Friday, December 16, 2011
Change on the Fly by Stephani Hecht
Author: Stephani Hecht
Length: 104 pages
Publisher: eXtasy Books
From a very young age, Aldrich knew two things: he'd grow up to play professional hockey and he'd make his mentor fall in love with him. After years of hard work, both are within his grasp. Not only has a professional team called him up from his farm club, but the man he's dreamed of for years has finally noticed him.
Then everything is brutally torn from him when he suffers a career-ending injury and finds himself dumped before the relationship has even really started. Depressed, he retreats to his childhood home, where he runs into his former best friend and hockey buddy, Nobel. They rekindle their friendship and grow closer...in more ways than one. Aldrich is shocked to realize that, not only has he been overlooking what could be the best thing in his life, but love may always have been right in his own backyard.
I read this some time ago but it seems more relevant with all of the news lately about hockey injuries, the young man who died and it seems his brain is so damaged (possibly from playing hockey) that he likely would have had dementia in middle age, Sidney Crosby who has not played in nearly a year due to a severe concussion and who is not playing yet again due to symptoms and other players who are starting to question if their health is due to injuries sustained "on the job". Not all have the tragic outcome that Aldrich had in this story, of severe medical problems following the injury, but it happens and likely if the player is not super-famous, they just disappear and no one thinks about them again, except their family and friends who put back he pieces.
In this case I really liked that Aldrich did not have any miracle cure. Nobel did not possess the magical healing cock of some romance novels. He would always have impediments as a result of his injury, he'd never be normal, he'd certainly never play hockey again. I also loved that Nobel didn't care. He liked Aldrich, he wasn't ashamed to be out and about with him in public or to acknowledge them as a couple which I think Aldrich needed to see that his life was not over, just very different.
Aldrich's sister was quite the girl with her pink house, and Nobel's flamboyant younger brother was a character who I hope we'll see again. But for those who want a romantic story that includes a darker side of hockey, of those who've had their dreams completely ripped away forever after spending their entire lives, literally fighting for it, it broke my heart a bit, but Nobel was there to help him adapt to his new life. So I think a very timely story these days, with a lovely happy ending as all this author's stories do.