Hey Coach, it’s the third period and we’re really tired!
Well, hockey families across the nation are in the third period of their season as well.
Similar to the waning minutes of any game, by now during the season, there have been ups and downs. There have been the good, the bad and let’s face it, the ugly, but we’re all still in it.
The beauty of it is that now is when the best hockey is being played, teams have gelled, plays are getting dialed in and the light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter.
However, there is still more hockey to be played, but the energy level, the commitment level, the level of passion is starting to show signs of weakness. Just like in any game, this is the part of the season where mental strength is necessary to prevail.
So let’s break out the coaches quotes: “Good teams find a way” and “Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths.” Truthfully, it’s not only the kids that need this, it’s the families. Let’s face it – by now, parents, siblings and grandparents have sat shivering through around 40 or 50 games and practices, they’ve been at the rink before the lights turned on and when they were turned off. They’ve seen the goals and the push-ups and now many of them just want it to be over.
As with life sometimes, it is difficult to stay positive in the thick of it, but as legendary coach Herb Brooks said: “Today, I will do what others won’t so tomorrow, I can do what others can’t.”
Don’t take the third period for granted, and don’t wish it was over. As Brooks again said: “Great moments are born from great opportunities.” Sure, he meant on the ice during a game, but it applies here.
On a recent road trip with our team, I met a great couple in the hotel lobby and they noticed all of the jerseys and began asking questions, like how old the kids are and where we are from. After a few minutes of talking, I learned that they had grown children that played the game years before and they told some wonderful stories, but one thing stuck with me. They said, “You will really miss it when it is over. We do, and now we’re bored on weekends.”
So let’s all take a collective breath and remember that when the third period is over, it’s over. Do we remember all of the stats, every shot, every pass, all of the faceoffs? No, we don’t. We remember the moments, we remember who was there and the feeling of victory or defeat – these are moments that last a lifetime.
The same is true for the third period of the season. We will remember the moments and we have a funny way of remembering more of the good moments than the bad after just a short time. So it’s is time to dig deep and play through the pain and enjoy these moments.
Next time you want to just say “When will this be over?” or “I can’t wait for the season to end,” think of it as a great opportunity to create more everlasting moments with teammates, friends, family and that hockey player in your life that has worked so hard.
Consider the remaining early mornings and late nights, practices, games, road trips and great opportunities – remember what Brooks said.
We all love the game, but really, we love the moments and memories. Make as many of them as you can now because once the boring weekends arrive, the period will be over and there will be no more opportunities.
— Jason Prentice