The year in review

I had many goals set for myself this coming year.  I thought I would go through each one of them and set new ones.

1. Achieve 25 rollerhockey championships.  At the beginning of the year I had 23, so I thought that 25 was going to be obtainable.  As it turns out, I now have 27 which is far more than I ever could have thought possible.

2. Win my very first ice hockey championship.  This did not come true, not even close.  I really missed my opportunity in 2008 when I laid an egg in the finals.  Maybe this year will be different.

3. Get one year closer to my MBA degree. One year closer, but still not scheduled to graduate until 2011 or so.

4. Keep up with technology.  Achieved and still working on it.

5. Get plenty of sleep every night. Achieved for the most part.  I need to get to bed sooner every now and again, but I am achieving my goal.

6. Never forget your friends and family.  Achieved and still working on it.

7. Take good care of my knees.  Achieved, but I really need to decrease my playtime a bit.  I just love hockey so much.

Now I set my new goals for this year.  As normal, I will set my goals high.

1.  Achieve 30 rollerhockey championships.  This is going to be much harder than winning 2 to get to 25 last year.  The issue here is that I am not fielding teams to win championships alone.  In the twilight of my playing days, I want to play with my friends.  I have no interest in playing to win championships anymore.  If the championships come, they will be by luck, not by design.  Still, I have a good shot at getting 28 in January, so I am hoping I get lucky this coming year.

2.  Win my very first ice hockey championship.  I don’t know how I am going to get there, but I won’t get there unless I keep playing and working hard.

3.  Get one year closer to my MBA degree.  Target graduation in 2011-2012.

4.  Keep up with technology.  Same as last year.  I have to keep up with the new tech that comes out and be tech savvy.

5.  Get plenty of sleep every night.  7 hours minimum is important for my health.

6.  Never forget your friends and family.  Same as last year, but I will be improving that.

7.  Take good care of my knees.  I may actually reduce my playtime this coming year.

8.  Hang out more with my friends when I can.  I have to make a push to go out more with the friends that I have.  I have shunned them in the past and that isn’t a good thing.  When given the opportunity to hang with them, I am going to do it.

9.  Improve my skating.  This leads into being a better referee.  One thing that I got hit with this year was my average skating.  I want to do more travel games next year and the only way I am going to get those games is to get out there and keep skating.  I plan on attending power skating clinics and/or acceleration skating program.  I want to be a 100% better skater next year.

10.  Improve my refereeing.  I have come a long way this year, but next year I want to be even better than I was this year at reffing.

11.  Achieve level 2 refereeing certification.  I should be able to get there next year with some studying and hard work on the ice.

Have a great new year!

Not a great night

Tonight I played probably some of the worst hockey in the last 6 months.  My team didn’t play that magnificent in front of me, but I hardly infused them with any confidence.  My attitude was not the best either as I lashed out at my teammates.  Mind you, I may yell at my team, but the last thing I want to do is demean them.  Tonight, I did just that and I felt terrible after the game is over.  There is an old adage that you win as a team and you lose as a team.  We sit in a solid 3rd place in the division with 2 games to go, and I should be thinking about the next game.  I shouldn’t be getting on my team like that.

I learned from my lesson though.  I have to get back to playing solid hockey.  The last few weeks have been inconsistent from a goaltending standpoint.  I have one more game this week and then the next two weeks after that to really buckle down and get my act in order before playoffs start.

The first thing I am going to do is give myself an attitude adjustment before my next game.

Controlling your own destiny

In hockey, its always better to control your own destiny when it comes to making playoffs.  Its always better to not be chasing a spot and be the team that has secured one.  So far, two of my three teams control their own destiny.  Marketlab and Malys are in good spots right now and with limited games to go, they both should make the playoffs.  Who Cares made a good move today with a 1-1 tie with the first place team overall.  I couldn’t be more proud of Who Cares after the game today.  Many players made sacrifices during the game that enabled us to get key points toward a playoff spot.

Controlling your own destiny also means that you are in control of your life as well.  I have made great strides this year in becoming a better person.  Not only in a hockey sense, but also in a life sense.  I am now refereeing on a regular basis which fuels me to get better at it so the kids, parents, and coaches are satisfied with my hard work and dedication.  Work is going very well in addition.  I have made great strides this year in my personal life and look to make many more next year and many years to come.

I watched Randy Pausch’s “The Last Lecture” on Youtube a few weeks ago and I was floored.  For those of you who haven’t watched it, please take the time to do so.  It really did put a new perspective on life for me and fueled my desire to make the world a much better place and at the same time, achieve my childhood dreams.

I have achieved so much this year, and I will post more about that as I look back and reflect upon the year that was.  I am not just talking about in a hockey sense, but in a total life sense.  For now though, I am going to bed.  I am really going to be happy with 5 straight days off to rest and relax.  Well, with all the traveling I have to do, I won’t be resting that much.  I sure am going to get as much in as I can though.

Not the best day

It is just simply amazing how one day you can be on top of your game and playing real well.  Then the next day you find yourself not able to stop a beach ball.  I had one of the bad days last night as Marketlab lost 9-6 after I made some colossal blunders in net.  The second game Marketlab played would have been a loss as well if it wasn’t for the team in front of me.

