Ronan and I have been watching the Bruins. With bated breath. Staying up too late, wasting years and prayers hoping we win.
Why? I don’t know.
I think it might be because I was raised in what could fairly be called a hockey household.
This game. It was always there. Complete with the constant (ick) scent of hockey equipment, the trips to Sports Etc to get my brother’s skates sharpened, the nightly conversations between my dad and brother about whatever game was happening, whether it be my brother’s pee wee team or the professionals. I ate a lot of rink pizza, played catch and hide and seek under the stands at the Burlington Ice Palace.
I learned as a young girl the difference between a forecheck and a backcheck, the meaning of shorthanded, the reason why the ref blows the whistle for offsides. I remember being a little girl and thinking “offsides just means the players are getting ahead of themselves, literally.” I am not even sure if that is right, but that is how I looked at it. Still do.
I remember sitting with my dad, watching the Bruins, and he would say things like “trouble” or “goal”, and 9 out of 10 times he was right.
I also remember this. Those conversations between my dad and brother at dinner, in the car. My father never told my brother he played badly, he never blamed my brother’s teammates for a loss. It was never about who won or who lost. He focused on the game, the bigger picture. What went wrong on the ice, what went right. How a play should have gone differently, how a shift change was too quick, or too slow. He talked about the coaching. He taught my brother to look at the bigger picture. To learn from what went wrong, to repeat what went right. To look to the next game, the next day.
It wasn’t about one kid, or one play. Ever. He taught all us kids that.
And it worked. Because my brother has grown to be a standout coach and a person who doesn’t blame individuals for a loss (or congratulate for a win) but looks at the bigger picture.
Of course, this makes me think about me and Ronan. Why I should not focus on what he did, or didn’t do, in one “play” or one game. On a given day. It is about the bigger picture.
And how, “winning” is not always the ultimate goal. It is about doing your best, learning from your mistakes, focusing on the bigger picture.
To looking to the next “game”– the next day.