The Fictional Hockey League

Critiquing hockey romance novels, of which there are many. Overthinking it is the point.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Body Check: Post 12-

Chapter 7: Professor vs. Hockey Player

After the sex, there’s some question of whether there should be more sex or room service and television. They decide with the latter so that the plot can advance. But before that, there’s a bunch of chatting about Rembrandt when Brody picks up a text book and he manages to call up some near-forgotten tidbits about art he’d learned in college. Unfortunately, this leads to an awkward metaphor.

“That’s one of the things I want to talk to my students about, how something as simple as cleaning or restoring can change your entire view of a piece of art.”

He nodded. “Sort of like the when the Zamboni cleans the ice during the second period intermission. Changes the entire playing surface” (80).

Admittedly, Hayden nearly laughs at his comparison, but even with that reaction, it’s an awkward comparison. Also, why the “second period intermission”? The Zamboni (actually, Zambonis—NHL rinks have two) cleans the ice before every period, even before the first period but after warmups. And much of it again before any shootout, and during the playoffs, the whole sheet of ice before overtime.

Brody also observes, “You’re really into art, huh?” (80).

No Brody. She’s actually into organic chemistry but there were more art history professorial jobs available so she went for it.

Apparently Brody went to college, too, studying sports sciences and minoring in athletic coaching. This is cool. A lot more NHL players are going to college these days than in the past.

Brody assumes that Hayden doesn’t believe him, however, which triggers the narrative to tell us all the times that Brody was expected to be a dumb jock instead a good student. This leads them into a conversation about Brody’s parents and how he had no money growing up, which is awkward since they’re sitting in Hayden’s enormous penthouse suite as they have this conversation.

They’re saved from further awkwardness when the room service arrives and they turn on the tv to watch the news. Unfortunately, the news is of Hayden’s father. Evidently, one of the Warriors admitted that there’s truth to the bribery and illegal betting, thus the “league” (the unnamed NHL, one assumes) will be investigating.

Our hero and heroine logically lose their appetites. Brody gets a headache (a reappearance of one he apparently had before, although I can’t find reference to such) and suspects that the player who came forward must be Craig Wyatt, Mr Serious, in order to protect Sheila-the-soon-to-be-ex.

This also leads to him thinking that the breaking news doesn’t bode well for the next day’s game, since nobody “would be able to focus with a possible criminal investigation hanging over their heads” (82). That seems logical. There were any number of times in the past few years when the Coyotes did less than their best in the playoffs at the same time that rumors of moving the team to another city hit a crescendo. Obviously correlation is not causation, but there had been a great deal of speculation about the players’ ability to focus on the game when their futures were unclear.

They manage to find a different conversational topic, about how Hayden needs a (real) vacation and they should go see a movie or to Navy Pier. Unfortunately, since Hayden wants to do so the very next day, she’s disappointed because Brody has to, y’know, play in the playoffs so the team is leaving the next morning for the evening game. (It’s in L.A., so apparently this universe’s L.A. team is the Vipers rather than the Kings. I’m amused that of the three teams we’ve heard of so far, all of them have been in cities that the NHL actually does have franchises.) Hayden’s response is that “Dad mentioned something about an away game” (84). Seriously? How does a girl quite literally grow up in the game, even if she hates it, and not understand how playoffs work?

This all leads to a resurgence of the fling vs relationship question, which has Brody pondering again.

And then he’d met Hayden and suddenly he wasn’t thinking about casual anymore. He liked her. A lot. Hell, he’d actually experienced a flicker of excitement when she mentioned engaging in normal couple things like going to the movies or walking by the lake (85).

No, in the very first chapter, before he even saw Hayden, Brody was thinking he was no longer interested in casual and wanted a relationship. It’s why he was (very slightly) reluctant to go with Hayden for a one-night stand.

Also? A “flicker of excitement”? That’s not very compelling, dear Brody.

Hayden continues on with “You’re a hockey player. I’m a professor” (85) as if that’s a basic explanation for why they cannot be together. I… don’t get it. I understand Hayden’s reluctance since she wants a life with a significant other that’s different from the one she had with her father. But that has nothing to do with her being a professor. (Full disclosure- I’m a professor who plays hockey. Obviously not professionally. In fact, not very well. But it’s enough to tell me that the professor/hockey player dichotomy doesn’t make inherent sense.)

What does make sense, though, is that when Brody protests, it’s all about him, and Hayden calls him on it, and she continues no to say she’s tired of coming in second.

Brody leaves the hotel feeling that he’d blown his chance.

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