The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 6, 2001 · Page 28
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 28

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Sunday, May 6, 2001
Page 28
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;P4. SUNDAY, MAY e, 2001 LIFE THE SALINA JOURNAL Boys / Develop a sense of community FROM PAGE D1 Since the Salina games began four years ago, only a few Sundays have been hockey-free — Christmas, Easter and Mother's Day. But even those are subject to debate. "We've played on Mother's Day, but we've had to promise to take our wives out afterwards," said Heath Spencer, 34, professor of history at Kansas Wesleyan. "Most of our wives have thrown up their hands in despair anyway. They know this game has become a basic necessity with us. For me, between three small children and college kids, it's a good way to let off steam." Sissy rules This local street hockey game was the brainchild of Salinan Rob Peters, a computer programmer who was introduced to the game in 1991 while living in Washington, D.C. "More people were into hockey there, and games were really competitive," said Peters, 49. "But it was great fun. I've taken flights back to D.C. to participate in games there." Games back East usually were played on roller skates or blades, and players tended to be more physical. When he brought the game to Salina, Peters decided "to play by sissy rules.!' "It's still a very physical game,- but there's no body checking, no high sticks, no slap shots and no knocking people over," he said. "We haven't had any injuries, besides the usual sore legs and backs. "It's more a game of strategy. The most important thing is to playtp the outside of the net and-whack the ball to someone else' on your team. You always look to see who you're passing to. It's similar to soccer." Street hockey has, in fact, attracted several soccer players and; ex-players. Among them is Matt Pearson, a former soccer player at Kansas Wesleyan University Pearson has played the game for three years and is one of its strongest supporters. "There's a lot of similarity (to soccer) the way you move on T PHOBIAS JUSTIN HAYWORTH / The Salina Journal Steve Arnold (left) talks strategy with Tyler Krajicek while Rob Peters takes a breather during a break in a recent street hockey game at Roosevelt-Lincoln IWiddle School. court," said Pearson, 26. "It takes a while to learn to position yourself, to sense where the other players are, but after a while you know where to be." Pearson plays hockey with a focus and ferocity bred by his years of soccer training. Other players, such as Salina optometrist David Lewerenz, take a more mellow approach to the game. "It's the kind of game where you need to be aggressive to win, and I have to push myself to be aggressive," said Lewerenz, 48. "Some people can really rip into that ball. I'm obviously not one of the hot-shot players in the group, but I've managed to develop a certain amount of intuitive ability" One of the hardest and most physical positions to play in the game is goalie, but it's Mike Mattek's favorite position. "I like it because I can't keep up all that running with the younger guys," said Mattek, 37, a marketing representative at Salina Regional Health Center. "It's a fun position. You get to take up as much space as possible, and you have to use your whole body to block the ball. "Of course, you do get hit a lot, and there are some parts you'd rather not have hit. I've moved my kneepads down my shorts before." Getting players When Peters brought street hockey to Salina four years ago, he spent about $400 to purchase a set of used hockey sticks, plastic street hockey balls and two small, portable nets. "Nobody here had played hockey before, so I couldn't expect people to spend money for equipment for a game they'd never played," he said. "I didn't have much money then, but I missed playing the game so much that I decided to do it." As the game grew in popularity and players started taking it seriously, other equipment be-- gan to accumulate. Spencer said. "We found we were getting skinned up a lot, so we began to wear kneepads, shin guards and gloves," Spencer said. "Then we made Rob get rid of all those old, cheap hockey sticks, and we got better ones." During the first few years of the game, Peters, and later Pearson, had to get on the phone every week, begging for players for Sunday's game. "We called people from 16 to 60 — anyone that seemed even the least athletically inclined," Peters said. The goal each week is to gather at least 10 players, five to a side, which Peters said is "a perfect number." If more than 10 people show up, players usually split into three teams and play a tournament. . For the past year, Peters has been able to count on at least 10 to 12 players to show up each week. Some veteran players, having played two to three years, have become quite skilled with the sticks. "When I started this, I could score points at will," Peters said. "Now the skill .level has risen dramatically and it's gotten a lot harder to score. Before last year, we could usually play three or four games in two hours. Now we barely get through one game." Despite the varied skill levels of the players, Peters said he always is looking for new players, even those who don't know the difference between a hockey stick and a baseball bat. All they have to do is show up on Sunday "This is not a deadly serious league. We're just guys having fun," he