Thursday, 19 March 2009

When Rome Was Built

Our ancestors have taught us a lot. Maybe the most important lesson we could have learned is to learn from their mistakes and not fall foul to the same ones they did once upon a time. If only we were that wise to take heed of the teachings they left us. There is a saying that was used of ancient Rome, which was “Rome was not built in a day”. I am slowly starting to see what they meant by this and what people should learn from those that have passed.

Patience has never really been one of my true virtues. I always lived life with the mentality that I want everything and I want it now and if it wasn’t done 5 minutes ago I would start fretting and worrying things weren’t going my way. Same with hockey; I wanted results and I wanted them instantaneously. I wanted that every shot I took went in to the net, I wanted that every play I made would finally break the opponent’s back and us win the game. It was same with preparation and pre season work out. My mentality used to be that I relied on my speed and skills to carry me through, I soon realised that passion and skill alone aren’t enough.

Whilst I’m approaching the end of the most gruelling pre-season preparation (6 months) I realise that endurance and strength are not built in a day, just like Rome. It takes time to achieve perfection and even then there are flaws. Flaws that you will have to work on to improve. The truth is that the minute you are happy with what you have got, your empire will crumble down. You need to be on the edge and be that little bit uncomfortable to seek consistent improvement, day in day out.

Skill and dedication is what champions are made of. If hockey would be an individual sport I think I would be contending for championships based on the amount of work I put in. However hockey relies on 35 individuals pulling together for any team to win. There are individuals in a team that are stronger and skilled and there are those who require guidance. When I look back on my ‘career’ I realise that I have been an arrogant player. I set everyone high standards, my standards, and if they didn’t play to those standards I would disregard the player. Whether it was that they weren’t as skilled or fast or just plain arrogant, I thought they would not have a place on the team and that they did not serve a purpose. Not a very positive way of thinking from a player that needs to stay focussed and positive through out the season, even when the odds are against you.

Instead of guiding and advising the players my nature and personality flared up and I threw my toys out of the pram on more than one occasion. I’m sure that my former team mates from the Spitfires will have fond memories over my tantrums that they will laugh over pints. What I realise now is that I need to take a positive focus on every shift and focus on the things that my line does well and ignore the negatives. Kind of like managing a TV, if the programme that is on is not to your liking change the channel. I think I’m experienced enough to give some guidance to those who need it and let them tune into my TV and the way I see things on the ice. After all it takes time to build a team and for guys to gel together, remember, Rome was not built in a day, neither are winning hockey teams.

That goes for me as an individual as well. Instead of thinking that I will miss the net with every shot I need to think that every single fucking shot is going to hit the target and is difficult for the goalie to save. Through this thinking the puck will find the net and I will be able to help my team more. I suppose the same attitude and mentality can be applied to all aspects of life. If the channel on your mind’s TV does not please you, change it I.E change your way of thinking.

A good friend of mine has been a great help to me on staying positive and has generally been a source for true inspiration. I think the success that I achieve this season and during the next few are largely due to his positive attitude and for spurring me on when I wanted to give up. Still following the Rome analogy, he has been like the Caesars’ right hand man, but in this case off the ice. I hope I can re-pay him and my wife back one day for being there to guide me and managing my mental TV when all seems lost.

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