our shadow. In the bible it talks about our bodies being flesh (as opposed to spirit), and how we’re broken, and that because of that we want those things that will only hurt us. It’s who we are. Not who we were intended to be, but who we are, nonetheless.

I would say I always found truth in the the statement “What you do when you’re alone defines who you are.” Today, for the first time, I was able to see it differently.

Originally, I said, “Of course, that makes sense. We are who we are when no one’s watching. It’s easier to be good when other people are wrong. So we should strive to be better without the extra help.” As a competitive person, I took it as a challenge. But, I’ve been coming to the realization (through reading books provided by my dad) that I cannot accomplish that goal, without God. At the point that you accept God’s love and grace, I don’t think it’s a goal anymore, anyway.

Today, though, I thought that it makes total sense that way. (It’s interesting how confident I am in my changed perspective.) I mean that we’re prone (pre-love/grace) to be that person in the dark who does bad things in the dark, because we don’t want the good things, we’re broken. Deep down it’s the good things that we’re looking for, but we find the bad things first, and more easily.

It’s the eternal struggle: we’re trying to be who we were created to be, but we’re fighting with what we are. We will always be fighting the person we don’t want to be, our dark side, our shadow. Our flesh is exactly like our shadow. It’s a dark form, shaped like us, that will always be with us, and surrounds us in the dark. It’s a sad reality, but that’s what sin creates: sad realities.

My point, I would suppose, is that we will always want what is bad, but that through God’s grace, we have a chance to… I was going to say overshadow, you know, to be clever, but I think that’s wrong. God’s grace is an amazing chance to beat the system. To be able to fight off the inner desires, that harm us. The desires even we don’t want, deep in our souls. That’s the part of us that’s created in God’s image.

My other point, is that the fruit can’t come before the the plant is planted. We cannot change, and stand zero chance against our flesh, our shadow, if we don’t accept Jesus. I don’t mean that you can’t be a good person without Jesus, rather, I mean this: without Jesus, we tend to screw things up.

I can only speak for myself, but, that’s my two cents.


Knights Fight (Futilely) in Sunday’s Plight

4679Sunday’s game left a “strange taste” in the mouth of Canandaigua Knights goalie Ian Campbell. When asked to elaborate  he said, “… Yeah, you know, it’s a weird feeling. We lost, horribly, but it’s not like no one else has lost to this team. I thought it was a good game as far as what we were capable of doing. But obviously we couldn’t beat them today, and honestly, I don’t think our team is built to beat them at all. I guess I feel like we just showed some promise finally. Through these losses, no one’s been able to see our upside, but today, I felt like today we showed we can win some hockey games.”

The game was against the Monroe County Youth Hockey South-1 Eagles. (Yes, more Eagles. In total there are five teams whose mascot is the eagle.) The MCYH S-1 Eagles are one of the teams that has been blessed with the gift of a large pool of players to draft from. Apparently, when you aren’t beggars, you get to be choosers! With a roster full of players better, both physically and mentally, than 90% of the Knights’ team, they were a strong favorite coming into the game.

Their strength had already been demonstrated, as they were 10-1-0 coming into the game, beating every team in the league, and trading games with the Eagles of Brockport (who, by the way, are, according to their website, 7-1-1, as of 1-13-15. Too many commas, man!)

The game started out as expected with the MCYH S-1 Eagles jumping up 2-0 pretty much instantly.

“The first goal was a group effort on both sides,” said Coach Nick Van Stralen. “It was a combination of beautiful passing from them, and a lack of focus from us. They put Ian in an undesirable position, and capitalized.”

The second goal was just the consummation of the Eagles working harder than the Knights.

“This team was different than almost everyone else, even Brockport,” Noah Kurz, who played an excellent game positioned at defenseman. “I found it tough to match their intensity, you know, they just battled everywhere, in the corners, and in the open ice. It didn’t matter they battled wherever.”

