When I look back at the first year of this blog, a few things strike me:
– I didn’t rewrite enough. There were some bad choices, but that’s what you get when you don’t write enough for years, then try to do it publicly.
– I had a lot more fun that year than in any year following.
– I had a lot of passion for the game. And I wonder where that passion went. It certainly isn’t there like it used to be.
But the other day, something occurred to me about the passion part: The passion for the game is still there, it’s the amount of passion that’s diminished. And I don’t mean the passion related to the game specifically, I mean the passion for ANYTHING.
(yes, I am going to talk about myself for a minute here. There are a lot of sentences that start with the letter I. You can skim this part if you want)
The last few years have been a struggle. You probably don’t care for any details, but if you want them, you can sit down with me at a bar or a game and I’ll give you the short version. Part of the struggle has been finding the passion for things I care about.
For a while, that translated into wondering what I cared about, even though I already knew what I cared about. It was the same things I cared about for years, I just didn’t feel like I cared enough about it. Hockey has been one of those things (among others). I could still care intensely about the game when it was on, I would still love the hell out of going to the rink and practicing on my weak skills, I would still get excited when it was time to talk about hockey, and when I sat down to write about hockey, I mostly enjoyed that as well.
What I didn’t feel was a right to feel good about it. I didn’t feel motivated to get up and do something about it. I would make excuses not to write. I would make excuses not to play. I have two great people who agreed to podcast with me, and I have made excuses not to record with them or anyone because of the slightest difficulty. They deserve full apologies. They will get them.
This is stupid, isn’t it? Anyone with a computer and the internet can start a hockey blog. The successful ones do two things well: write and stay with it. And I’ve kind of done both, but only kind of. I put down the blog, pick it back up, put it down, and rinse and repeat. I got very discouraged with my podcast, even though I believe in the medium and believe in the format and idea behind it. I didn’t push though that discouragement when it struck and didn’t fight hard enough to get back on track. I think we all have periods we doubt ourselves; it’s our reaction to it that makes us who we are.
The long and the short of it is I used to believe more in the things I made, and more in the things I liked to do, and I let other people convince me otherwise. I’ve had a few experiences recently that have reminded me otherwise.
We are a few days into the New Year, so this post would have been more timely a few days ago. That’s OK, I took my time to consider this, and what to do about it. I don’t believe in New Years resolutions. We tell ourselves we are going to do something, then it falls apart and we wind up with another excuse to be mad at ourselves. We make a resolution to lose 40 pounds, and as soon as we skip a day of exercise, we give up. Hard resolutions are ridiculous. I like the idea of setting a goal, or a theme. Or even a few of them. So here we go.
The Year of Pucking Dangerously:
I love hockey. It’s in the title of this blog and it’s there for a reason. I love to watch it, I love to talk about it, and even at the low level of skill I have, I love to play it. So this year, one of the themes is hockey. Not just collecting jerseys, but getting more involved and invested in the sport.
Yes, that means more blogging. Not daily, but can’t I manage maybe two posts a week? It’s a lot more than I have been doing lately. And as out of practice as I’ve been, I don’t expect the first posts will be any good. Some of them may even be crappy list posts and just general and short thoughts, but they will be there.
It means more podcasting. I blew up the podcasting schedule for The Rink after wanting to relaunch it this season. The biggest issue has been the quality of the internet connections foisted upon me (if you didn’t know, I travel for a living and don’t often have quality internet connections, and since the podcast tends to rely on a decent Skype connection…), but even then, a few month off is way too much. The biggest thing we can build for ourselves on the internet is a reputation and the trust of the people who read or listen to what we do. Frankly, I blew it, but plan to earn it back. If you were disappointed in my output, I will be trying to rectify that. Believe me, I have been disappointed as well.
It means learning to play hockey. I am fairly out of shape, and while dropping some pounds and gaining some wind would make a good resolution, that isn’t the real goal. The real goal is to be able to play hockey better, to the point where I am not embarrassing myself on the ice, and can maybe play in a charity game or two. Which means carrying a little less James around on the ice and getting in shape enough to not be exhausted at the end of the night. It also means getting more skill and vision on the ice itself. It’s been long lamented that armchair fans of the game don’t understand what the game looks like when you are in the middle of it, and I can tell you for a fact, it’s true. And yes, that means you will be hearing about rec hockey here on the blog. But hey, this has never been a strictly NHL blog, and it’s my voice here, so I get to make it what I want.
There are other goals for this year. I will be starting my own side business. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, but I didn’t know what to start. Now I do. I might reference it every so often here, but I plan on keeping it separate from hockey. I plan to put a little more effort into my Pod Geek site. Again, I don’t have to post every day, but I plan to post more than I have, and with a better understanding of what my direction is. I will cut myself a little more slack. I tend to beat myself up a lot when I don’t follow through with my plans or ideas, and I’m going to do that a lot less. And I’m going to start saying ‘No’ a lot more, and follow though on when I say “Yes” more. In an effort not to disappoint, I say yes to more things than I should, then don’t execute the ones I should have said no to in the first place. That’s going to change.
So there you have it. Laid out for you, trying to be accountable, trying to come up with a way to actually do the things that I care about and made a habit out of pushing to the back burner. Life is way to short not to do the things you want. It’s time to do more than see what happens, it’s time to make it happen.
(And a big thank you to Greg from The Post Pessimist Association blog. He listened to me complain, talked to me, and helped me get to the point where action was the only step to take. I seriously would be wallowing in a pool of self-pity and anger if it weren’t for him right now.)