Lazarus"What we need here is some absolutely awful slogan that gets put on a poster," I said. I was with Eli 14.8 on our daily morning walk through the mall. "Something that describes the awfulness."
"Oh, no," he said.
"I got it," I said. " 'Sometimes you have to get your guts ripped out to know how many guts you really have'," I said.
"That is totally horrible," he said, laughing.
"Inspirational poster on the way," I said.
Eli survived, like you knew he would. So did I, after the butcher knife in my insides started to dissolve.
I've learned quite a bit about the process while we've been here. This is how it works.
First, teams have both spring tryouts and fall tryouts during the spring. Spring tryouts are going on now, and the spring season goes from now to Memorial Day, roughly.
Every time is signing extra skaters now. Instead of 15 skaters on a team, for example, the spring team might have 25, or even 30.
For most teams, almost their entire roster from fall will come from the spring team.
Once the spring season is over, some of the extra skaters will get cut. That becomes a free agency pool, in essence, that the other teams will pick through.
The fall tryout period is for teams to find one or two players, or fill some role on the team that they need.
For Eli, that makes it tough, because he can't play on the spring team.
Still, though, he's played very well, and he somehow looked very sharp last night at what might or might not have been a courtesy skate.
The confusion is over the team's goalie situation, which is unusual. They already have two goalies committed for spring, but one of those kids is playing elsewhere in the fall. So if the coach wants to, he could make that fall commit during spring tryouts.
He asked Eli to come back for tonight's skate, so we'll see what happens. Incredibly, he may somehow have another chance, and if he could have chosen, he would have much preferred playing for this team than the one that cut him.
For it to happen, he's going to have to come up big in tonight's skate. Very big.
One good thing is that being up here, playing with a bunch of kids who play on top-fifteen teams nationally, has clearly shown that he can play up here. He's never looked overwhelmed, and he's been better than the vast majority of goalies trying out.
What he doesn't have yet, though, is a place to play. I would have no problem moving up here and having him play below the tier one level for a year, but we still have to find a team. This whole process is tailor-made for people who live here (which makes sense), and trying out from somewhere else is just not very workable. So if he's trying out for tier one while already living in Michigan, with coaches who have seen him, he has a huge advantage over coming in from nowhere.