Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Mr. Zamboni Driver

I had hockey last night. There is never a shortage of crazy dudes at American hockey rinks, as there was last night, and 9 times out of 10 they drive the Zamboni.

I know that the Zamboni holds a hallowed place in the memories of Canadian youths, and as someone who grew up watching the late-80's Canucks I can assure you that seeing that ice-maker go round the rink was often the best part of the game to a ten-year-old. But let's be honest with ourselves: once you get beyond the regal grounds of an NHL rink the kind of guy who works as a Zamboni driver dips well into the sketchy. I'm not saying that every Zamboni driver is a sketchy dude mind you, but if your kid comes home from school and the guidance counselor has circled "Zamboni Driver" as their top career match you're probably not popping the bubbly. In fact, you might want to check their backpack for pot.

Now, I can't say for certain that American Zamboni drivers are any worse than their Canadian counterparts since I only played hockey for a couple of years in Canada. But I can at least share with you the kinds of drivers I have experienced:

THE RELIC: This guy has worked the Zamboni since 1963. He had his driver’s license revoked after his cataracts went, and it takes 20 minutes for him to resurface the ice. Somehow it comes out perfect. You never see him except when he’s on the Zamboni. He’s the best.

THE NASCAR FAN: This guy realizes that he only works when he’s resurfacing the ice, so he gets it done as quickly as possible. Everyone suspects he has a stopwatch and is always trying to beat his best time. He leaves so much water on the ice that you’ll get soaked when you stretch unless you go to one of the vast swaths of ice that he didn’t touch at all. He’s the worst.

THE STONER: This guy would have written “Zen and the Art of Zamboni Driving” but he’d rather live it than write it. He might be high right now, or his body may just not know any other way to operate. This guy has it figured out though: He has a job that’s not too hard, that’s virtually impossible to get fired from so long as you show up, and since he’s not too motivated he gets to just chill out all day for the rest of his life. Rock-on Stoner Zamboni Dude.

THE CREEPSTORE: This was the variant we got treated to last night. This is the “Oh God I’m so lonely won’t someone please just talk to me even though I’m incredibly loud and socially awkward and will drive you away in moments but the 3 minutes of human interaction I might get if I trap someone in a corner is what I live for and oh God I’m loud and awkward and lonely” variety. You kind of feel sorry for this guy, but not sorry enough that you don’t regret talking to him.

THE WORK-RELEASE DRIVER: This guy steals your shit while you’re playing. True story: A girl who plays on one of the teams in my league had a lace break and had to go to the locker. She found the Zamboni driver rummaging through their bags and carrying a bag with their wallets. He tried to threaten her, but despite being 6 inches shorter and 70 pounds lighter than the guy she was carrying a stick. He ended up dropping everything and running away never to be seen again.

That’s the Zamboni guy.

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, Zamboni drivers in Canada are pretty much the same in Canada as you describe here. Well, I haven't actually seen a Zamboni driver steal anything, but we don't leave anything of value in the dressing room - instead, we bring all our purses out to the bench with us. And I must say that I look very fashionable in full hockey gear carrying my purse!