This summer, the New Jersey Devils website has been running a series of posts — a series not unlike our Project Bicycle Spoke except for that it’s professionally written, and involves access to “real” players, and so far, hasn’t included a hand-drawn stick figure of Fedor Fedorov — catching up with the Devils on their summer vacations. “Catching Up With…” has been pretty scintilating stuff. Brian Gionta says he’s been preparing for brother Stephen’s wedding. Patrik Elias reports that after a fun-filled day of training, sight-seeing, and enjoying dinner with his wife, “before I know it, the day is usually over!” Blobby Holik bores us with a tres-Blobby-Holik run-down of all of the ice rinks within 200 miles of his house.
However, for all that this series is bringing us closer to our beloved boys (and Blobby Holik), it appears as if the professional writer(s) behind it are going to neglect to an important member of the behind-the-scenes troupe that keeps the team running smoothly. Namely, they’re forgetting Boxworthy. For shame! We took it upon ourselves, then, to ask the butlering turtle how his off-season was going.
Catching Up With… Boxworthy
It has been a very eventful summer for me and Master Zach. It began with a rigorous six weeks of stagecraft on my part, as I endeavored to make Master Zach believe he was still competing in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. I called in several favors from some of the master’s bantam teammates, many of whom benefited greatly from being on a Mighty Mites team with such a stellar talent. They played the parts of players from the teams that Zach single-handedly “beat” for the “Stanley Cup”. After spending two weeks celebrating his astonishing feat of hockey-ry, I convinced the master to take a small break in remote area, where restricting accidental exposure to hockey and sports media might be easier. Thanks to a tip from a chappie at the animals-of-affairs club, I packed up Master Zach’s steamer trunks and loaded them on a train for Donde Biblioteca, a very, very small town in the Mexican countryside. While there, Master Zach struck up an acquaintance with Lord Tumblingmattington, a decorated gymnastics hero of yore who was convalescing in the tiny desert village. In four short weeks, Tumbly-Tum (as M. Zach took to calling him, blatantly disregarding my encouragement to the contrary) had turned my good man into a top-notch gymnastist. Thanks to some of the gentleman’s connections, Zach become the recipient of one invitation to compete on the United States men’s gymnastics team. I am not going to lie to you, Madames -Ookie, I was skeptical. Very skeptical. It was very difficult for me to not cringe out of fear when Master Zach flung himself around on the parallel bars, and very difficult for me not to cringe out of embarrassment when he pranced around during the floor routine, and extremely difficult for me to keep a straight face when he made pathetic attempts on the obviously over-sized-for-him pommel horse. If he was competing in an athletic Olympics, I was unwittingly a participant in the Testing-The-Stoicism-of-an-Animal-of-Affairs Olympics. However, his moment of glory did come as he was awarded both a bronze and silver medal for his efforts. How I convinced him that bronze and silver could both signify a first-place win I’ll never know. What I do know is that I have earned the four-hour vacation Master Zach has so generously set aside for me before his hockey training begins in earnest.