Sunday, August 02, 2009

The Hockey Gods are (Still) Crazy: Out of Season

Thursday, July 30

“I lost out. I wasn’t playing to win…” - “Out of Season”, REO Speedwagon

I’m not playing to win. I’m not even playing. And for the first time in ten years—that’s about thirty hockey seasons for me—I won’t be drafted by an AMHL team. So out of season.

I don’t know what I did to displease the deities, but Humpty Dumpty (Sports) Hernia has flummoxed me and confounded a superior physical therapist. At times during these past eleven months I’ve felt like the cracks in HDH were sealing but then, sure as Sher-Wood, other fissures would form and leave me bitter and even more baffled.

This week has been the epitome of extremes, and HDH feels no better than it did last September. I’ve been grieving the loss of ice time and competition, so of course denial, sadness, anger, and pleading with the hockey gods have drifted in and out of my psyche. These thoughts and feelings have often lingered for too long, and acceptance of the situation has been, until tonight, fleeting.

It’s Thursday night, and I’m home alone, sort of. While my wife and a friend are at dinner, I’m enjoying quality time with my iPod and the supreme hockey beings, the ones whom, back in April, I suggested were crazy.

Well, I was right. They are crazy. Good crazy. You see, they’ve taken control of what’s shuffling through the playlist, which at the moment is REO Speedwagon’s “Out of Season”.

“I’m so out of season. You let me go and you gave me no reason…”

But instead of stewing about why the skating spirits have benched me or when HDH will be healed, I’m singing and smiling. Finally, I can find humor in lyrics that would have, until tonight, likely served as a stinging reminder about the games and seasons I’ve missed; I’m advancing through the adversity that a few days ago would have me hopping (on the one good leg) mad. How I’ve dealt with this difficulty has gone from laughable to laugh-able.

With this sharper clarity, I divine that the hockey gods are on their timetable, not mine. Perhaps they want me to prepare for the inevitable reality of being an ex-hockey player, eternally out of season.
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