Giving prose a break

Late in the season, teams get a little stale. Writers do too. In my case, I was probably stale long before the Ivies got started, but enough about me.

Teams have three weeks left in the seasons of a handful, a month for most, and for a lucky quartet, seven more weeks. For just a quick glimpse at where each team is in its league standings, let’s turn to poetry, and I’m using that term loosely. As each league has its own personality, we’ll choose a different style for each conference.

The oldest of the leagues deserves a classic form. You know — one that rhymes and maybe even has some sort of meter. Okay, probably just rhymes. Poetic-license style rhyming. Note that we’re not talking Shakespeare here. Nor Poe. Nor Dickinson. Or even Dr. Seuss.

January scampered right past
Without a hint of disaster.
The victories keep coming fast
And expectations rise faster.
A league title looks in the bag;
Can we peek ahead to the dance?
The Bobcats aren’t likely to brag,
But they must feel they’ve got a chance.

Those winter nights can be brutal.
They’re typically long, dark and cold.
Once the calendar flips into March,
Our thoughts turn to Knights that are Gold.

The Raiders have won sixteen times
Despite sometimes blowing the lead.
Mick said you can’t get what you want,
But if you try, get what you need.

The Tigers on a report card
Definitely get a high grade.
Yet one gets a sense their season
Totters on the edge of a blade.

The season could have been better,
It’s had silver linings at least.
The Crimson won’t catch the Bobcats,
But BC plays in Hockey East.

St. Lawrence
The Saints are tricky to predict
Year to year, game to game, as well.
Can’t always know where they’re going,
But they’ll have great stories to tell.

The season, it sure started rough.
Triumphs, precious, yet all too few.
Just didn’t play Brown quite enough,
But remember, they knocked off “Q!”

Selander’s done wonders in Troy.
She’s given the Engineers hope.
But no goals are coming from Wash,
Maybe she slipped on the soap?

Cornell had a run at the top,
I’m not saying it’s over yet.
But life was easier back when,
That trio put pucks in the net.

Skating out to defeat Harvard,
A promising start to be sure.
Who could have known in October
How quickly it’d turn to manure.

When it comes to granting wishes,
It would work out better for Brown,
If planning a comeback season
The Bears didn’t start so far down.

Would one win be too much to dream?
Sweetness to hold through the summer.
Evidently, so it would seem
Sometimes, life can be a bummer.

Hockey East
The newest of the leagues — it might not seem that way, but it is — would seem to be best suited to free verse.

Boston College
Alexander the Great
wept with no more worlds to conquer
will that be the destiny of a modern Alex?
all other tears would seem to be of joy

One last Coyne
precious, spend wisely
yet to purchase treasure
will exact a higher price than one alone can pay

Boston University
She is not coming back this time
you are the cavalry
you are the magic wand waiting to be waved
it’s your blade that must carve the path to greatness

tied for fifth
how to move higher when the barriers appear so steep
they who hold these perches glare menacingly
at any who would dare to move amongst them
banish such thoughts and climb

New Hampshire
we were that team
decades ago, the team that all knew as champion
even recently, your defeat was inevitable should we skate onto your ice
is it still within us
can we still crush dreams with a flick of a stick
let’s find out


some of us remember
the joy of that lone playoff win
three OTs
so tired, so, so tired
but so alive
oh to feel such pain again

journeys are composed of single steps
many single steps, each following the one before
yes, it would hasten the journey
if all the steps were in the right direction

endless, it seemed endless
at least at times it did
look how far we’ve come
I don’t recognize our reflection anymore
we stand straighter
place our sticks on the faceoff dot with more authority
skate into the corners with less trepidation
in a year, two years
the thought brings a smile
but we’ve farther to go on this journey that now doesn’t seem that long

This wacky circuit calls for a good limerick. Would you settle for a half-dozen not-so-good limericks?

The team from Erie, Pa.
Always wins at the end of the day.
Though they seldom do score
And aren’t ranked anymore
A title’s just six games away.

The Orange came oh so near
With an overtime loss last year.
Just one more snipe;
No one will gripe.
And the banner can hang over here.

Robert Morris
The weeks just keep ticking past.
The Colonials have had a blast.
Though young they could shock,
Be the kids of the block,
As long as they don’t play half fast.

Penn State
In ’15 they got through one round,
But an encore couldn’t be found.
‘Lions need scoring,
Can’t be so boring.
To have a shot to be crowned.

With Hensley stationed in net
The Lions won’t be done yet.
If Jasper can tally,
The whole team will cele’
As they pull the latest upset.

Is McDonald planning a theft
To leave his opponents bereft?
“Ain’t no way!” they all sing,
Though they sang it last spring.
The trophy Tigers surely did heft.

For the league found closest to the Pacific, let’s borrow an art form found in an island nation on the far side of the ocean. (And for those who wish to point out some flaw in my attempted Tanka, remember that I’m a sports columnist and lower your expectations.)

Badgers rule their league
many ask varied questions
Desbiens says “No”
only Fighting Hawks a threat
future omen for Eagles?

Gophers are trailing
breathing Wisconsin’s exhaust
unable to pass
though adding Kessel — thrilling,
team defense must improve

North Dakota
the most intriguing
of the teams on the bubble,
highs are very high
but with regularity
these Hawks fly low, lacking fight

Bemidji State
one bite at a time
the Beavers labor away
the tree soon topples
of late the sturdiest wood
proves to be impervious

St. Cloud State
Huskies climb higher
than most would have expected
well done Fitzgerald
and Illikainen as well
avoid the thaw’s avalanche

who starts in the net?
what to do while first line rests?
Bulldogs face riddles
staff sorts possibilities
while the days pass swiftly by

Ohio State
Buckeyes find offense
last four games bring 20 goals
now comes sterner test
a squad that has yet to yield
as many in its season

Minnesota State
Mavericks don’t beat
WCHA foes
keep eye on Tigers
store up your league victories
for automatic bid time