After our latest post, we received this AMAZING response from one of our own Unsung Heroes of the Mental Edge!
Sitting here studying, I stumbled across your email from the Mental Edge on the subject matter of Unsung Heroes. I couldn’t help but to send an email saying thank you, give a players perspective, and share what I have learned from YOU and many others. This article sparked something within me and I hope my experience and those experiences of everyone else who has been in this same situation can help those struggling with their coaches, sports, and themselves.
This is the first time I have legitimately sat down to take what I know now and apply it to when I was in this very situation while skating for Saint Thomas Academy.
Playing for Saint Thomas, like every other team, was a battle. The process was physically tiring but more importantly Mentally Draining. The body heals overnight. The mind however, takes much longer.
There was so much pressure from coaches to perform and there was even more pressure from myself. Pressure to fulfill dreams I have had since I was a kid and pressure to perform at such a high standard. When things didn’t go my way I turned my blame to my coaches. I asked myself “why me?” Or, “I work harder than him and yet coach plays him over me?”
The line changes every week (mental games as I saw them) and not seeing the results I had hoped for left me broken. I let myself become a victim and blamed the coaches. I fell into this mindset of since I wasn’t scoring goals or skating on the first line that I didn’t matter. I saw opportunities as another chance for the coaches to take something away from me.
I was mentally broken when I came to you that very first day when we met in Minnetonka at the Caribou or Starbucks. I wanted to quit hockey. It was doing more harm than good at the time. I blamed others for not seeing the results I wanted to see. I blamed the coaches for not giving me chances to prove myself.
I emerged from that meeting, and the many more to come after that, with a new mission and mentality. I no longer thought as a victim but a victor instead. I realized I was to blame. I didn’t need chances to prove myself. I already did that on tryout day. I was not seeing the results I wanted to see because I was looking in the wrong place and with the wrong attitude.
I returned senior year with a clear vision of what I was working towards. I set the politics of sports aside and made sure that when my name eventually got called I was going to do everything I could to make the most of it.
I wasn’t the best and I didn’t get the most playing time. I sat nearly the whole game sometimes before getting my first shift. Some games I never even saw the ice. Is it fair? Absolutely not, but I did not care. All I cared about was making something happen when that chance finally did come. I started to create opportunities for myself instead of waiting for them to come to me.
The unsung hero isn’t just about playing a game. After all that is all sports are, a game. Some will go on, many won’t. The life lessons learned are what is most valuable.
The unsung hero is also about what goes on while not playing in the game. Taking new players under their wing and making them feel as if they matter. Creating a fun atmosphere in such a tense environment. Watching out for others. Being the one to give good positive feedback when the coaches fail to do so. Being happy for teammates who are doing well while you remain on the bench waiting eagerly for your chance to get out there and shine. However, the moment the name of an unsung hero gets called, a switch is flipped and something is going to happen that will change the game for the better.
The unsung hero is a weapon, but only when he or she realizes the fact they do matter and have more power over the team than those actually in the spotlight.
That is why people like John Scott draw so much attention. His name was finally called, doesn’t matter how, and he made the most of it. His smile was infectious to those around him on the ice and he set a new standard for the future All-Star Game Weekends.
The principles you have taught me have changed my life for forever. I was lost when I came to you and you helped me find myself and all that I am capable of. You saw it when I didn’t and told me what I needed to hear. You told me I was destined for more than chasing a game and lifestyle that I had no business being in any longer. You have helped me develop a mentality that has allowed me to excel in many areas of my life. I will forever be grateful.
Keep changing the lives of everyone you encounter Shaun. I strive to do the same!