It’s been a while. I’m sorry for my absence, and frankly I have no good excuses. But I’m back and motivated to continue writing.
This summer was a weird one for me. It’s been full of figurative roller coasters and I’ve been working to get everything back on the rails.
I had to walk away from one of the best things that ever happened to me. While I still consider myself an official, I needed to leave my top league, and narrow my focus. I am no longer in the Western Hockey League as a linesman.
But you made it to the top, why leave?
It’s something I wrestled with for the better part of my last season. Here’s the scenario: I worked both as a referee and a linesman. While many people can do both without an issue, I found that I was coming to a level of hockey where I needed to memorize too many rules, which impacted the way I was officiating the game. When I bounce back from one role to the other, game to game, it led me to a point where I wasn’t completely focused in my role. I struggled to remove myself from one position, and officiate the game based on whether I needed to call penalties or offsides. Long story short; I mind-fucked myself.
Another reason is simple: It is hard to pursue a career when you are trying to chase the dream. Every official’s ultimate goal is to see a higher level of hockey, with one day getting to the ‘show’. As my job isn’t as flexible as most (meaning I can’t just leave early if I ask my boss nicely. There are designated shifts working in radio, and need to be filled if someone is unavailable). As I near my 30’s with a wonderful wife and a mortgage, the decision was clear: family comes first.
I needed to be stay true to what I believe in and what I stand for. Those who don’t know the sport of hockey, there is a sort of ‘lifestyle’ for athletes. I know that I have got way too much to lose and I didn’t want to participate in those activities anymore.
Well here I am now, well into another year of hockey, and I am happy as ever. I made my decision to be a referee only. I will only call penalties, and leave the icings to my other teammates. I am skating less, leaving me with plenty of time to mentor other young officials. Let’s face it; I was being selfish by holding on to both a referee and a linesman position at our top leagues, so this is my moment of breaking free.
Stop and smell the roses
Just because you’ve made it to the top, doesn’t mean things will get better. We’re all chasing the pie in sky with hopes and dreams that it will bring us happiness. In my experience, it doesn’t. Step back and realize what is important to you. Look around you. What’s in your life right now that is bringing you joy. Focus on that! Stop hoping for a bigger and better paycheck. Do you have kids? Do you have a husband or wife? Take a second and give them some time. They deserve it.
Even if you make it to the top, what then? You won’t be happy. You’ll look for the next goal, the next milestone. And what then? You’ll just keep chasing until you realize that you lost what was most important to you along the way. Stay true to you and don’t let others dictate your life. You only get one shot at living in this body, why not make it an enjoyable one?
Don’t be afraid of change
Life is full of it. The people that succeed are the ones that handle it better than the rest. It’s important to go with the flow, instead of worrying about what happened or what could have been. You can’t control your future and you can’t change the past. So realize that you can influence what is happening right now. If you’re looking to make that big change, whether it be in your career, relationship, or otherwise, just take a deep breath and don’t let the consequences dictate your life. Many people stick with the same job because it pays the bills, or because they have seniority. But if you feel it’s better for your mental health to get out, then do it! Being miserable at the expense of payday is not worth it.