But it's just not that easy for me. Hockey was also just supposed to be fun for me. Yes, I wanted to improve my skills, but I played for the sake of playing, and if I became a better player, then that was just a bonus. I have no aspirations to become a national women's hockey team player. I have no aspirations to even play in a different tier! I just wanted to have fun! Hockey was my outlet, my stress relief. But what's a person to do when your outlet becomes stressful?
So why is hockey stressful? There are several reasons:
- Because of my work schedule, I have to miss some games. And because of work/other committments in life, it is very difficult for me to make practices that are arranged on short notice. Some people don't understand the concept of putting work before hockey. And as coach said "I have x many children and x many jobs and my work is mentally challenging, and yes I would rather be in bed at 10:45pm but I come to games anyway because I made that committment to the team and the team expects the same committment from you." I just can't do that, even though I wish I could.
- It is hard for me to see my teammates come to games high/stoned. Especially when these teammates are also friends. Shelley has been trying to teach me how to come to hockey and tune that stuff out, but I can't. I happen to care about these people and I don't understand their choices. I can't say anything to them because what right do I have to judge other people's life choices? It hurts me to see that and it hurts me more that there is nothing I can do to convince these people that they can have so much more in their lives. For all I know, they are happy with their lives. So I have this inner turmoil everytime I enter the dressing room. I have to look at people I used to know and love and face the fact that I don't know them at all anymore. I know that people would think this is crazy, which is why I never mentioned this as a reason for quitting. It's just who I am. I have no control over my hurting heart sometimes.
- I get tired of people telling me I need more practice, or need to do this or that differently. I play hockey to have fun, not to be constantly told I'm not good enough. I don't pretend to be a star player. What's worse is that I'm never lazy on the ice. I work hard every single shift of every single game. Because I lack any serious skill this is sometimes hard to see. But it's true. So it's hard when coach says certain things to me after I've done the best I thought I could.
You know, I get lots of criticism at work, and I have personality conflicts with people at work. But it never really becomes a pr0blem. I appreciate constructive criticism because it makes me better at what I do. I'm a senstitive person and it takes a lot of effort for me to put personality conflicts in context. But hockey isn't like work for me. It was supposed to be a place where I got to be myself, not be judged based on my skill, and just have fun. When you have these expectations of something, you generally feel disappointed when they are not met.
So that's my story.