The Eagles followed up with two unmemorable goals to finish out the period with a lead of 4-0. It was a tough, demoralizing period, but, the Knights knew this was a possibility and were rather even-keel in the intermission huddle.

“Guys, you can’t stop, you’ve got to keep skating,” Van Stralen reminded. “Just like I said before, these guys will never stop, so you gotta keep going with them!”

Campbell followed that by asking each player for their very best. Whatever they had, that’s what the Knights needed.

The second period started out with the Knights being out shot about 20 to 3, in seven minutes. The Eagles were heavily pressuring the Knights, and the Knights defense was stepping up, despite the amount of shots.

“I was having a hard time with rebound control. I was able to get some [rebounds] in to the corners, but most of the time, I was leaving them hanging out in front of the net, and I was able to make follow-up… [saves], and the defense got a bunch out of the crease for me. I was saying ‘Thank you!’ a lot today.”

Campbell was hurt in a scrum, near the seven minute mark in the second period. It was an upper body injury that hadn’t been announced earlier in the week, that he tweaked.

“I don’t really want to talk about it too much, ’cause, you know, it’s hockey, and we don’t actually talk about injuries, but I hurt it in the early fall, and it’s been getting better, but I tweaked it earlier in the week, and today, I hurt it again pretty badly.”

Despite that, the Knights were forced, by lack of another goalie, to play Campbell. “I was fine, as far as continuing to play, I can feel how much I’m going to be hurting later today, and into tomorrow. I’ll be ready to go for this weekend though.”

Note: Campbell missed Monday’s practice.

Campbell was indeed fine during the rest of the game, though he allowed four more goals, his play was exceptional.

“If you guys want to talk about me, that’s fine, but my defense put me in pretty good position. I’ll admit I had a few good saves,” he smiles. “But I know why I was able to make a majority of those saves: my defense.”

While Campbell was right, the defense held better than usual, they also hung him out to dry a few times.

Immediately following his injury, the Eagles got a 2-on-0 break away, and capitalized rather easily. They followed it up with another 2-on-0, and went up 6-0

The Knights modified top line* was able to put in a goal to bring it closer, and someone else (who wasn’t able to be seen) scored to make it 6-2, a comeback had begun.

*The top line was Karekos, Furhmann, Reston, because Jeremy Trillaud (illness) and Alec Melroy (parents weren’t home) were unable to attend the game, and therefore Kody Laird, and Noah Kurz stepped up to fill those positions. (Another notable absence was left wing Ryan Mack, who was out for undisclosed reasons.)

The Knights carried the momentum into the third, and they were able to keep the puck in the Eagles’ defensive zone for sustained amounts of time, it was an interesting turn of events, and it got even more interesting when the Knights most awesome player (MAP) Nick Colucci, put in a great one-timer (well, failed one-timer) goal, to bring the Knights within three goals.

“This is me being the eternal optimist,” Campbell said. “But I always think we have a chance to win, and when we went on a three goal streak I thought for sure we could tie or beat these guys. I’ll bet even Pete[ermichael Karekos] thought we could win.”

“Even I thought we could win!” said Karekos. “I had some sexy passes with Gavin [Furhmann], and Mac [Reston]. We were on fire!”

The Knights played extremely well defensively, up until the last three minutes of the game where they were caught being aggressive on offense, and the Eagles got a pair of breakaways and made the Knights pay.

“Like I said, there’s weird taste in my mouth after this one. I’ve never been in a better competition with anyone, and we lost eight to three. It was just a great atmosphere, and I can’t wait to play them again.”

Before they meet again, the Knights have a promising stretch of schedule ahead of them. They have four games in which the odds are even or in their favor. And if they were to run the table, they’d be that much closer to the third seed in the league.

Buckle up, folks, stuff’s about to go down.


