Stick to the Game Plan

Toews and Seabrook

I must confess, I love the game of hockey but I only watch the playoffs.  I guess for most of the hockey season I do what I can to stay away from the television because I know when baseball season arrives I’ll be watching so much.  Or maybe I just can’t get into the regular season games.  I don’t know.  I’ve only really had an interest in the sport as an adult.  Growing up in southern California, we didn’t play much ice hockey during the winters.

The past few weeks have been really exciting for hockey fans as it’s been the playoff run to the Stanley Cup Finals.  My Chicago Blackhawks have made their way into the finals and have tied the series up 2-2, heading back to Chicago for game 5 Saturday night.  Of the four games played, three have gone into overtime.  The first game was a triple overtime thriller.  They’ve all been thrillers.  Win or lose, this is already a great series for the fans.

But something after game 4 struck me as relevant in my life right now.  It has to do with “playing my game.”  I’ve been in a rut.  That sense of excitement and more about my life in reboot?  Honestly, I’ve lost it a little.  The motivation has taken a hit.  I’m second guessing things.

And there I was, sitting comfortably in my home watching game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals.  It was a barn-burner.  Chicago scored in the first period, and then Boston scored.  In the second period, Chicago scored twice before Boston scored, and then Chicago again before Boston scored another.  It went on like this until the end of regulation when the score was tied at 5 goals each.  OVERTIME!

Chicago finally scored the winning goal in overtime to tie the series up at 2 games each.

A thrilling game, and I was excited because my team won.  After the game I hopped online to read some news and catch the post-game interviews.  That’s when it struck me…

Chicago defenseman Brent Seabrook said he was talking to team captain Jonathan Toews before the game about what Toews was thinking about.  The notoriously tight lipped Toews responded “Nothing.”  But Seabrook could tell something was on his captain’s mind.  And something should have been on his captain’s mind, as Toews is not only the team captain and the Blackhawks were down in the series, but he is also a prolific scorer with only one goal to his credit.

You see, what Seabrook and everyone else knew about Toews was that he wasn’t playing his game.  He was playing defensively to counter-act whatever the Boston Bruins had been doing.  As such, he hadn’t been scoring goals and he wasn’t the dangerous force out on the ice that he is known to be.  After some prodding from Seabrook, Toews finally admitted that he did have something on his mind.  One specific something.


And he did, and Chicago played a fast and aggressive game 5, finally winning in overtime.  The entire team, inspired by Toews resurgence, played their game.  To success.  And it wasn’t lost on me as I read the post-game interviews how relevant that is in everyday life.

It’s important we aren’t letting outside influences change our game plan and push us away from our successes.  We need to hold firm, overcome the obstacles and play our game so that we achieve the goals we want to achieve.  And sometimes, we need a friend there to help us through our struggles.  We need a friend to prod us and ask “What are you thinking about?”

As I head into the weekend, I’ll be cognizant of my game plan and how I’m moving forward with that.  Plans are important.  I’ll also be relying on my teammates in life (friends & family) to help me through the difficult times.  I’ll be cognizant not to ignore their advice or words of encouragement.  In times of struggle, it’s important not to dismiss those around me who want to help.

And finally, I need to be honest with myself.  Some of my struggles have been a result of my own action (or inaction).  Time to turn up the intensity a little bit more and get back to playing my game.

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