My journey after 2009

     Coming back from the concussion I sustained in 2009 required a tremendous amount of physical training. To get back into competition form is no easy feat. It requires time, focus, discipline, commitment, sacrifice, and perseverance. Growth comes through pain. I guess that is a better way of saying, “No pain, no gain”. 

    My goal was simple, to come back in the best shape of my life. I was almost possessed by the idea. There were rumors floating around doubting I would ever be able to play again, if I would be the same player and wondering if I would just get hurt again. There were so many “ifs”. 

     Battling doubt and the “big if” questions are things we constantly have to face in life. Some things are not within our control and it just doesn’t make sense, to spend time worrying about them. I couldn’t change what happened to me, however, I could recognize the opportunity that lay ahead. I was not going to be held back by lack of fitness or training, that I could control. Getting back into the game wasn’t going to be easy. I definitely had a Goliath that stood in front of me; but I wasn’t going to lose focus or give up because of the doubt looming over my return to hockey


     I had a goal of competing in the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. I had been slotted to be on the team, but since the injury that dream seemed dim, especially with several setbacks during my recovery. Still, I wasn’t going to give up.  I finally was able to play my first game in January, just a week or two before the final selections were made for the Team USA. I probably forced myself back faster than what was recommended in hopes of making the team. I was just so determined to play. 


    Not long after, I got a call from Team USA management before the final roster was released. They said I would be left off the final roster, but if anyone got injured they would let me know. Obviously, it was very hard news to take. It seemed like an dream of mine had slipped away because of various circumstances outside of my control.


    Surprisingly, the sting didn’t last that long. I truly did everything within my strength to get back to where I needed to be; and the rest was in God’s hands. There is no doubt, He directs our paths when we are living in his purpose. I believe one of the gifts God instilled in me during this trial was a determination to never quit or give up. 


    I felt like I was given a second chance to play the game again. This was a gift, and I wanted to work harder than ever before! It would have been easy to sulk in my circumstances and not even attempt to get back into the game. Yet, the commitment to use my God-given talent for His glory was established after this accident. Yes, there are times when I don’t feel like giving it my all and laziness sounded appealing. This is part of our broken nature. However, since the concussion I am a lot better at recognizing when I sink into that attitude. Being able to recognize those faults, is a reminder that I was given a gift to play this sport again and it should not be taken for granted. Yet, while cultivating this new-found gift of discipline, God also revealed a weakness to me.

     I put a lot of hours and dedication into hockey training, but how was my spiritual training? Was I as determined to know God, as I was to play hockey? As much discipline as I require myself to have for hockey, do I require that focus in my prayer life, reading the bible, and witnessing? 

     “Physical exercise has some value, but spiritual exercise is valuable in every way, because it promises life both for the present and for the future.” - 1 Timothy 4:8 

     I easily put so much time and commitment into my physical attributes. Sometimes I need a reality check to see if I'm doing the same in my spiritual life. The truth is I should always be doing more! Spiritual training has value in all things, for now and the eternal. My physical body is only going to hold up for a few more years in this league. Our spiritual training must need abundantly more work if it is going to last for eternity! I need a constant reminder of the importance of this. Looking back, I can definitely see that God used a tragedy to reshape my focus for the better.