So what did I learn from yesterday?  I had a bad day in net.  I had a problem shaking myself from yesterday’s games though.  Even today I was second guessing and kicking myself for the losses.  Gotta rebound though because we have two weeks off and then we are back to work again.  The regular season title is still ours to lose and with the way the top teams have played us hard, the playoffs are going to be a tough fight.

My other teams are doing well.  Maly’s is in a 3 way tie for 1st place.  Who Cares is clinging to a playoff spot, but we are going to have to play our best games through the last 4 weeks to make it.

Oh, and I finally get to play ice hockey tonight after over a month.  I am really looking forward to it because I don’t know how much longer I will be playing as a goalie on ice.  Being an ice hockey referee has really pushed me into changing a bit when it comes to playing hockey.  Instead of goaltending, I may start skating out.  This in conjunction with working on my skating and endurance for next season’s officiating season.  Going to enjoy playing tonight though thats for sure.

I have to start posting more.  So much has happened and just now, after I turn in a bad performance in hockey last night, do I feel the need to post an update.  That’s a bad precedence to set.

Moving on up?

After Marketlab’s 10-4 lopsided win last night to improve to 3-0, my team asked me about moving up next season.  Moving up to the top division is not easy thats for sure.  At the same time though, we have finished at the top of the division 4 out of the last 5 seasons.  Its a move I am really considering next season.

The only downside would be our weaker skaters on the team would struggle.  According to a few players who play in that division, the weaker skaters we have would be too much of a drop off in talent for the top division.  We would win a few games in that division, but we wouldn’t be competitive with teams like the Fury, Pfieffer, and the Grand Valley team.

Another thing to consider is the health of the team.  We have a player coming back for the first time in 8 months after injuring his MCL.  Do we really want his rehab return to be in that top division?  Then you have me fighting this darn groin injury that just does not want to go away.

I am going to consider this move for next season though just based on what happened last night.  I want a challenge when I play, and last night was nothing of the sort.  Of course, we played one of the bottom rung teams.  The real test will be the 3 games we play when we get back from break when we play the top teams in the league once again.

Progressing well

Hockey and life continues to treat me well, even though the pulled muscle in my inner thigh or groin muscle doesn’t like me too much.  Marketlab is 2-0 so far and has a good shot at going 3-0 this week.  Malys is undefeated so far.  Who Cares can increase to 2-1 with a win this week.  The only thing thats a bummer is that I haven’t been able to bring my success in roller over to ice.  I know the team I am playing for isn’t playing very well, but I am just not making big stops like I should.  The end result is us only winning a couple games this season.  This depresses me greatly because the one thing left on my accomplishments list is a championship in ice hockey.  Its one thing that I may not accomplish anytime soon, if ever.

The good thing is even though I have this nagging injury, it isn’t a bad injury.  I am still able to move, play hockey, and walk around without major discomfort.  The problem is I end up sore the next day.  The pulled muscle does stop me from moving around in net as well as I could.  Its not a show stopper though, but it makes me nervous that it may cost me a game at a critical time of the season.  I took two weeks off in October and the injury was gone at the end of the two weeks but came back right away when I started exercising again.  I am hoping that another two week break at Christmas will be just what the doctor ordered.

The beat goes on

I spent the weekend just resting for the most part.  The days were very nice to spend outside anyway, so I mowed the lawn one last time and then proceeded to break the lawnmower.  Then I tried installing a new head on my trimmer which didn’t work either.  So I decided to put that kind of work down and just rest.

The pulled muscle in my leg only seems to bother me when I am playing in net and doing things like leg lifts.  Its obvious the muscle is still strained or something else is going on that I don’t know about.  If I keep having problems like this, I am going to be forced to make some decisions I didn’t want to make, like resting next season instead of playing.  There is part of me that wants to have this checked out at the doctor.  After all, it has been 6+ weeks since I first felt it give.  At the same time though, I really haven’t rested it like I should.  Resting it would be no skating at all for a period of 2-3 weeks.  I just don’t have the patience I guess.  I have been stretching my legs out really well before skating on them.  I am sure while I am skating out playing today I will be just fine.  Its when I strap on the goalie pads is when I will start feeling it again.  I am confident that it will get better soon and I will cross the line of taking time off later if it doesn’t heal.

I reffed a couple games this weekend and had a lot of fun doing it.  The more games I work, the better I become at not only position, but doing the little things right.  I continue to work on my skating as well so I am a much stronger skater come next season when I hit level 2.

I was recently asked where I want to be when I ref hockey games.  Some people do it for the paycheck.  I am doing it because I enjoy it.  Working with the kids is where my love for the sport still is.  Just like when I coached mites and squirts years ago, reffing that age group is where I want to be.  Even when I hit level 2 next season, I will be looking at doing the younger kids, but adding travel hockey to my list of things I want to do in that age group.  I should be able to achieve that goal.

You never know, I may find myself coaching again down the road.

I am pretty happy with the way things are going.  Sure, I would like to ref more games, but I will get there soon enough.  Patience is a virtue.

