Going back a few posts (Fix You), I feel I forgot to touch on a very important area for athletes and well professionals in all walks of life in general. There is something that sets the great apart from the rest and enables to great to achieve greatness. Hockey, as said through out this blog, is about heart and it is an outlet that teaches you more about life and yourself in ways no university or diploma could ever do. I have explored the blogosphere and found some really good interesting blogs that draw from various sports or life experiences. These blogs and the individuals who write them give me great sense of motivation and encouragement in knowing that I am not a lone sports geek who is trying to find tangents and links between sport and life.
Sport and hockey in particular requires vast amounts of dedication and support from your loved ones in order for us to keep playing. I’m sure guys with kids feel the strains of the season even more than normal, but there is something in all of us that keeps us coming to the rink and lacing up our skates.
There is no simpler way of describing it, other than heart. Whether it means that we are playing on a Saturday night with a 23:30 face-off or that we have to travel all the way to Telford of all places to play a game, then we will do it. It takes heart and guts. What I find most interesting about hockey is the emotions you go through during a game, and what true qualities playing with heart shows. It shows that you really care, about the team and the result. When you play with heart, you don’t get down from the opponent scoring a goal, you go out there and you take it back. Heart means that you deliver some hits to create momentum for your team. It means that you go out there and you make things happen from thin air.
The downside of playing with heart is that you are passionate of what you do and you wont tolerate people who aren’t performing or who keep making simple mistakes. At this level people are prone to making mistakes and often you fly off the handle with the players and use harsh terms. I know I have done that to several players over the years and few of them have quit, more or less because I was constantly on their skin about it and wasn’t afraid to use harsh language. I guess you could say I was like Christian Bale on the set of the new Terminator flick.
The guys on my team who have shown tremendous amounts of heart, well there are many and they do it in their own way. But I think the most memorable is a guy throwing himself in front of a shot and eating it into his chest. This was no weak shot either and the guy still bears the mark of the puck on his chest. He blocked the shot (while the team was 8-3 down) and finished his shift, even though he undoubtedly was in a lot of pain. He didn’t whimper off to the changing rooms either but finished the whole game. That is what Don Cherry would classify as a class act and a guy who shows heart.
But what does this show of me as a person? It shows that I demand a lot from my team mates and expect that they treat me the same way. Playing with heart takes a lot, and like I said in here previously a game is a game is a rollercoaster ride that can take days to prepare for and live through. You go through all of it and you wouldn’t have it any other way.