Posts Tagged ‘determination’


Grind of the years and the mileage throughout it. Maybe not the best body mechanics , but it has never slowed them down. Maybe not the best skilled players, but still there every training, every game, despite the aching joints and busted knees  and so forth. The body might be older than the person, but the mind is forever young.

 

The mind is the only thing that sometimes keeps these guys going. The feeling of being in the changing room and around ‘the guys’ is something they wouldn’t trade for anything. The war horse has been through it all. Bitter losses, big wins. The works. However, he still arrives at the rink with the same enthusiasm as in the junior years.

 

Sure the off season might be longer and training has to be smarter, the recovery process from games is not what it used to be, but being able to play the game is more than enough. There’s no better feeling than lacing up the skates and hitting the ice.

 

The late nights, the road trips, the stops at highway rest stops, trying to find something that’s plausible as food. There’s quite simply nothing that the war horses would trade all of these for. The body might not be the same as it once was, but the brain, the brain is still there and the smarts for the game will never leave.

 

The war horse might not beat a younger player for speed, but they will know how to make the play. The hands may not be as fast as they once were and he younger, YouTube generation, will be forever more creative.

 

But the war horse is not just someone who has the wounds to prove his career, he is there to guide the younger generation, he is there to show leadership and use his experience for the better of the team.

 

The war horse in this is not me. At least not yet. I can only hope that I will be a war horse one day. To me being recognised as a hardworking player who does not give up is one of the better accolades a player may get. Sure there are no trophies on the mantle, but the knowledge and acknowledgement that you left everything on the ice, every night is worth more than that. 

 

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As I sat down for Christmas dinner a few days ago, I had an interesting conversation with some of the elder relatives. My injury history is storied and I was asked the question of “Why do you still play?”

 

I wish that question was easy to answer. However, during this conversation I had a chat about the elder relatives’ career in another contact sport, which I think is even more brutal and demanding than hockey (physically). Where we have been fortunate to both have had great experiences in sports, but one thing that transpired that the reason we play was relatively common.

 

For guys there are many reasons why they play hockey. It can be that they enjoy the game and want to spend some time in a team environment and hangout with guys, exercise and getting fitter, or winning (or a combination of all of the above). What drives me to play hockey is hunger to win. If I didn’t feel hungry to win, I doubt that I would put in the effort and I would seek out something else.

 

I’ve been fortunate enough to play on teams that have won a couple of championships in different leagues and countries, but I still have that same hunger for some more. There simply quite isn’t another feeling that comes close to achieving your goal and winning. (Well there are a few, but this isn’t that type of blog people)

 

Winning is a moment that is shared by players, whether it is the culmination of a weeks work in training to get the win in your next match, or the ultimate pay-off at season’s end. If it is a championship you celebrate, the trophy is a nice thing to have as a reminder of that unbelievable feeling at the end, when all of the sweat and hours you’ve spent away from home have finally paid off. I actually feel quite sad for making this reference, but winning is one of the best highs you can experience.

 

Where it has been a few years since I’ve won a championship or something big, I want to win something before my time is done within the sport (Not for a while yet, but nothing is a guarantee in hockey). The something big might not be the Stanley Cup as that ship has sailed a long long time ago, but I am hungry to win. Every game, every shift. Like I said, if I didn’t want to win, why would I turn up. If I didn’t want to win, I’d stay at home and knit.

 

But what big do I want to win. As for me, in my own little microcosm, it would be unbelievable to win the NIHL title, even Div 2 south would be a big thing for me in the microcosm of hockey. I want to be able to have that feeling again.

 

Winning takes a lot of work and you have to stay hungry for it. In Finnish there is a saying of “Nalka kasvaa syodessa” (Loosely translates into: The hunger grows as you eat) and I think it’s a pretty apt description of what I feel now. After winning 3 games straight, I feel the hunger for more wins growing.

 

That is why we play; In an effort to satisfy the hunger for at least a little bit. 

 

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