Now, everyone knows that the greatest sports movie ever made is, without question, Slap Shot. Not that there aren’t viable candidates to add into the debate, such as Bull Durham or Eight Men Out or Unholy Rollers, but any sports fan with even the smallest appreciation of film and/or hockey understands just what an essential piece of work Slap Shot is. It’s hilarious, smart, irreverent and does a great job of defining and satirizing the sometimes absurd, sometimes glorious, up and down relationship true fans have with the chosen team of their obsession. Utterly seminal, it is, and you know it.
A good friend recently mentioned Slap Shot 2 to me and it sent shivers down my spine to even think of it. Of course, it reminded me of that scrap I got into with Stephen Baldwin at a charity hockey event at TD Banknorth Garden in Boston a few years back. Each year celebrities gather to play a game against the Bruins Alumni to benefit The Cam Neely Foundation For Cancer Care. Denis Leary, the prick, is often there, as is Lenny Clarke, Tim Robbins and Alan Thicke. Even Michael J. Fox gets out there from time to time. The crowd goes absolutely apeshit watching that squirrelly little bastard scoot around the ice, I’ll tell ya. Warms the heart.
Anyway, one year I’m there lined up on right wing against none other than S. Baldwin. So, after a period or two of me giving him my less-than-glowing review of Slap Shot 2 and repeatedly asking which VH1 celebreality show he thought he’d end up on, he loses his cool and we have to drop the gloves for a little tussle. Now, you all know damn well Ken Socrates can handle himself in a scrap but the problem with fighting a Baldwin brother is that you never know what the fucker might be on. Lucky for me, ol’ Stevie had nothing more than a few no-doze and a couple of Long Island Iced Teas in him and about 20 seconds in I had his jersey over his head and was feeding him left uppercuts like chocolate bon-bons on Christmas morning. When it was over, there were a couple extra chicklets on the ice and they weren’t mine.
Steve took it well, though, and went on to star in a couple of low budget, made for TV b-movies on the Sci-Fi Channel shortly afterwards so no harm done. His brother Alec left a particularly nasty voice-mail for me but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t long after that he figured out what a bad idea doing that sort of thing was.
So tonight, as I wander aimlessly about the ‘net, I find this.
Paul Newman, my old friend. It might not be such a bad thing that you kicked it before you had a chance to see something that grim.
Someone needs to take my belt away before I decide to join you.