I can’t believe I forgot about the November Dip this season.
I’ve written about it before in this space. The November Dip is the inevitable slide in mood - your kids, your friends, the guy at the grocery store you see every week. It’s not confined to hockey. The November Dip is like an insidious halloween hangover that comes for us when we least expect it.
Why, just now my keyboard barely escaped being thrown through a window as a result of low batteries. Sure, it’s not the keyboard’s fault I have a deadline to hit with this post in … eight hours.
But that doesn’t mean it’s not infuriating. The little things cut deep sometimes, right?
I’ve learned a lot about perspective in the last year. I don’t coach minor hockey during the winter any more, but the strongest relationships I’ve made in my life reside there. I get as wound up as anybody when it comes to hockey. Blowing the whistle and standing on the bench offers you some control or contribution to the game - but not total control.
The same goes for being a parent in the crowd (I think).
If you’re grinding your way through another hockey season and you can still see the forest through the trees, even if it’s just a glimpse, then congrats! Perspective achieved.
What does perspective mean? Well, only you can define that, right? I talked to an exasperated friend on the phone earlier tonight who’s frustrated with the current state of his child’s hockey season, but still recognizes the importance of perspective when it comes to that frustration.
It always seems to be in the middle of a multi-game losing streak that we focus more on the process than the results. It’s easier to stomach the angst when we focus on what we’re putting into the game instead of what we’re getting out of it.
And by game, I’m not necessarily talking hockey (unless you’re playing senior men’s and looking for answers). When you focus on your effort instead of the result, then you’re taking care of what you control. And thus, your reward is the process. Cool, right?
In the past year I’ve watched as two dear friends said goodbye to loved ones. One father, one husband. It’s this type of perspective we all come back to when we get exasperated with the insane decisions our kid’s coach is making.
When this time of year rolls around I believe it’s important to remind ourselves of the reasons we love the game, enjoy the game, and devote so much time and energy to its pursuits. Sure, working long hours and driving all over the lower mainland can drive us mad, but we do it for a reason, right?
It’s the people. Hockey is about the people we meet, the people we get to know, and the people to whom we have to say goodbye. I was lucky enough to run into old friends at the club recently, one of whom being a recent survivor of c#$^cer. It’s these moments that I’m reminded of the reason ours is the greatest game on earth. Sure, the season is long and takes a lot of energy, but the rewards are more than worth it.
The holidays are right around the corner. Please enjoy them with your family, your friends, your loved ones.
And to whom we’ve said goodbye, rest well, and keep your stick on the ice.