Knights Two-Faced in Doubleheader

Two-Face (Harvey Dent)The Canandaigua Knights are proving to be quite the conundrum. They are 3-5-1 in nine games; just one game past halfway and two games out of .500. They’ve shown they can beat the teams they should, but have been spotty in games facing opponents of a higher caliber.

The story line for the 2014-15 Knights has been defensive struggles contrasted by offensive successes.  They’ve scored 32 goals, but conversely, they have allowed 41 goals.

In a barn-burner on Saturday, the Knights put 5 goals past the Perinton Blades goaltender, but they also allowed 9 (NINE!!!!!!) goals. In games with nine goals against, “no one can take enough [blame]” according to the Knights goaltender Ian Campbell.

“There’s way more than enough blame to go around,” says Campbell. “No one can take enough of it. We had a lack of focus, effort, and execution. It’s on me first and foremost, because I’m the goalie, but the other guys also know what they did wrong, and what they did right. We know what we have to fix to win. We did nothing right today. So whatever we did today, if we don’t do it next game, we’ll win.”

Alex Melroy, a forward, and team leader said of his play, “I [stunk].” During this part of Melroy’s interview, Campbell, the goalie, came up behind Melroy in the locker room, and nodded vigorously.

“It was a total defensive breakdown,” said the defenseman Noah Van Stralen. “We were horrible.”

On the offensive side of things, the Knights were excellent with five goals. The problem was getting offensive pressure (not goals, but goals are nice, too) out of any line except the top line. The first line (Karekos, Furhmann, Kurz) had at least three goals, if not four. (Sorry, this is all done by memory and you tend to forget games that you lose 9-5.) The rest of the lines had spotty pressure, but nonetheless accounted for one or two of the other goals.

The Knights were thankful that they were given an opportunity to rebound the next day in Geneseo against the Livingston Cnty. Blues. The Knights went into the game a little cowed, but they were determined to redeem a little respect.

“I yelled at ’em before the game,” Asst. Coach Scott Reston said. “I told them to work hard, and love the game. It’s important to work hard all the way through.”

The Knights played a great first period, dominating a lesser team, as they should have, but the opposing goaltender did exceptionally racking up eleven saves in the first period.

In a particularly offensive offensive-zone possession for the Blues, they set up an excellent shooting lane, and they deflected the puck past Knights goalie Ian Campbell.

“I didn’t even get mad after that one. I was a little disappointed because my defense had done so well forcing long shots all game, but I couldn’t have done anything about it when they tipped it.”

Soon after though, Knights top goal-scorer Gavin Furhmann scored a beautiful goal to tie.

At the start of the second period the Knights continued their pressure getting a little aid from the refs in the way of penalties. Their problem was they weren’t scoring.  Even more problematic was the fact that about five minutes into the second period there was a scrum for the puck at the Knights’ defensive zone blue-line. Knight’s defenseman Sid Klass stepped up and got caught in the kerfuffle, thus when the Blues offensive player retrieved the puck, there was no defense, leaving an indefensible two on none, which the Blues scored on.

“That was unfortunate, it really was,” Head Coach Nick Van Stralen said. Because we had been dominating as far as skill, effort, time of possession, offensive attack time, and general overall domination.”

Fortunately for the Knights, Logan Davis scored. It was a excellent goal  that occurred on a freak breakaway.

“I deked the two guys, fell on my [bottom] and put it top shelf. Then I sat there thinking, ‘Did I just score?’.”

After that the Knights took over in the third period. They put away two goals, and pressured the Blues the rest of the game.


Alec Melroy was NOT wearing a mouthguard, and he chipped his tooth, and it looks sick.

Also, Ian Campbell is suffering a stiff neck after a tough hit he took in the first period of Sunday’s game. (It was almost unbearable to watch. Any normal person would have most likely, probably died. Vicious, vi-cious hit.)

The Knights are enjoying themselves and that’s what’s important. They’re refocussed after being spanked on Saturday, and Sunday was a launching point to get ahead in a tight league.