It’s a foggy morning here on the side of the mountain. I’ve returned to the keyboard after a month spent galavanting around exotic locales like Edmonton and Calgary, chasing dreams of victory with a pack of 25 hockey players, coaches, and trainers.
Hockey is an emotional game to play and it’s an emotional game to write about. The boss and I talk often about the type of content we’re going for, and it always comes back to humour, because hockey’s a game, right? It’s supposed to be fun.
Sometimes fun and passion look like the same thing. With that in mind, here are three things I learned from real stories that occurred in 2015.
If you follow the fun on Twitter, some of you might have noticed we have a few friends who like to chime in from time to time about all the terrible things happening at the NSWC and other hockey organizations in the lower mainland. The internet has granted trolls and grumps carte blanche to treat people like sewer runoff, but that attitude doesn’t have to flow both ways. In fact, when you roll in the mud with a pig, you’ll both get dirty, but the pig will like it.
So it was that a few months ago I was worried when an account named Freddy started responding to posts on twitter. I was frustrated the first few times Freddy posted a comment because they were inaccurate and I didn’t know how to respond. I closed my mind because I didn’t want to get caught up in a twitter flame-war that would probably reflect poorly on the entire NSWC.
But I responded anyway. And no such war began.
I started to have some fun with it. Instead of ignoring Freddy, I engaged in the conversation and actually had a civil back-and-forth. I eventually wished him a merry christmas. The other day Freddy actually complimented the club, and while I’m sure we’d disagree on a lot of things, I bet our general belief systems aren’t that dissimilar.
Hey Freddy, beers soon?
One of the biggest mistakes I made in 2015 was lumping together players at different ages. I received my fair share of criticism from people for articles about finding a role for players or balancing ice time. Most of this feedback was for articles I wrote for The Coaches’ Site, a website with a completely different audience than the NSWC’s, in that most readers over there are amateur hockey coaches as opposed to hockey parents.
So my new rule when it comes to writing about hockey? Always include a disclaimer related to age, regardless of the audience. What works for a hockey 3 player might not necessarily work for a major midget player. This is how most coaches operate on the ice, so it’s probably a good idea to follow the practice in print. Some players call for a stern hand, others need a lighter touch.
For example, I was working with an atom girls’ team, and in the first few minutes of one practice it was evident that one player intended to discover just how far she could push the new coach. She didn’t like the drills, didn’t like how I coached and wanted nothing to do with hockey.
Or so one might think.
Some kids are eager to learn, some are eager for attention. I won’t give away all my secrets, but these days this player goes out of her way to say hello to me at NSWC. We even have a secret handshake.
Over the holidays my Dad was asking me about a tennis post I wrote a few months ago and how I could possibly come up with new material all the time. Tennis and swimming content all originates from experts in the field, but hockey?
Hockey is a never-ending deluge of new stories and new ideas. We’re all obsessed with hockey, particularly with improving it in a way that helps our own cause. This means that there will always be something new to talk about or some new perspective to consider.
As long as we open our minds to the possibilities.
Happy New Year, gang. Keep your stick on the ice.