New York Night RW Harris Wondolowski has had a tough rookie season. A brilliant scorer in the minor leagues, he has struggled to translate that ability at the SHL level. At times, the game appears to be moving too fast for him.
According to teammates and coaches, Wondolowski has all the necessary physical tools to succeed at the highest level. On the mental side, however… that’s a different story.
“You know how some people march to the beat of their own drum?” said D Dominic Sanchez. “Well, Wondo’s got his own whole orchestra. Definitely a couple sandwiches short of a picnic.”
Wondolowski’s free-spirited flakiness can be endearing at times, but it can also get him into trouble. Such was the case this week, when his carelessness caused a biking accident which wound up with him flailing in the water.
After Tuesday’s game against the Michigan Gray Wolves, Wondolowski went for a bike ride near his apartment in the Sheepshead Bay neighborhood of Brooklyn. The winger said that he frequently takes late-night rides to clear his head after tough games. “It’s just, you know, a way to get away from myself,” he explained.
Wondolowski’s route took him down to the docks by the side of the bay. He then made the fateful decision to try riding his boat down one of the docks. While doing so, he lost control of his bike and rode off the end of the dock and into the bay.
“I guess I got distracted,” the winger explained. “I was thinking about something else, and the next thing I know I’m going for a dive.” When asked if alcohol was involved in this escapade, he replied: “Yeah, I’d say that was a definite possibility.”
Remarkably, Wondolowski didn’t suffer any significant injuries from his unexpected water landing. However, he quickly faced another challenge: he does not know how to swim. Fortunately, a passerby heard him yell for help and was able to pull him to safety after a couple minutes.
Unsurprisingly, the Night coaches and front office were dismayed when they received word of Wondolowski’s adventure. “I have had moments where I wanted to tell Wondo to go jump in a lake,” coach Flim Dahlgren said. “But this is not what I had in mind.”
The coach benched Wondolowski from the Night’s next game and had a long talk with his player about the irresponsible behavior. “I explained to him that coaching is difficult as it is,” noted Dahlgren, “without my having to worry about getting the news that my promising young winger drowned after riding his bike off a pier. Frankly, I never envisioned saying that sentence in my lifetime.”
Dahlgren advised Wondolowski to forgo his late-night rides altogether. “If you want to channel your frustrations at night, get a heavy bag or learn meditation,” the coach said. “Stick to riding your bicycle during the day, ideally when sober.”
Wondolowski seemed mildly chagrinned by the incident, but it is unclear whether he will take Dahlgren’s advice to heart. “I don’t know,” he said when asked if he plans to stop biking at night. “It’s quiet and peaceful, at least when I don’t end up in the water. That part isn’t so peaceful.”