Episode Three I was sitting in the stands at a rink in Danville, Ill., when it started. I was minding my own business, watching a guy with a mullet that would"ve put any Skynyrd fan to shame pilot a Zamboni at top speed across the filthy ice. The rink smelled like every other: stale popcorn, moldering concrete and low-rent hot dogs. I stared off into space, notebook in one hand, pen in the other, waiting for my 10-year-old and his teammates on the travel squad to hit the frozen pond in a strange town. It was early in the season. I hadn"t been outed. Yet. Two parents gestured toward me. They were chatting up another couple. I heard the phrase "talked about us on the radio" and bang, it was all over. Every kid"s folks now knew that somebody"s dad was a morning DJ in Indy, half of the Wank & O"Brien show on RadioNow 93.1. What I expected never happened: No one has asked me for concert tickets or a corporate plug. These folks are a great bunch. Selfless. Committed. Until they read my column in NUVO, the one published on lucky Nov. 13, 2002. "Hockey DAD?" went the refrain from every female parent. "Hockey DAD? You"re writing about hockey DADS? Don"t you think it"s the MOMS you should be writing about? WE dry the tears and wipe the bloody noses! WE bring the snacks! WE fill the water bottles! WE make sure the little buggers have dry socks, for God"s sake!" Verily, ladies, I acquiesce. Yours is the greatest sacrifice. To give life, then watch it get its little ass kicked by some thug from Craptown, Ill. Here is your tribute, a literary token of esteem, with apologies to the sacred poet. THE 23rd MOM My mom is the equipment manager, I shall not want She driveth me to practice and very often games She laceth my skates beside the frozen waters She bringeth me Gatorade She yelleth so that the other parents will not hear the coach yelleth at me Yea, though I sit in the shadow of the penalty box I will fear no ref, for Mom art with me Thy spare stick and the time clock, they comfort me Mom preparest a table of chicken nuggets between doubleheader Saturday games She tapes up my stick, my puck flyeth quicker Surely clean checks and slap shots shalt be mine all the days of my life And I will dwell in the house of the rink every weekend Wank & O"Brien dwelleth in the house of RadioNow, 93.1 each weekday morning.

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