Wintery Dreams in Springtime

Mark My Words

The sun is shining. People are throwing frisbees on lawns. People are playing softball. People are finally enjoying the weather.

Well, almost all people.

Harvard hockey Coach Bill Cleary and Associate Coach Ronn Tomassoni are inside a game room in downtown Boston playing air hockey.

"Okay, let's play a game," Cleary says, "Harvard versus Cornell."

"I'm Harvard," Tomassoni says.

"No, I'm Harvard," Cleary says.

"We're both Harvard," they say and smile.

Cleary sends a shot skipping up the side. Tomassoni drills a shot down the middle.

They are bashing the smooth disk back and forth. They are competing a little. they are trying to send the puck into the other's goal. Mostly, though, they are dreaming.

"I'm Allen Bourbeau," Cleary says.

"I'm Lane MacDonald," Tomassoni says.

Dreaming of next season, six months away, when Olympians Bourbeau and MacDonald will return to Bright Center. Dreaming of ice in the middle of spring.

Back and forth.

"I'm Nick Carone," Cleary says, laughing.

"I'm Eddie Krayer," Tomassoni says, chuckling.

Dreaming of next season, 195 days away, when Krayer and Carone, both of whom took a year off last season, will return to Bright Center. Dreaming of slapshots in the middle of baseball season.

Back and forth. Flowers blooming outside. The grass growing longer. Mrs. Cleary needing her shrubs pruned. Mrs. Tomassoni needing the weeds in her garden pulled. The kids growing older.

Back and forth. Hour after hour. In the dark of a gameroom in Boston.

"I'm Peter Ciavaglia," Cleary says.

"I'm Ted Donato," Tomassoni says.

Cleary sends a shot flying off the side. Tomassoni skips a shot up the middle. Back and forth. Bouncing shots back and forth. Bouncing dreams back and forth.

Dreaming of next season, 4680 hours away, when Ciavaglia and Donato--with one year of collegiate hockey play under their shoulder pads--will return to Bright Center. Dreaming of Zambonis when they should be thinking about the seventh inning stretch.

Dreaming on--of the half-dozen recruits who will find places on the roster next year. Of the Beanpot. Of the ECAC Tournament. Of the NCAA finals. Dreaming of goals, dozens of them, instead of homeruns.

"I'm Josh Caplan."

"I'm Scott McCormack."

"I'm Tod Hartje."

"I'm C.J. Young."

Back and forth. The shrubs growing as large as Redwoods. The weeds taking over the garden. The kids growing up, going to college, getting married. Cleary and Tomassoni still batting the puck back and forth in the dark.

"Okay, let's try again," Cleary says. "We'll play a game--Harvard versus Yale."

"I'm Harvard," Tomassoni says.

"No, I'm Harvard," Cleary says.

"We're both Harvard," they say and smile.

Back and forth. Dreaming of winter in spring.