When you're terrible as a novice
In my years of sportsing the sports, I won medals, trophies and other prizes.
Most of these are lost. All of them are lost actually. All of them except one trophy.
This trophy is the most important award that I have.
Was it for perseverance from completing a marathon or some important task?
Naw. I don’t have the attention span to run marathons. I’d rather surf for 4 hours than run for even ten minutes.
Was it some sort of award or memento from doing something rad in my early adulthood like completing a university degree or sailing on a tall ship.
Naw. Though I do have my diploma.
My most important award is on a base of ‘fine Italian marble’. It is golden and red and about five inches high. Sitting on top is a golden plastic figure of a hockey player - two hands on his stick in a really great hockey stance no less!
There is an engraved plaque on the ‘Fine Italian Marble Base’ It reads:
Novice ‘D’ 1978 -1979
For those of you who have sported less sports that I sported in my days of sportsing all the sports, the ‘D’ designation means that even as a ‘novice’, I sucked. There were five divisions growing up: A, B, C, Double D and D. D was the worst.
Now that I’ve read Gladwell’s ‘Outliers’, I now know that my November birthday make it incredibly unlikely that I would be an ‘A’ player. In fact according to Gladwell, most of the ‘A’ players likely had birthdays between January and April.
I started as a ‘D’ level player and never progressed. I always tried out to go with the good players. And I was always on the ‘D’ team.
Even though I was garbage on the ice, I learned to try hard. I learned how to make the most of what I could do. I was (and still am) incredibly proud of how I would battle for pucks against boys who were much bigger and better than I was.
I fell in love with underdog stories like The Bad News Bears and The Mighty Ducks.
Loving a game despite being terrible at it was fairly defining for me.
Being short was defining too. The nineth grade was the last year I played. I was getting run over by big dudes. My bell had been rung more than once. I did not want to live my life with a multiple concussions. I was afraid that I’d never find a drool bib that fit properly.
So I quit.
Fast forward almost thirty years.
My son started skating.
He wanted to play hockey.
A coworker invited me to play again as an adult. I started playing. I started coaching and I learned something. There are people who learn hockey as adults. There are people who did not start playing at six years old like I did.
And ya know what?
They REALLY suck.
Way worse than I ever was.
I played with them.
I played with people who were on the ‘A’ team as well.
We played for fun.
And the better players, as adults knew how to include the rest of us saggy, slow skating, wobbly slobs.
It was wonderful.
When you’re a novice, even someone who has been designated a shitty novice, unworthy of sharing the ice with the chosen ones of good birth and genetics, there’s a place for you.
You can learn.
If there’s something you used to do and are curious to reengage with it after decades away?
You might discover that you’re better than you think.
It’s like the old saying goes:
You can have six months of progress or six months of excuses. The choice is yours.
We’re launching our own award here at The Remarkable Fools Society. Become a Certified Fool and add your name to The Registry of Certified Fools. You will then have permission to screw up, be bad at things and do the best you can with what you have.
Come to our launch party on April 1 at noon eastern. IT’S A ZOOM THINGIE!
Yay team! Go sports!