July 30, 2012
Introspective Look Into My Own Hockey Future
It has been over a year now since the Vancouver Canucks lost game seven of the Stanley Cup final to the Boston Bruins. I have long gotten over the defeat itself, but I am still exploring the long term implications.
And no, I'm not referring to influences on the rest of the hockey, or the effects on either franchise or its fan base over the months and years ahead. Or about the destinies or legacies of the many characters involved.
No. I'm talking about my own long term personal implications. Specifically my future as a freelance hockey journalist, and, to some level, even my own future as a hockey fan.
Throughout those 2011 playoffs I knew that regardless whether my Canucks won or lost that those playoffs would somehow change me forever. I did not know how then, and I'm still exploring it now.
Throughout the entire playoff run I never really enjoyed the ride. I was so intense, so anxious, so unhealthily fixated by it all that I knew something had to give. It had actually been going on for years already. Three books, countless magazine and online articles, a few dozen unique projects and three very popular websites took everything I had, but I enjoyed every step.
Until the spring of 2011. I was burned out. I had to take a significant step back. Win or lose, I had to let hockey go, at least to some level.
Interestingly, had the Canucks won the Stanley Cup, I have little doubt in my mind that I would have almost retired as a hockey fan. Nothing could have topped that Stanley Cup championship that somehow escaped. It would have been grand exit. I had seen it all - all the Team Canada victories and then a Stanley Cup title after years of frustration - what a way to go out!
Instead, the Canucks lost and a bad taste was left in my mouth. The bad taste was not even pertaining to the Canucks so much as just hockey in general. The worse thing is that the bad taste kept me involved this past season more than I wanted to be. And it reflected in my work. To my regular readers here at GreatestHockeyLegends.com in particular, I almost have to apologize. My work here during the 2011-12 season undoubtedly came across at times as disinterested and forced. Try as I might, I just could not handle the daily grind. I have no idea how the players handle all this when a little fan like me can barely survive the setback.
The worst part was I tried hiding it much of the season, and I am sure it showed. Instead of being open with myself about it all, I just continued on, with my heart never back into it the same way. Only lately have I introspectively looked back. And ahead.
Which leaves me at a crossroads this summer. I have picked up no magazine article contracts, have not pursued sponsorships, have no plans whatsoever for the foreseeable future. I face a pretty big question this summer. Whenever the NHL gets around to opening the next season (yes, I am fully expecting a lockout to at least cancel the pre-season, hopefully no more), to what level do I come back?
I will always watch hockey, but I can definitely afford to cut back and maybe explore other things life has to offer. I will always follow the news stories online, and probably share some thoughts on Twitter. But do I continue to pursue freelance articles and maintain the websites? If I do, to what level.
The only thing I know at this stage is I have to enjoy hockey again before I can enjoy the writing. I'm hoping it is all rekindled come the new season, but I have no guarantees.