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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Z is for Zamboni

Anyone who knows me even a little bit knows that I'm a pretty big hockey fan.

Hockey, in my mind, has a lot to recommend it. It's fast paced, it's violent and intense, the action can shift gears, change directions, and momentum can swing wildly at the drop of a hat (or of a puck, or of the gloves, if you prefer). While there are strategies and playing styles that the varying teams use, by it's very nature, it's anything but formulaic (I loathe baseball for this reason- it's orderly and heirarchical, and it's rarely possible for one team to seize control of the game definatively from the other).

Another fun and appealing thing about hockey is the Zamboni.

For those who don't know, the Zamboni is a machine that's use to resurface the ice between periods of play. Imagine, 12 pairs of razor sharp skates, thundering back and forth across the ice at high speeds, sheering to a stop, grinding around corners, for 20 minutes at a time. It leaves the ice badly chewed up, with ruts and divots everywhere.

Then the Zamboni comes out, and in about 10 minutes, you have a smooth, clean sheet of ice (mostly) again... and the razor-footed warriors come out for 20 more minutes of thunder.

There's a metaphor, here, a level of symbolism that I doubt gets a lot of attention.

Think about the last time you had a ROTTEN day. EVERYTHING went to hell, NOTHING went right- one mistake after another, one roadblock after another, one annoying jackass after another- we've all had that day (some more often than others, admittedly, but the point remains...).

What did you do? Go to bed angry (possibly angry and hungry, or angry and wet, or angry and cold, or... you get the idea)? Or did you find a way to calm (...and feed or dry or warm or...) yourself?

In short, did you find and employ your Zamboni?

Like a hockey game, life can be unpredictable, intense, and violent, and can leave your "rink" in pretty bad shape. It is, in fact, a foregone conclusion that there will always be things that do not go as planned, as intended, as desired. If I may be permitted a minor crudity, "Shit Happens."

Our "success" as people is not defined by the shallowness or depth of the brown stuff that populates our days; it's defined by our ability to adapt, adjust, and rise above situations that slide sideways or outright crash on us... and one of the best and easiest ways to do so is to relax, be still, be quiet. Let things be what they are, and understand that "failing," stumbling, falling once in a while doesn't make you a bad or inept person; it makes you human, and these "shortfalls" are nothing less than chances to grow.

In those moments when Hoyle has left the building and things deviate from his rules, you need a Zamboni. You need some mechanism, some device, some method by which you settle and smooth the torn-up ice, the choppy waters, the uneven ground of whatever circumstances you find yourself in.

Is it a glass of wine and a trashy romance novel? Is it a dish of M&M's and a stupid comedy? A bubble bath? The embrace of someone you care deeply for? A purring cat? A violent video game? Your choices are endless, really: anything that lets you "step away" and breathe, for a bit, anything that lets you relax, let go, and stop taking the world personally can be your Zamboni.

The National Hockey League playoffs are into their second round, and I would be remiss as a hockey fan if I didn't take this moment to say GO PREDS! GO BOLTS!

If you're having a tough day... or week... or month... or year... or if life just keeps kicking you everytime you think you're back on your feet... don't run from your challenges; that accomplishes nothing... but there's no harm in taking a Zamboni ride and getting your breath back.


1 comment:

  1. Great Blog again today!! Brilliant finish indeed!! Thank you for letting me follow you along this journey I feel blessed indeed!!!