Pond Hockey Documentary - Falla/Buccigross

Trip Start Jun 01, 2006
Trip End Jun 30, 2006

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Flag of United States  , Massachusetts
Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Next up was Boston (my first time ever there), where Neali, Andrew's cousin, graciously hosted three guys for a few days.  Tommy was a hit with her little daughter Paisly right away, and she was sad when we finally departed.  Her inability to express time was quite endearing, as she would say things like "we will go to Florida, three months ago." 

When we arrived at Jack Falla's house he warmly greeted us in the driveway, showing his eagerness to participate.  Jack is a former staff writer for Sports Illustrated, and has written a book about playing outdoor hockey called "Home Ice: Reflections on Backyard Rinks and Frozen Ponds".  In fact, his backyard features a well-known rink, the Bacon Street Omni, that he has been flooding for nearly 25 years now - where he taught his son to play and now skates with his grandchildren.  Being on the ice, for Jack, was therapeudic.  He had played hockey outdoors as part of his grieving process when he lost his mother to Cancer as a kid, and it was strongly tied around most of his cherished memories with his wife, Barbara, and their son.  Even though he didn't touch as much on the overall picture of outdoor hockey in the same way as McGrath, his was a story more personal - showing the potential the game had to bring joy and bonding to a family.  After a long afternoon shooting til dark, Falla and his wife invited us in for a few cold Molsen's and a hot bowl of his spicy, and delicious, jumbelya. 

The next day we took a short drive down to South Windsor, Conneticut to visit the home, and backyard rink, of ESPN anchor John Buccigross.  Not really knowing us, save the phonecalls, John was understandably cautious at the beginning.  At the front door he pointed us around to the backyard where we went straight into the interviewing.  I took some nice fisheye shots of the 60x40 rink he flooded and all was going well.  Then his two sons came out and the three of them got a little game going with Tommy.  Tom has a knack for disarming people from the start, but when he strapped on the skates and played puck with them it was instant respect gained.  By the end of it all John invited us inside his cozy house to chow on some pizza his wife had ordered for us.  We were grateful and surprised with how much time he was willing to give just because of his enthusiasm about the project and the game of hockey.

We just got word that John updated his ESPN blog with a Q&A about the Pond Hockey Documentary - it includes three photos I shot!  Take a look, its about halfway down the page on this blog link: http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/columns/story?columnist=buccigross_john&id=2771195

To celebrate a great day of shooting we went to Cambridge that night, as we wanted to check out a real "Havad Ba".  Funny thing was, we drove around for a while and were surprised to see there weren't that many.  We finally found 'John Harvards' and enjoyed a few stiff ones.

After these two days, it started becoming clearer the strength this subculture of outdoor hockey had at its true base.  People inside of it love it.  I guess you'd have to if you trudged through the snow, shoveled the ice clean, and froze for hours on end to play. 
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