ODD MAN RUSH
- BILL KEENAN -
I've read a lot of hockey biographies/autobiographies and I have to say that Odd Man Rush is one of the best of the lot. Typically hockey books are full of dry prose and pace slowing stats. Keenan's writing is the opposite - lively, humourous, and almost devoid of the rundown of numbers that are like speed bumps when reading.
His take on hockey is just as passionate as any NHL star, but, Keenan is not afraid to dig into the corners of self deprecation. Layman's terms - he makes fun of himself and some of the situations he gets himself in. That is what makes this books so fresh and different. Most other hockey books are serious and keep up the "man's-man"/winner attitude - which is sometimes inspiring, but, can get kind of dull after reading six books where no jokes or even slightly funny stories are told. Luckily, in Odd Man Rush there is very little heavy-talk about leadership, grit, taking a puck in the face for the team...or really even winning. Instead there is focus on the funny characters one meets in the locker room. The strange superstitions goalies have. Bad crowd behaviour. Childhood dreams mocked. Even a sacrilegious criticism of the being-a-man / tough guy attitude.
I love how the hilarity starts right from the beginning. First coach's first prep talk, 'have fun and don't care about winning b/c none of you are going to make the NHL anyway'. Keenan moves teams and takes on new personalities to fit in. It starts with faking a 'Canadian' accent. Then he changes the way he dresses (turns out a preppy private school kid doesn't wear the same clothes as the ragtag bunch from Jersey). He even relishes the day he was given a nickname...rhymes with Billy. Not Silly, not Philly, not Killy, but, Dilly (one of the many slang words for male body part). He was finally accepted as part of the team! Light hearted, fish out of water stories, fill the start of this book - those easy to relate to childhood memories one looks back on and thinks, "wtf was I thinking?"
As Keenan moves up in hockey, and in life, the stories change slightly. Still light hearted, but, are more about his teammates...mostly the wacky ones, the D-bags (as he refers to them), and the influential people he plays with. The 'fish out of water' stories are still there, but, are more literal as Keenan moves to Europe to play hockey and runs into language problems and cultural differences.
Overall, a fun trip through the hockey community and all the weird and wacky characters that make it what it is.
This book is available on Amazon - ODD MAN RUSH