Time’s Yours

“I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.”
–Anne Frank

“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”
–Benjamin Franklin

It’s been about a week now since all of our lives changed drastically with the news of the Coronavirus spreading in North America. Our season was paused and we obviously don’t know when or if we will get back to the rink this season. Like so many of you, I am confused and stunned by today’s reality.

Years ago when I was working in the Player Agency/Representation business, I started writing a fun hockey-related blog as a way to help me sort out my thoughts and connect with our young players. I guess it was my own self-imposed therapy that helped me through some challenging times. When I took the job with the Philadelphia Flyers, to work with their young defense prospects in Lehigh Valley, I felt like I should take a break from it and focus on the job at hand. Plus, there are not too many pro coaches writing blogs so I thought I better conform to the norm…..

But now like everyone else, I am faced with a lot of time on my hands and also facing this growing uncertainty of what the future holds. So, I thought I’d rely on my old crutch and do a little bit of writing. I’m in no way an expert on any of this but whatever gets you through the night…..right?

As coaches we spend an enormous amount of time watching video, game planning and discussing systems. We like to think we control a lot more than we actually really do.
We are now all faced with a real situation that can’t be solved by watching a computer screen or going to a white board. This is very human.

We are also selfish. We would love to be back competing and trying to win that next game….. But this game has to be won first. This virus has to be slowed down and contained to prevent an overwhelming strain on our healthcare system. True, this probably won’t be that serious to the young and healthy among us. But, to the elderly and medically vulnerable, it is imperative that it get slowed. We all have to realize this now and do our part to help stop the spread. Hockey and sporting events can surely wait.

So now we have time. More than we’re accustomed to. More than we’re comfortable with.

I took a few days to really just think. Think about hockey. Think about the journey to this point. Think about my family. Think about life. About what to do if this social distancing continues and even evolves into a quarantine situation.
So here is what I came up with that I want to share:
The one thing that really hit me was just how important other things in life are and not just hockey. I am getting to spend a lot of time with my family and that has been such a needed thing.

And why not use this time to get better. Become a better player, a better coach, a better Dad, a better person…..whatever. Take this time as a blessing and turn all of this into a some kind of growth period. But don’t waste it. It is a gift.

Remember that during quarantine, Shakespeare wrote King Lear; Isaac Newton laid the foundations for his laws of motion.

Or to tie it back to hockey, consider Wilbur Wright one of the fathers of modern aviation. In the winter of 1885-86, an accident changed the course of Wilbur’s life. He was badly injured in an ice hockey game on a frozen pond in Dayton, Oh. He was high-sticked in the mouth and suffered serious dental injuries and spent weeks in bed and months confined to home. He was plagued by that injury throughout his entire life. Wilbur spent much of this period at home, reading books in his family’s library and during this time he developed a passion for mechanical problem-solving. This new found passion became a driving force that ultimately led to man’s first flight. 

So down time doesn’t need to be wasted time.


Here is some great advice from an actual expert on dealing with this situation. This is by Claudia W. Allen, a licensed clinical psychologist and Director of Behavioral Science at the University of Virginia’s School of Medicine. (The full article link is below)

Go Outside
If you’re not confined to the house, exercise outside. Exercise, sunlight and being around trees all benefit mood. Exercise has such a positive effect on mood it is actually a prescribed treatment for mild to moderate depression. Make it a priority on your daily schedule.
Be Intentional

Use any extra time very intentionally; don’t drift through the weeks. Pick one or two things you’ve wanted to learn about or how to do and teach yourself. Plan to come out of this quarantine with a new skill or hobby.
Beware of Too Much Social Media

Use social media wisely. No doubt, social media is your friend when isolated. But resist scrolling through Facebook and Instagram endlessly; that won’t really feed your need for connection, but has been shown in some studies to actually make people feel left out or “less than.” Instead, use social media to meaningfully connect. Plan weekly (or even daily) group video chats with friends, family, neighbors or colleagues. Social connection is one of the most important drivers of well-being.
Be a Helper

Helping others is a known mood-booster. Be aware of who in your circle might be particularly vulnerable during this time and check on them by phone or email.

Me, I’m gonna continue to challenge myself to read books that will help me grow as a leader and coach. I will do some writing that I probably will never post anywhere but I know that it helps me cope……..

I will continue to annoy my wife and son by pounding away at my piano……I will get outside and enjoy some golf…..I will take some time to reflect on the journey. But the most important thing will be the time spent with my family and realizing how truly blessed we are. There will be no down time.

Stay safe, wash you hands…….and challenge yourself to find a way to get better during this time.
Hockey will be back at some point. Better than ever. And it’s healing and bonding ways will be needed when the time is right.
But for now, let’s remember the wise words of Super Bowl winning coach Andy Reid and how he ended every press conference …. “Time’s yours……”