said. "People playing against you this week will be on your team next week. And the great part is that older kids can play on an equal level with grown-ups." The youngest player is Brian Anderson, 14, son of Rob and Pam Anderson and a freshman at Salina South High School. Brian Anderson is a soccer 'player, so he said he is able to keep up with some of the older players on the team. "The most fun part is being able to score a goal and see the look on the goalie's face when the ball goes in," Brian Anderson said. "The older players have a lot more experience, so it's more of a challenge." Joyous community Peters believes the reason street hockey has become a near religion for many players, including himself, is that it creates a feeling of joyous community "Playing a competitive game where people are good friends and good sports is as good as life gets," he said. Other players agreed with Peters' assessment. "My family knows it's a sacred time, between 2 and 4 p.m. Sundays," Brad Anderson said. "And it's also fun to play with some of my students. Through the game, we're able to connect on another level." "Quite a few of us are really competitive, and we want to win, but it's not the most important thing," Mattek said. "The most important thing is to go out there and have a good time." "We're not just a game, we're a support group," Lewerenz said. Playing street hockey takes you back to your earliest days of childhood, Peters said. Those who play the game week after week want to recapture, if only for two hours, what it feels like to be a little kid again. "Let's face it," Peters said. "You can't be a grown-up while you're running around yelling and whacking a little b&II with a stick." • Reporter Gary Demuth can be reached at 823-6464, Ext. 109, or by e-mail at sjgdemuth® Fear can be paralyzing during spring storm season Irrational anxiety that arises over severe weather is treatable By JAN JARVIS Rir/ Wnrlli Sltir-Tekgmni ARLINGTON, Texas — Dark clouds looming overhead can send shivers creeping down Allan Saxe's spine. "When there's a storm, I try to act very blase, because I don't want to start running around the room shrieking in front of my students," said Saxe, an associate professor of political science at the University of Texas at Arlington. "But I'm really petrified." Saxe is not alone in his fear of bad weather. Phobias, which include a fear of flying, storms and many other things, affect an estimated 6.3 million adult Americans, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. For those with a storm phobia, dark skies, weather warnings and tornado watches are enough to trigger their worst fears. They sit glued to the Weather Channel, hide in the closet or stock up on supplies in case of a tornado. Because this is the beginning of the heavy storm season, opportunities for worrying Will multiply "I've ha| ^pati^ts who have three or fd^'.ViJ^li^r raidibs on' year-round," said James Hall, associate professor of internal medicine at the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth. "Any report of severe weather, even if it is hundreds of miles away, can lead them to carry out procedures as if a tornado is in the area." More than an extreme fright, a phobia is an irrational fear that causes the sufferer to become highly anxious, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Consumed by inappropriate fears, the person experiences an intense need to avoid the object or situation that causes the anxiety, according to the Anxiety Disorders Association of America. The key to a phobia is overreaction, said Carolyn Self, a therapist at the Anxiety Mood & Phobia Center in Fort Worth. A phobia takes a fear to a higher level. "This is not about being prudent, watchful or vigilant," she said. "We're talking about nightmares and doing anything to get away from any place where this might happen." A phobia does not occur out of the blue, she said. It is a learned response caused by something frightening the person has experienced or been told about, such as a tornado. "These are the kind of people who see a dark cloud on the western horizon, think about what happened last year and become very anxious," Hall said. Saxe said he has lost two roofs to hail and has been stuck in a minor flood, which may have contributed to his fear of bad weather But what really triggered his phobia was being caught in a storm during a plane flight. "After that, I had a phobia about flying, too," he said. "I didn't fly for 10 years," If a phobia becomes so severe it hampers one's ability to function, treatment is needed. But it is treatable. Hall said. Behavioral and cognitive therapy can help reduce anxiety People also can learn to calm themselves and accept that the odds of a disaster are remote. Self said. Share something s|||ipl for Motherls Day! Share somediing special with Mom even when you're not around. From Kitchen Capers in Manhattan Town Center, a beautiful, Painted Teacup filled with Gourmet Cocoa and a Chocolate Rose. A gift inscribed with love and it's our FREE gift to you with receipts totaling $100 or more at any mall stores dated May 7 -12. While supplies last. Limit one person, per day, please. We also have bigger things like: • Appliances & Tools • Home Furnishings & Decor And smaller things like: • Cards, jewelry & Toys • Books, CD's & DVD's • Fashion Apparel & Shoes Gifts for the heart &C home at MANHATTAN OWN CENTER 3rd & Poyntz • 539-9207 •

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