I seem to get sick in the fall as the weather changes, which coincidentally happens around the time we take a break from playing hockey. By the time I recover, it’s time to get back to work planning the next season. This task is becoming more difficult for me because the program isn’t even close to where I had hoped it would be after 11 years. The dream is to have a self-sustaining league that will survive long after I quit playing, but with every passing year, we to do the same…raise money for a trip, have a fun weekend playing hockey, see friends from all over the country, come home and start the process again. While it is an amazing experience, it can be a little redundant and it’s extremely hard begging for money all the time. Anyone who works for a nonprofit knows exactly what I’m talking about! (If you would like to make a donation to our hockey program, you can do so online!)
When the NHL Lockout ended and I was FINALLY able to attend a Hurricanes’ game I realized that my passion was where I had left it last summer; the PNC Arena! The Canes didn’t win, but it was so nice to hear the skate blades cutting the ice, the crack of a stick as it receives a pass, and the atmosphere you can only have at an NHL game. As the chills came over me, I realized that my passion was the game itself, not just building a program for people with disabilities.
I absolutely love the game of hockey. I love everything about it. When I was a forward, I loved being able to set up a teammate to score or take a shot myself. Now that I am goalie, I love working with the defense and the “thud” of a ball hitting my chair or pads. I especially love the “How the heck did he do that?” look on the opponent’s face when I make a save! When I’m not playing, I love to watch the game and continue to learn about the sport.
Yes, hockey has done many things for me by giving me confidence and allowing me to see North America, but more importantly it just makes me happy. Sometimes happiness is all we need. I believe that too often in life we focus on the negative. We all do it. I’ve seen people leave the teaching profession because one child drove them nuts, but what about all the other kids they may have helped?
We all feel unappreciated sometimes, but we can either dwell on it or focus on our original passion that bought us in to our chosen field in the first place. Yes, the NCEWHA has had moments of disagreements and people left, but why let one bad day sour the life-changing activities that hockey can give us? A simple cost-benefit analysis will show you the sport gives a lot more than you sacrifice to play.
I challenge all of you in your moments of frustration at work to take a step back and remember why you are there in the first place. Find the passion that bought you to your career. Instead of focusing on what you dislike about your job, try to focus on the positive. If you’re a teacher, remember the kid who decided to be his best because of you. If you’re a doctor, remember the happiness you gave a family when you saved their child. If you’re a founder of a wheelchair hockey program, remember the lives you changed so far (yes, I’m preaching to myself as well).