On Saturday they played against what could be considered a rival team. Coming into the game they were 1-2 against this team including a pretty bad loss in a tourney championship game. Jimmy was pretty jacked going in to play them and thus far I've enjoyed watching their games because two out of the three had been very competitive. And the first two periods on Saturday were no different. It was back and forth, good plays being made my both teams and as they entered into the third period the score was tied 4-4. It was shaping up to be another memorable game with a great ending.
Beginning the third period Jimmy's team put another shot in the net and took the lead 5-4. It was after that the wheels came off. Only a minute of two later their competitors scored to tie it up. And then a minute later they scored again to go up 6-5. And then they scored again, and a again, and again, and again, closing out the game with 6 unanswered goals to take a 10-5 win. Momentum had swung and they fell into quick sand. No matter what they did it didn't work and as each goal went in you could see the kids body language change from competition to the realization they were going to lose the game.
On Sunday they had another game a fair distance away. On the ride Jimmy and I talked some about the game and I gave him my standard advice when asked what I wanted to see from him that day: Play hard, do your best, and listen to you coach. No "score a goal or get an assist" or "work on your shot or skating". Those are things for practice and will come with practice. Games are for showing what you've learned and applying them to the best of your ability and I impress that on him before every game. What I didn't know at that time is they would do that and more. They would present a life lesson if one were inclined to look for it.
Once the game began it was like they'd completely forgot about the day before and what had happened. They were all flying around the ice and making plays. Getting shots on goal an controlling the speed and flow of the game. At the end of the first period they were up 1-0. As the game wore on and they played the second period their confidence seemed to build and they put in a couple more goals. By the end of the game it didn't matter who was on the ice, they were skating hard and playing as well as they had all season and they finished the game with a 6-1 victory. It was an amazing transformation to watch from one day to another.
So where was the message in all this? On one day they couldn't seem to get anything to go right. No matter what they did it seemed to backfire on them. However, rather than simply giving up they continued to play the game and take their bumps and bruises. The kept working hard to try and change the outcome even though they could see it simply wasn't their day. But that work proved fruitful the next day. They put the previous day and game behind them and began fresh. They were able to apply the lessons from the previous day and translate those lessons into a good, solid win. This is something we can all learn from. We all have bad days, days that it seems nothing will go right. Sometimes those days turn into a string of days or even weeks or months. What's important in those times is to continue to work and improve and take the lessons learned and apply them. I know when I have frustrating times I can forget this lesson and it took a group of great kids playing a hockey game to remind me.
In life, like it a sports game, bad things are going to happen and sometimes it's going to feel like everything is against you. It's up to you to continue to push forward, learn, and make the changes necessary to accomplish your specific goals. It's also necessary in life, like in a team sport to rely on those around you instead of trying to do it all yourself. Ask questions and listen to your coach and mentors, lean on your teammates or friends and family to help you get through when you're not performing your best, set a specific goal and work towards it. And above it all, never give up or give in. Keep fighting and pushing through each and every day with a goal of being a little better today than you were the day before. Yes, I was reminded of an important lesson. And it was a lesson taught by a bunch of kids doing something they love. Let us all remember those lessons when we're doing the simplest thing of all. Living.