Archive for January, 2012

You Miss 100% Of The Shots You Never Take

If there’s something futurists from the 1980s got right, the triumph of the nerds is now evident more than ever. The same people that used to bully Melvin in grade school or those brainless jocks that made him cower in fear pee now have Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, use smartphones, iPads, DSLRs and sometimes spend their weekends in front of a console playing whatever latest edition of sportsball is out. They even know what 3G means. The rivalry between nerds and jocks is long gone because the nerds have won.

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NEEEEEEEEEEEEEERDS!

One quality that is always endearing to me about nerd culture is how they are always hyper self-aware. Nerds obsess over things, down the very last detail and take pride in seeing things that other don’t. Nothing is trivial to them and anything worth knowing is worth remembering, all for the sake of being more knowledgeable. When I was young, I was occasionally teased that I was always in my own little world, created by my obsessions with video games and The X-Files. The truth is (hey X-Files fans!), those little worlds some of us had weren’t just little getaways from the real world. For some of us, they actually amplified the real world, making it easier and just a little bit more fun to live in. I often like to quip that living life a video game, complete with life bars and stats, would make everyone a little bit better. There’s a good amount of humor to that, but also a dose of seriousness. Nerds have an ongoing monologue (and sometimes dialogue) going on in their heads when they look at the world, and I often wonder how much of it is devoted to turning the real world into one big augmented reality app.

These are things that I thought about 3 days ago, when 2012 finally rang in.

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Seriously, would it be fun to have a life where you can see personal stats like that?

I suppose if I had to start making resolutions for the new year, I’d have to go with “do something that works.” I’m a little older now from when I used to be in my little world, so I can’t always play pretend. I can’t walk around school, thinking I’m as good looking as David Duchovny and as skeptical as Fox Mulder was. But what I can do is use the things that I love and make me happy to serve as metaphors that amplify what my year can become. Turning your life into an RPG for example, complete with experience points, achievements, item quests and boss battles, can make 2012 all the more interesting and a lot easier to take.

Find something you like and turn it into your guide for the year. It can’t always be perfect, but since when has anything ever been such?

And as I’ve learned over the past two years, it’ll always be about hockey.

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I know the same can be said for a few other sports and their fans will faithfully defend it, but when I hear someone say “hockey is life,” it always rings as being the truest of all. I decided that for 2012, the metaphors that the game has will make the year a lot more fun and exciting. What hockey illustrates on the ice can easily illustrate what life is like off it.

  • We are determined by our need to accomplish goals and whenever the opportunity is there, we decide if we want to take our shot. Sometimes we score, most of the time we don’t. But if we work hard enough and never lose sight of the net, it happens. The more chances you take, the better a player you become.
  • Our shots, however, can only come if we help others. If we make assists for our team, they will reward you by assisting in your goals. Gretzky did it well, which made him The Great One.
  • Because we can’t do things alone. You can’t play every minute of every game and you can’t win it yourself. Even boxers and fighters need a string of coaches to improve themselves.
  • It doesn’t matter if you have the talent for something or not. Regardless of what line you’re on, when it’s your turn to go over the boards, you contribute to your team. Hockey is an exhausting game, making it best played with heart.
  • Remember that even the greatest of players get penalized occasionally. Take in your mistakes while in the Sin Bin, then you’re free to skate again.
  • Expect all manner of shit to come your way when you want to score your goal. You will take hard hits, get checked constantly, and have different things in front that will stop you from taking your shot.
  • But if you stay away from the corners and avoid major scrums, you can outskate your attackers to the net.
  • Most of all, keep your head up to avoid the hardest of hits, and stick down to stay focused on that puck. Be determined to know where it’s going to be, not where it was. When it finally comes your way, be ready to move with it.
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Happiness in just a few words.

If the way the Rangers are playing is any indication, 2012 looks to be a great year ahead. I already have some ideas on where it will go and if I can just shoot that puck top shelf, it may just happen. I’m not ready to call it a “banner year” just yet, but this newfound determination and much more relaxed demeanor certainly helps the cause. I think 2011 helped kickstart something inside, and it would be a shame if I just let it slide. I try to both look ahead and take it one game at a time as I don’t want to jinx myself, like any superstitious player would. But something in me says that the ride is only going to get better this 2012, and I will hold myself accountable to that with this first post of the new year.

Whatever or whoever you choose to believe in, the highest ideals are human intelligence, creativity and love. Respect these above all.

And as always:

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Happy 2012 everyone.

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