My team had won back to back league championships. I was fifty-one years old. For three months after I skated off the ice with the trophy I would not commit to another season. Why? The answer: I am utterly competitive. I was still playing like it mattered. Beer league hockey doesn't matter. It's just a bunch of guys having fun. But I still wanted to be the best captain and defensemen on the ice. If I could not find the emotion and heart to be that person, I was just going to quit playing and enjoy my Sunday afternoons at home.
Two months before I needed to register our team for another season I knew I wasn't ready to quit but that I was going to have to do more to play the coming season than ever before. Age was taking away my balance, skating speed, and my shot. When I made up my mind that I was going to play I also told myself that this was the end. Win or lose, this was going to be my last season of ice hockey. After that it was endless. I was in the gym three days a week from the end of July to October 1. I beat the living crap out of myself in the gym. I worked with one goal in mind. Win. Win that one last meaningless trophy.
When the season started I was emotionally and physically ready. All season long my team was a machine and we could not have had a better season. The storybook ending came on Easter Sunday 2009. I skated up to the league director, shook his hand and held up the last championship trophy of my hockey life. Three years in a row.
Now the difference between going to Midwest and Beer League ice hockey is huge. On the ice I was a predator. I have had a hockey stick in my hand on and off since I was thirteen. I pretty much skate like I walk, maybe better. In pole I'm technically horrible. I'm a newbie. Three years of pole compared to thirty-nine on skates? I am so far out of my league it's nuts. To succeed in Chicago I have to have a new plan. This can't be brute force like my last hockey season.
This year I have to remember some very important things. The things that led my teacher to believe that I had something special to say with my dance.
- I need to take advantage of the tools I have. Musicality, Lines, Emotion
- I need to be humble and honest with myself.
- I need to dance because I love dancing.
- I need to express not impress.
- I must always remember that the body never lies. My dance has to come from the heart because that is my strength. Real people can smell pretentious from a distance.
- I need to remember that what I do is art. You can't measure it, time it, or count it.
- I need to live in the moment. All of them. That is what dance is all about.