Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Big Picture

The amazing young author, Adam Shepard, recently sent me his latest book. The inscription was one of the great compliments I have ever received in awhile. I had met Adam right before the "insanity" began in 2010 when he was at my former school talking about his book, "Scratch Beginnings". Adam's new book updating us all on his ife reminded me of the big picture... what I thought was going to be lemons, I got lemonade in 2011 spending a year in New York in 2011, and eventually back in my dream coaching position. It also reminded me to keep the big picture in mind this season.

So when do you recall the big picture? When It's 3 AM and you stare at the wall with a permagrin n your face after beating a team in a close game prompting you to climb up on the glass and high five every fan in the rink... or when it's 3 AM you are at a Quality Inn in Danville having just left an amazing loft rental in Quebec City to fly back to drive 3 hours to lose 7-1. In both instances, you try to remember how you had that same permagrin smile in a basement apartment in Regina after coming back from 3-0 down to beat Bethune in 2002 with Coach John Smith and the same awful feeling in your gut after tough lopsided losses with the Argos in 2000 with Terry O'Malley, and remind yourself that you have lived the same feelings before... although this year they get to be often felt in the same season about 2 weeks apart.

This past weekend on a recruiting trip, I got the ultimate reminder of why I am back in coaching. I got to watch Curtis McElhinney play for the Columbus Blue Jackets. While I am not sure if any of my current players will get the same post hockey career experience (it could happen...), I still get the same pride seeing other former players doing cool things. Interesting that Curtis was in nets with those losses and Adam Shaffer, the same amazing guy that got the game winning goal (on a broken ankle no less... courage!) in 2002 is now an Executive Chef. So whether it's the Shane Kellys now coaching the same Pownal Red Devils I got to coach in 2004 or the guys who might find themselves saying "keep doing what you're doing" recalling when their clueless tennis coach tried to help them, I merely hope to hear stories in the future in how my current players are saving lives in a fire (staying safe themselves), flying people around the country as pilots, or simply being great role models for their respective families.

The seasons, life and hockey, go on...