Too Much to Do

The day to day ramblings of a scrapbooker…

Reflections on learning and commitment…

It seems to me that it was ages ago that I decided I wanted to play ice hockey. The reality is that it really wasn’t that long ago. However, as I like to say “I’m not that good for as long as I’ve been playing.” Why do I say that? Well, it has a lot to do with my inability to spend as much time as I would like on improving my skills.

When I started, it was with a group of hockey moms who wanted to learn to play. Our kids and some of our husbands played. It looked like a lot of fun and it was. Granted, I started with no ability to skate and hadn’t skated since I was maybe 12 years old and THAT was in figure skates. Poor fitting figure skates even with “thick socks to help my ankles.” A world ago.

As moms, a lot of the women had priorities other than being competitive. Most moms defer to what the kids have going on first (even though we know if we don’t take care of mama and mama ain’t happy, no one is happy and we can’t take of no one either). Sadly, many also defer to whatever their significant other has going on as well. So we shortchange ourselves unintentionally but feel that we are doing the right thing. For some, it might be the right thing. Heaven forbid that the husband might need to help RAISE the children. Note: fathers do not babysit their own children… Others made sure that the child arrangements were equitable between parents and kudos to them! It is a partnership after all. In today’s world, there is also work and school commitments that need to come first along with family commitments.

When I started though, the difficulty was not so much finding time to learn as it was places to learn. Eventually finding an adult hockey camp proved a good learning ground. I improved as best I could with that, but as we all know, we need different learning experiences to find the best method for ourselves. I’d had people tell me that I should just get on a team and play. And yes, to some degree that worked too. But it never improved my skating or stick handling. And, yet, the same camp is still a good option for working on my skills.

Why? Because in a game, you only touch the puck a couple of times if you are lucky for a few minutes total. How was that going to improve my stick handling? The skating wasn’t done to where I could actually work on improving it either since it wasn’t repetitive enough. In a game, there is no dedicated work on skating to improve it.

What I needed was dedicated time. Time that I barely have between work and other commitments. Or team practice, which you sure don’t get in beer league or going to pick-up. I did find this balance of time but something had to give. For me, it was a commitment or two to something else and a little bit of sleep. So okay, maybe more than a little bit of sleep on some days (see: camp ends at 11pm).

So, where am I going with this? Well, I see a number of new adult players who figure it will just get easier the more they play … as in just PLAY without practicing. Yes, some people have some natural athletic abilities and can pick it up. But most of us don’t. Hockey isn’t exactly easy. Try balancing on thin blades of steel while someone tries to knock you over while taking the puck away. Do that when you haven’t figured out the balance thing yet and you’ll know what I mean.

They might get better at stick handling or even skating that way but they will miss out on the team aspect of hockey in the meantime. The part where you learn how to break out or break into the zone. The part where you learn what cycling is. The part where you learn where on the ice you should be when defending or in the offensive zone. The part where you learn when to change shifts and how long a shift should be. The part of the GAME where team play is important.

I struggle today with how to impart this wisdom and/or knowledge to these people who are out to have fun, which hockey is and should be. Sadly, I wish for them MORE FUN, which it is once you learn the parts of the game that make the game work because alleviates some of the frustration. Because it is a team sport and contributing to the team is more than puck handling and skating.

So how to explain this without sounding mean or condescending or any number of other not nice things? I don’t know. I’m sure there isn’t a realization yet for why we expect some commitment to learning. But I do know that without the commitment to learning something, (this really goes for anything, not just hockey) the learning just doesn’t seem to happen for most of us. And even if we have been playing a while, we never really know it all. Because if we did and we were that good, we’d be playing in the NHL wouldn’t we?

December 8, 2009 Posted by | Musing | Leave a comment