Feeling Like Gretzky

Wayne Gretzky at the Heritage Classic in 2003

I couldn’t imagine scoring 894 goals and 2857 points in any hockey league. Especially not in the best hockey league in the world.

Actually I can’t imagine doing anything that requires a high degree of skill 2857 times. Not even at a mediocre level. I think that made my head spin just thinking about it.

I realize Wayne Gretzky’s birthday was yesterday, but I had a weird thought last night while playing hockey. Or is that whilst playing hockey? Whichever it is, it’s clear grammar is one more thing I don’t do at a high skill level.

Whenever I score a goal in a not so awesome 11pm Wednesday night beer league hockey game, I get a strange feeling of nervousness. I quickly think of all the things that could have gone wrong – and believe me, there’s lots – but somehow didn’t. I almost always think “as if that actually happened.” Then my mind further ponders the odds of such an event happening again. And before I know it the ref has dropped the puck, the play has resumed and I’m just standing on the ice in a daze.

Nice one, Kev.

I couldn’t imagine having that kind of sensation 2800-plus times (minus the zoning out part). Upon further thought, Gretzky probably never had that issue. He probably never felt nervous or uneasy about scoring. Gretzky didn’t exactly score “off my shin pad beauties” like yours truly. No, no. He scored because he did exactly what he meant to do (well, for the most part – even The Great One got lucky sometimes).

Thinking about it from that perspective, I couldn’t imagine intending to score or setting up a goal, have it unfold in front of your own eyes and then think “yeah, that’s pretty much what I was going for.” (And actually mean it!). That blows my mind even more.

All these thoughts crept into my head following a “pinball-slider pass” which earned me an assist during my game last night. Of course, these thoughts put me even farther behind the play than usual. Instead of getting that nervous feeling for assisting on a goal, I’m now nervous for the next nickname my teammates label me with. Not exactly greatness on my part.

Happy belated birthday, Wayne.