By Warren Tabachnick
There I go again. It’s been over 25 years that I’ve been playing hockey, and come gameday I still get those damned game day butterflies!
Giddy With Euphoria
What I’m referring to is that feeling I get the day of a game. It usually starts in the morning with a passing thought or two about the event to come. But as the day progresses the excitement builds, to where I’m walking on a cloud, almost giddy with euphoria. As strange as it might seem, I actually consider it a privilege to be able to play this sport, especially since it’s one of the most difficult ones to play. I sometimes feel as though I’m a member of an exclusive club, considering my younger days are in the rear-view mirror.
On the way home from work, my mind wanders to thoughts of who we’ll be facing (Will we have a chance of winning? Do we have enough players?), how I’m feeling (Do I feel up to playing? Am I rested enough?). And when I arrive at home the excitement intensifies, resulting in a flurry of activity once I walk through the door. “Gotta eat, fast!” I tell my wife, who by now knows the drill. She is aware of my need to have my dinner no less than two to three hours before game time; with the glacier-like speed with which I metabolize my meals, anything less would be counterproductive.
The game day butterflies I am feeling reaches a fever pitch as I gather my jersey, socks, t-shirt, and three-in-ones, followed by my contact lenses (I can’t stand wearing glasses when I play), which for sanitary reasons I prefer to insert at home rather than at the rink. Then I race to fill up my water bottle and I’m off.
Ecstatic To Be a Part of It
I load up the car and hook up my iPhone to the stereo system, and select the Hockey Night playlist I so carefully compiled. Once on the road, with the music pumping, I pop those lozenges into my mouth and by this time, I can hardly contain my excitement. I arrive at the rink and greet my teammates, ecstatic to be a part of it all. Each time I play, I hope to channel all that pregame excitement onto the ice, where every shift I take can be productive.
When I am lucky enough to make it to the championships or compete in a tournament, those game day butterflies send me soaring through the roof!
Will I ever get over this childish excitement I experience before a game? I hope not!
Warren Tabachnick plays in two recreational hockey leagues, year round.
Do you get butterflies before a hockey game? Let us know!