Focus. Speed. Determination.
When striving for a goal; focus, speed, and determination are valuable characteristics. But they’re not everything.
My senior year of high school we were playing our cross-town rivals. It was a home game for both teams as we shared the community ice rink. The place was packed. It always was for this game, with the student sections for both schools jammed into the northwest corner of the arena.
It was late in the game. I don’t know if we were winning or losing, but I clearly remember what happened next. But first, a little back story for context.
I’m a pond player. Growing up, I didn’t play travel or club hockey. The closest I ever came to organized hockey was making a few phone calls to my cousins to meet at our usual spot. Three players might show up. Other times we’d have twenty. We’d play, fight, laugh, and repeat until it was either too dark to see, or we lost our puck in a snowdrift.
The point is; I loved hockey. And I could skate. And… my high school team needed a few bodies.
Now, I was satisfied practicing early in the morning with the team, going on road trips, and sitting at the end of the bench rooting them on. But when coach called my number, I was ready.
I hopped the boards, headed to the left-wing, and took off. I was flying.
No more than ten seconds into my shift the puck was sent deep into the corner. Yes, the northwest corner. Their defensemen skated back to gather the puck. I skated faster. Catching him as he turned, I threw all of my weight into him (100ish pounds).
All my hard work had paid off. I focused on the play. I didn’t hesitate. I was determined to get to the puck.
What happened next was a blur. He grabbed me, threw me against the boards, and beat me like a ragdoll. The refs came in to break up the “fight,” hauling me away to the penalty box.
Me. Not him, just me.
Imagine my surprise. Imagine my confusion. Imagine how I felt when I learned that the whistle blew a full three seconds before I hit an unsuspecting player who was fetching the puck for the referee.
So what’s the point of this embarrassing story? Focus, speed, and determination are valuable when pursuing goals. However, directing your energy to the main objective and never losing sight of the big picture is essential to achieving those goals.