I’ve updated most of my equipment since this picture was taken. I still look awkward as hell, though.

As any thirty-something on Facebook or Twitter will tell you, adulting is hard. It’s complicated, and messy, and filled to the brim with reasons to be anxious. Relationships, health, money, career–all things that once were simple and now are not. That’s why I’m so grateful for sports.

Specifically, having the means to play dek hockey three times per week. While there can be complications to it–as with anything run by people there are squabbles and politics that sometimes crop up–the act of playing itself is simple. It’s something that I understand.

As the goaltender, my job performance is binary. Stop the shot=good. Don’t stop the shot=bad. There is some nuance (it is a team sport, after all), but it’s generally easy for me to know if I had a good or a bad night in net.

Hockey gives me a lot of things that would otherwise be missing in my life. A community to participate in. A way to be active and stay (relatively) healthy. But it’s also a respite from the complications and stresses of my day-to-day. I understand my position in ways that are impossible to understand in other aspects of my life. If I need to, I can break down my performance into a series of items on a checklist that, if done right, will all but guarantee my success:

  • Stay square to the shooter
  • Take the angle
  • Stay patient

And that’s about it. Those are the fundamentals. If I can do those three things on every shot, I’ve given myself a fighting chance.

If only life were so simple.