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Claimed:A Merican Entrance, Pt 1 [Final: 6/6]


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It’s VHLM pro day, a huge event that spans three days consisting of player interviews, individual skills challenges and finally a win or go home tournament.  Every year I look for the most interesting prospect, someone who isn’t necessarily the most promising, but will provide me with a great story to write and raise my intrigue.  As I stand by the check-in counter, as I do every year, I carefully watch each player, looking for something that makes him stick out from his peers- a trait that is vital if you ever want to be a superstar. Sometimes that trait is based strictly off of performance, the no-nonsense, all business player who avoids the media like the plague. Other times, it’s the spotlight hungry ego-maniac type of a player, the one who cares about himself and is out for personal glory. Finally, we have the player who wants to win, but is going to have fun doing it and couldn’t care less what people think of him, his confidence is through the roof and often mistaken for ego.








Merica showed up in a cutoff shirt, and proceeded to flash his abs.


While I ponder my thoughts, a dark haired, blue eyed gentleman nears the counter, second in line right now.  What draws my attention? He is wearing shorts and a cut off t-shirt with a backwards hat on, hockey bag slung behind his back. His tank top reveals that both of his arms are covered in tattoos, from shoulder to wrist, and even with all the ink, it’s clear he is no slouch in the gym, his arms are clearly defined. Oh, wait a second, he just lifted his shirt and covered his face, then poked the person in front of him and just stares at him, showing off his eight-pack abs, then waves. The stocky fellow he poked turns around with shakes his head, appearing to be all business.  This is starting to get interesting. While other players dressed casual and present themselves as “clean-cut” in an effort to make a good first impression for the VHLM coaches in attendance, this guy comes in tattoos first with a big smile on his face. At least he is honest, and not trying to hide who he really is.


”Here you go” says the currently unnamed player as he grabbed a sticky note and appears to autograph it, handing it to the pretty blonde haired female working the counter ”That’s my autograph, which you’ll want to hang onto, and there is my number, you look like you could use some cheering up and they say I’m good with the shaft.” He winks for added effect as he nods his head towards the hockey stick poking out behind his back, signs-in and heads for the ice rink for the opening brief. I notice the girl pockets the sticky note. Sigh. On the bright side, I believe I’ve found what I’m looking for.


I walk quickly to catch up to the tattooed enigma, as I near his side I notice that one of his tattoos on his upper left arm is that of an eagle tearing out of his shoulder, clutching the American Flag with a look of vengeance in it’s eye. He’s clearly American, and patriotic.


”Hello,  my name is Sam LaFluer, former goaltender and GM of the Toronto Legion, I work for ESPN now and was wondering if I could follow you around today?”  I extend my hand in greeting, which he looks at, then starts to walk away, leaving me to stand there slightly embarrassed. Right as I am about to say something smart, he wheels around, a huge grin on his face and grasps my name with a firm grip. ”*laughs*, you should of seen your face man, yeah you can follow me around, my name is Josh Merica”


I look at him quizzically, is he serious? Merica? There’s no way that’s his real last name. As if he could tell what I was thinking, he answers my question before I could ask it. ”Yeah that’s my real last name , pretty sick if I do say so myself.”


I smile back at him, knowing that I’ve landed a gem with Mr. Merica.  We take our seats, middle row, and wait for the event managers to hold their welcome brief. I take advantage of this opportunity to pepper him with some questions.


”So Josh, where are you from?”



I stare at him for a second. ”Where, in America, are you from?” I ask with a bit of sarcasm.

”San Diego” he says. I nod, makes sense…tattoos, cut-off shirt, I am betting he surfs from time to time as well.


”How long you been playing hockey? I’ll admit I haven’t heard of you.”

”You been hiding under a rock?” He asks in shock disbelief ”Kidding, lighten up Sam, there is no way you will make it through this day with me if you can’t laugh a little and trade some jokes…back to your question, yeah not many people probably have, unless you follow high school sports, and it’s not exactly a popular one in California (ice hockey), bunch of hipster liberals who don’t like violence. I didn’t play in the OHL or anything, just four years at Valley Christian High School. One of eight schools to offer ice hockey.”


”Why didn’t you try out for a Major Junior league? That would of put you on the map pretty quick.”

”Eh” he shrugs ”I had some offers, some teams called with interest, but I enjoyed playing at Valley Christian, and I set every California high school ice hockey record there is in the process, and for those who think it was against sub-par comptetition…” He looks at me, winks, and says ”Everyone is sub-par competition…but I was able to stack up against the major names during the National High School Championships and World Juniors with Team USA, and considering I never had a problem, I never felt like I needed to make the jump. I have confidence in my skills, and whether you or anyone else thinks I’m going to make it is your prerogative, I really don’t care.”


”So, do you know anybody else here? What made you decide to go with the VHL, instead of say the SHL or NHL?”

”Yeah, I know you now…other than that, nope, couldn’t tell you who anyone is…as far as why I chose the VHL, I think it’s the best competition in the world right now.  But all three leagues are close, it’s really just a matter of preference.”


”Are you more of a team first guy, or a personal award hunter? What kind of goals do you have for your VHL career?”

”I’m a hybrid. I want to leave a legacy that is revered, that will be up there with the greatest players in VHL history, so I want to win MVP awards, I want to win Championships and I will stop at nothing to achieve those goals. But I am not a selfish individual, I will defend my teammates no matter what and I’ve been kicked out of plenty of games for retaliation, along with being suspended- one of the downfalls of playing for a Christian school- so that’s not really an issue. I might be perceived as selfish, but again, not my problem that you or anyone else are terrible at reading people.  By the end of my career I’ll be in the hall of fame and have my jersey retired.”


Before I can ask another question to Josh, someone down by the glass asks for everyone’s attention and begins the welcoming briefing…


About twenty minutes later it concludes and the speaker asks if there any questions, and there appears to be none, until Josh raises his hand and jumps to his feet. ”I’ve got one…Who is the best prospect here?” He looks around, no one seems to be bite on his question.”Good answer, because it isn’t any of you, you are looking at him. I’m Josh Merica. Nice too meet all of you.”




Stay tuned for part two next week, where Josh will compete in the individual skills challenges, strength events and tournament. Trust me, it gets better.

Edited by Merica
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Content: 3/3

I like the way it's written, and Merica seems like he'll be a class act. 

I'm trusting your week 2. 


Grammar: 2/2  


For some reason, your opening quotation marks all go the wrong way. Not strictly speaking a huge issue, but it's definitely weird on the eyes.  Also, there were a number of missing commas and whatnot, but I can't be bothered to write them all out. Not enough to warrant any lost marks. 

  • ”Here you go, says the - missing a comma
  • the counter. "That’s - missing a period

Appearance: 1/1

Lotta black & white, but it works. 

Edited by pxzero
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