Every now and then I'll get a call to play.
I play ice hockey less often these days. I prefer the solitude of individual routine now. Still, I haven't officially retired from goaltending.
I ask myself why. It's not the late nights. It's not the freezing temperatures at 6 am in the morning. It's not the aches and pains of vulcanized rubber hitting you in the few spots that don't have armor.
Eleven years ago, I was told I may not play ever again. I may not be able to do what I want to do. Walk. Run. Lift. Whatever.
Five years ago, I thought I was going to die. More scars, recovery, healing.
I was told all of this and yet here I am.
This isn't a reflection in a spotlight. It is an acknowledgement of thankfulness.
To breathe is only part of our autonomous functioning but on certain days, I find myself saying Thank You for what someone may feel is no reason.
I am thankful to breathe. I appreciate being alive. I want to grasp, throw, shout, be physical, stay mental (interpret that as you wish) - all that.
We will say Something Strong....Boston Strong. Planet Earth Strong. We should say Me Strong. Sure it falls as a byline in a bad Tarzan film, but it's true.
Mentally, being much more problematic, then physical.
You may lift 200 lbs, but mentally, you have to hold the world on your shoulders.
You can run 5 miles, but you may still cry yourself to sleep.
There is tragedy all around. Life is for better and for worse. Don't mistake the answer - it's both.
There was a time I was so obsessed with seizing and sensing every moment of every day, I would stay up until the dawn - afraid to die in my sleep. Afraid of missing life.
We seize our moments. We get them in 24 hour increments. Most of us ignore a great deal of what happens around us.
A smile. A wink. A laugh. The wind. Birds...leaves. Sun. Rain. On and on and on.
We concentrate on tasks in front of us - a product of our ancestry to be sure. But even our forefathers would stop to see a double rainbow or the lay of the land. An awesome image burned into their minds and our genes.
We can't change tragedy. We sometimes can't alter cataclysm.
But you are breathing. We are breathing. As long as that happens, then life will continue to happen.
It can be on the road, on the ice, in the fields, in your room - anywhere.
Say what you mean. Give what you can. Move someone else to do the same. It's a simple formula.
The average life of a wolf is only 6 to 8 years give or take. If I retain anything from my spirit animal, then I plan to skew the numbers.
May you do the same...