With the season around the corner, I felt that it was apt to cast one last look back into the past to leave it truly behind. From this point forward, those things that have happened are put to rest and will be used as lessons for better playing, for better living. Though I will not write about the seasons gone, I will be using them as a resource to better myself as a player.
When I have been reflecting on the past two seasons I realise that I have had a number of factors that have made me a better player and a number of factors that inadvertently affected my performance. Rewind back to 2006. From the outset I had set a goal to win the national championships with the Spitfires, a dream that came to fruition from the end of that season in June I headed straight into the Summer Cup 2006. Before the Spitfires national title, I had played over 30 games in the regular season and I was looking at another 14 with the Cougars.
With the national title behind me I had set my sights onto the Cougars’ season, which proved to be successful in terms of team success and personal success. Bar the injury that I sustained, it was a great season on all fronts that just lacked the crowning moment of skating away with a medal. This was late August when I finished the season. From there I went into try outs with an ED1 team and made it to the roster, whilst already starting to train with the Spitfires. Though my ED1 plans didn’t pan out because of ITC issues, I was happy that I had proven to myself that I was good enough to play at that level.
So onto the Spitfires season 2007-2008 another 12 games from August to June that clashed severely with my Summer Cup 2007-2008. So managing 14 games of ice with the Inline took its toll. Not to mention getting married in the Summer of 2008, so there was a lot going on. My knee injury came back twice as bad due to my ignorance of not wanting to rest it. I played the whole summer period with every stride feeling like I had something stabbing at my knee. I was playing each game under heavy pain killers to try and make the skating as comfortable as possible. I was unable to do any leg exercises and I put on ridiculous amounts of weight because I wasn’t able to train at the same level of intensity as the year before.
So the summer finally came to an end and I was looking forward to a rest. I was mentally quite exhausted from two years of hockey straight. I know that the game is fun and I love the sport (something I will explore at another post), but there is a time when enough is enough and you need to take a breather.
I went into the new season in a new team pretty much at the end of August and where I enjoyed the chemistry with the team and the coaching, I was physically tired and nowhere nearly motivated enough to be fully prepared for the season and the intensity that was required to compete in the rinks. Though I had to give up the game because of money issues, I still think that in some cruel way it was a blessing in disguise. Where I still want to get back into the team, I am in a position where I can’t commit to it financially. Though it has allowed me to focus my energies and set some goals elsewhere. So with this extra time, what have I done with it to make myself better?
I have rested. Since giving up I have dedicated Wednesdays as a day of rest to allow my body to recover from the hammering I put myself through in training and the gym.
What I am getting at is that rest is important. No matter how much you love the sport you need time away from it. Hockey is one of the most demanding sports known to man and if you keep going at it non stop for three years, your body will be tired and your focus isn’t as sharp as it used to be when you were at your peak. Therefore, it is important to find the balance of work and rest in the game to make sure that you are able to recover and respond at the next game. A tired mind and/or a tired body is a dangerous combination and can lead to severe injuries or losing love for the game.
But like said, this is the last look into the past and dwelling on bygones. This is the final wave for goodbye. The direction is onwards and upwards. There’s only a quote that I can use to finish this post and this time I’m citing a Finnish band called The Lighthouse Project: “Forwards Now...”