Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Spring is in the air

There is a saying that says: ‘spring is the best time for a hockey player’. The playoffs are here, various European leagues have wrapped up their seasons and the champions are celebrating and those lucky (or unlucky enough) will have to cut the party short due to a call up to the National team for the World Championships.

Spring really is the best time for hockey players and for fans. There is enough action going on both sides of the pond and it is the most exhilarating time before the dust finally settles from a 9 month battle and the best of the best have been found and champions are crowned and those fortunate enough will ascend to immortality by achieving something as simple as a trophy, but it is yet so coveted that people would probably be willing to sell their souls for it. I think hockey is one of the only sports where you have a chance to become a true icon. The season is more gruelling and demanding than any other sport, which makes it interesting to follow.

Spring, it is indeed the best time to be a fan and a player. The spring sun has come out and rather than laze in the garden, the sun really has energised me further. The gruelling and often depressing training during winter time has been successful in the sense that I managed to stay relatively healthy except for the latest minor set back, but I have been able to use the injury to better myself as a player and as a person.

The games are about to begin and I can’t think of a better way to spend a summers day than to play hockey. Sure it feels awkward to be playing a winter sport in the summer, but never the less. It is the time of the year that you really wish that would never end. It is almost like a summer camp or a pro-longed hockey road trip. A chance for a bunch of guys to talk crap for a few hours and go home and display a few bruises here and there.

Spring is also known as the time for love, if you are the romantic type and believe in the image Disney and others try to sell us. So in a way spring is a time of love for hockey players as well. For the competitions I mentioned above taking place and the fact that the game that I love is really getting started.

Love is a powerful feeling and it is essentially something that we as human beings live off of. We love our wives, girlfriends, boyfriends, kids, pets and so on, so you can really say that love is the single most powerful feelings a human being can experience. Hockey is a game of love. If you don’t love the game you will grow hating it and you will not be able to play it or watch it with full intent. If you do not have love for the game you will not be able to succeed or achieve success in the game. Despite hockey being an aggressive, fast paced collision sport and despite the rivalries between teams and individual players, all of us share one thing in common; Our love for the game.

Like any loving relationship, there will be bumps along the way, where you will question whether you truly love the game or you will have times when you feel at an utter loss with the sport and question why you are doing it. But for true love, it will always prevail.

Hockey players, no matter how tough they are, or what level of professional play they are at will almost always say that they love the game and love playing. We all share that same love that we had as kids playing on out door rinks and then developing it further.

That child like love for the game and being part of something is something every player can feel proud of. I doubt that if there were players out there who didn’t love the sport, or at least like it, they would still carry on playing.
So what will I take with me to the up and coming season then. Without sounding like a new age hippie the one thing I will carry with me through out the season is my love for the game. But love isn’t enough to succeed or carry me and my team along this season. We need to take things like pride, passion, aggression, identity, grit, determination and contentiousness into every training session and game and act like those training sessions or games would be the last ones we could ever experience, before the world ends.

That’s why hockey is a game that will make you a better person and will make you more susceptible to accept others and will help you succeed in life. All because of the one core element of love.

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