Friday, September 2, 2011

Motivation in Sports

Justin Bourne wrote an article about finding motivation during the offseason when there's no hockey to be played (and thus no competition to be had).  I find myself identifying with Bourne's columns a lot, not because I have any great talent, but because my hockey "career" is only three years old.  His articles about finding your way and growing comfortable among skilled players resonate with me because I'm right there, albeit at a much lower level.

 Fuck you, it went in, didn't it?  This sums up my hockey career pretty well; ass-ugly appearance, good results.

What's interesting about this particular column is that I think a lot of us end up with the reaction "you make $$$, what more motivation do you need?"  For rec. athletes, there are no dollar signs, and for someone new to the game with (much) room for improvement, the motivation has to come from somewhere else.

I understand that it's a rec. league and that the objective is to have fun, so you won't find me hitting the weight room six days a week or skating for hours on end, but I do have high expectations for myself.  I guess that's where my motivation comes from, knowing what I'm capable of and working on the necessary skills to get to that point.  Of course it also helps to play pick-up games with guys that played college hockey and watch them do something and think, "that was awesome, I want to learn how to do that."

There are two paths I think, "eh, it's a rec. league, who cares," and "I know I can play better than this."  I've never been one for complacency so I've always chosen the latter, something that has led teammates to refer to me as both Crash (because if you don't lose an edge every once in a while, you're not trying hard enough), and the James Brown (The hardest working man in show business) of Hockey.  I think the worst feeling in the world is to step into the locker room after a game, any game, and not feel at least a little tired and sore.  I hate driving home thinking that I could have done more, or I could have skated harder, regardless of the Rec. League status.  That's where my motivation comes from night in and night out.  If I can satisfy that requirement, I find that my other goals, being a good teammate, winning, and putting up points come pretty easy.

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