A good start to the season

I had a pretty good start to the season with all my teams.  I am skating out for Maly’s as we won 4-3.  I scored an empty net goal and skated pretty well for my first time in over a year.  I look forward to playing better as the season goes on.

Who Cares had a tougher go at it as we lost 3-2.  I played very well, but we just didn’t have enough goal support.  I guess we will see how the season pans out for us in the end, but I think we might have a rough season unless we can score more.  I am confident that I can keep teams off the scoresheet in net.

Lastly, Marketlab had a great start to the season with a 9-2 win on Thursday.  I was very impressed with our passing, communication, and defensive dedication.  It was impressive to see us dominate like we did, but I also realize that it was only one game.  I will be happy to see us have a few more games like that one though.

The bad news is I still have a pulled muscle in my groin that is not fully healed up.  I rested it for 6 days, then skated as a ref on it and it was fine.  Rested it for 5 more days and reffed again without a problem.  On Wednesday for my first game as a goalie, I felt tinges of pain as I tried to butterfly.  Last night was the same thing.  This is not as bad as it was, but I am starting to wonder if I need to give it more time to heal up.  Either that or I have a even bigger problem on my hands.  I am going to play on it for now but I am also going to stretch it out really well before every game.

Playoff reflections

I look back upon Saturday after a few days to think about what happened.  I have had a lot of fond memories of this past season, and even more anticipation to start the next one.  Now all I need to do is close the book on last season for good.

It was a very good season and a good playoff run for me.  After sucking it up at the last playoff day when I made it to 2 finals games and lost in both of them, I was looking forward to a little redemption.  I went 3-1 on the day in total.  I feel I was centered to the puck well and I came up with some pretty good saves all day.  The icing on the cake was beating the undefeated team to win the championship.  The last undefeated team I beat was with the Dragons about a year ago, and that victory really brought back some fond memories that’s for sure.

Maly’s didn’t even make the playoffs this season and there is rumors that they will move back down to beginner where they belong.  I also may skate out on the team as well.  I don’t know yet.  My difficulty will be settling into a role outside of goaltending and sticking with it.  So long as the team is successful, I am happy to be skating.

Marketlab will return after winning their 4th championship.  We are making no changes over last season right now.  The players all want to return, and thats fine being as that we finished in 2nd by just a point and the 3rd-5th place squads were just a point behind us.  It was a tight division and it will be interesting to see how it all unfolds by the end of it.  The division is going to be a tough one needless to say.  The intermediate division is always tough and tight though.  I love the parity and knowing that any team can win on any given day.

For now though, I am just going to heal up.  I strained my groin and after reffing on it on Sunday, I am really feeling it today.  I am going to rest it for the rest of the week and then see how it feels on Saturday.  I hope it will be fully healed by then.  I am going to take a solid two weeks off goaltending just to get my heart and soul back into the game.  I need the break if not for my groin, but for my desire to make another run at a championship.

Wanting it more

I am sitting here in my chair at home, my eyelids are so heavy.  I am ready to crash very soon.  Yet, I am sitting here typing a piece to add to my blog.  I must be very dedicated.  Well, that and I am excited still.  My Marketlab team was shorthanded tonight, and yet with only 6 guys and seeded 2nd overall, we charged into the finals and then gave a dominating performance to take the championship.  It was my 27th, and I feel on top of the world right now.

The day was not without its low points though.  Getting beat with the Blizzard house team in the highest division 6-1 was pretty sad.  I had higher hopes for this team than I did Marketlab actually.  I thought we would have a good shot to win a championship, and that dream ended real quick.  I know my defense left me out to dry.  Still, it was a sad game to lose like that.

I subbed in for a team called “Great White Ninja” who had a great first game against the Lightning house team.  We skated to a 6-4 victory.  It was good to see them advance, but from that point forward I was concentrating on Marketlab.

Marketlab only had 6 skaters, and I knew the task was daunting.  Beat Team Steve, a team that beat us in the last game of the regular season in OT.  Then, beat the Puckups, a team that went undefeated and has a super team.  One game at a time though.  We concentrated on the first one.

We won the first game 7-3.  We had a really good start to the game by scoring the first few goals.  Then they came back with a few goals of their own to make it close.  We tore away from them in the 3rd and they never caught up.  My performance was mixed.  I just feel that I didn’t play my strongest game.

The strongest game of the night that I played was in the last game against the Puckups.  However, my team didn’t need it.  My team dominated the play.  Everyone just skated like they wanted to win that game.  Sure, there were a couple good saves I made, but my team did the hard work.  I was not relied on to make big save until we were up 2-0 and I had a couple nice saves in the crease.  By the time they got a shot on the backdoor that I stopped, it was already 5-0.  By the time they scored their first goal it was already 7-0 and less than 3 minutes left in the game.  It was a nice breakaway.  I gave up a crappy 5-hole goal after that, but we did win a solid game thats for sure.  I cannot complain.

Yes, we wanted that game the the championship that came with it.  Everyone played a solid game and played like a true team with a ton of desire.  I will write more tomorrow.  I am exhausted.