I had a lot of fun going to the Grand Rapids Griffins home opener on Saturday, but I also realized something as I was drinking my 3rd margarita. I am still trying too hard to be accepted in some situations. A lot of this need to be accepted still goes back to my middle/high school days when it was hard for me to make friends. I never was the most popular person in school, never was the most athletic even though I was in sports year round. I never could crack the varsity lineup on a regular basis, even in my senior year. Never was considered to be funny or be someone everyone wanted to be around. On Saturday, I started to think about some of those things again. I wondered how long it would be until the people I play hockey with would just as soon not invite me to come around anymore. Sometimes I wonder why they do call me because I don’t see myself as a entertaining person most of the time.
Another thing that goes along with acceptance is a respecting those around you. I have always considered myself to be a respectable person. When I first started playing hockey, I was pretty low on myself. I couldn’t skate and I never played before in my life. Fast forward a few years later of playing multiple times a week and practicing with the Riverfrogs travel team, I was getting better. I had achieved a few championships and felt I was pretty good. A year later, I started talking smack, which isn’t like me to be honest but I did because others I am friends with are like that as well. Its fun when you win, but to me it was miserable when I lost.
I wouldn’t have to say I am a sore loser, but I pride myself on learning from my mistakes and working hard to correct them so I am a better person or goalie. I don’t like to lose at anything. It can be a game of Battlefield 2 or World of Warcraft. It can be a regular season hockey game or a playoff game. When I lose, I take it hard. When I win, I am overjoyed. I know, a big difference there I must say.
Case in point, I remember when my Bulldogs were playing 40oz to Freedom in the title game. We lost that game 2-1, but I will never forget how I felt afterward. I didn’t play horrible during the game, but just the fact that we lost really tugged at me hard. Thats just one instance though. There are other big games that I have lost in the past that I still think about today. I remember when I played for Team X and I lost to Extreme Graphics in the semifinals when a puck went in off my skate from behind the net. That was the game winner with 5 minutes to go to make it 2-1. I also remember a horrible game I played against the Komets in the semifinals when my Bulldogs team lost 5-4 after a undefeated season.
Then, I remember the victories. I remember winning 3 titles in one day last season in the playoffs. I went 6-0 in net and played very strong the whole day. I remember the Stick Heads first championship when Neal scored on a 2 on 1 chance in OT. I had made a couple key stops to send it to OT and I was elated after a wraparound save. I still remember playing for the Fury and shutting down the top ranked team in the league in the finals to win 2-0. My first ice hockey playoffs we won 1-0 after finishing dead last in the division. I shut down the top ranked offense in the league that day.
After Saturday has come and gone, and all the playoff games are finished, I will undoubtedly feel rotten or happy depending on the results. With the odds so stacked against all my teams in playoffs, I am going to have to play out of my mind in order to accomplish what I want to achieve.