Playing a game is what I suppose every player, regardless of their level, looks forward to. The test of all the plays you have been churning over and over again are actually put to the test. After tonights game against Gosport, I am relatively happy. I finished with +/- 1 and where I didn't convert on the 3-4 chances I had, I remain encouraged that the season will be a great success. It was great to see few of the new recruits getting goals and infact majority of our goals was put away by the two new players we had. Good to see the guys coming through and helping the team.
Hockey, or anything that you put your heart into, is an emotional rollercoaster. There are times when tempers boil over and frustration gets the best of you, but that is what the game is about. Hockey is such a noble sport and it teaches you a great deal about yourself and life in general. Hockey is all about being ready to explode, whether it is to a stride, a hit or a shot, if you are not willing or ready to explode every shift you will be screwed. Where I found I still need to work on is endurance and strenght. It's not easy for a 5'8" guy to go against guys who are a good foot taller and have the weight edge on you. Yet I thought tonight I held my own and finished most of my hits (that is when the guys hadn't turtled and turned their backs on me). I still need to find that explosiveness to make sure that I am able to go out there shift after shift, ready to explode and make a difference when I am out there.
I had the old chest nut conversation of which is better hockey or football. Being biassed I always argue hockey. True in football you are out 90 minutes on the pitch, but when you compare the dynamics of the two sports, hockey demands so much more. In a 45 second shift in hockey you will get hit, you will go from stopping and starting and at the end you will feel the lactic acid build in your legs and you will gasp for air. Where as football, you see guys mosying down the pitch, because the pitch is bigger, you don't need such a tight gap controll. Either way, the argument could go on and on, but the end result will be futile (Untill football players and fans realise that hockey is better).
Edit: After my last post, where I spoke of entertaining thoughts on a professional career, there has been a Facebook group created to spur me on, or watch me fail and poke fun of me. I've been surprised by the participation as there are now over 40 members in the group. Where the support is great, I want to make a few things clear. Professionals, despite the leagues they play in, are professionals because they have the skills required. Sure some might not be exceptional to play in the NHL, but still professionals are skilled compared to average joes like me.
So have I set my self a goal to give the pros a shot? That remains to be seen. I am training to get back to the top of my game and if it requires the off ice mentality of a pro, then so be it. I am quite happy to miss out on nights out and beers in favour of the gym. Where the dream of playing as a pro is a tasty one, is it a goal? Let's say that it is a dream, a dream so frail if you whisper its name it will break and vanish. All I am willing to say is... watch this space.