• Josh Aycock

A Year to Remember

#2020 #almostthere #remember #holidays

First of all, Happy Holidays, friends. We deeply appreciate you, our hockey and goalie family. You've stuck by us over the years, and we're sincerely grateful to build relationships with you and your goalies.


Especially in a year as adverse and diverse as the one we're wrapping up, we're reminded of how special this thing is that we've got going on.


Some of you are playing right now, others are on pause. Many haven't even really begun.


We're each in different boats, experiencing similar waves.


And so, what to do with the final week of 2020?


Reflect. Recover. Reload.


This year has brought us a whole lot of change, adversity, and struggle in many ways. There are complex emotions, situations, and thoughts that accompany such circumstances. Therefore, let's create an intention to leave 2020 and enter '21 anew.


Reflect


You and I are different people now than we were yesterday, last week, or on January 24. We've bobbed and weaved as 2020 threw chaos and strife our way. We've adapted and overcome. We've fought, scratched, and clawed our way through canceled playoffs, distance learning, and seasons unlike any other.


We're adaptable. We're resilient. 2020 has shown us these truths.


So reflect, think back to who you were in each month of the past year. Perhaps there is pain in some, celebration in others.


Whatever occurred in each month, it happened the way it did. For me:


January: one of my Aberdeen goalies committed to NCAA just after new years

February: we celebrated my mother's 50th birthday and I had my 24th with my Aberdeen team family

March: watched Minnesota HS Section A state championship go to overtime. Learned about Covid cancellations of basically everything, including Aberdeen's remaining season.

April: my brother moved in with me in Minnesota.

May: we executed a completely virtual Junior Prospects camp and helped goalies across the country (and world) find homes with Junior teams.

June: while some of our locations were unfortunately canceled for the summer, we kicked off our Sunday Squad meetings & continued coaching and mentoring remotely.

July: as restrictions allowed, we held and completed camps in Sioux Falls and Minneapolis.

August: this month took us to North Dakota, completing weeks in Dickinson and Fargo/Moorhead, with Stillwater Elite following the week after to wrap up summer 2020.

September: Aberdeen kicked off with several weeks of training camp and exhibition.

October: Aberdeen's regular season started with some strong results, and I began practicing public speaking skills with a virtual Toastmasters club.

November: the US election caused some drama. Covid cases in Minnesota caused a significant shutdown for Thanksgiving, also threatening the start of High School hockey.

December: the sports pause that we were hoping would be lifted got pushed to January '21. Covid during the holidays means that some of us might not be able to gather with those closest to us in the same way. But we're making the most of what we get.


2020 brought a mix of good in the bad. But so does any year. To think that 2021 won't have challenges is a fallacy. There will still be difficulties ahead, but better days as well.


Maybe some of the challenges changed a mindset in you. They did within me. Maybe some of the smallest good things brought you the greatest joy amongst the struggle. The first skate back, for example, might have been just that little bit sweeter.


With reflection comes looking forward: who do you want to become in 2021? Amidst the challenges we'll encounter in the future, how do you want to respond? Put some intentions behind thinking about who you want to become.


Recover


Especially if you've been playing, take some time to recover. Let your body heal. Allow your brain to venture away from hockey for a little while. Be quiet with your thoughts. Do something out of the ordinary to bring your mind and your body together.


Go for a walk or run, and do it without your phone.


Unplug from social media.


Let your mind wander in wonder.


Lose yourself in a book or craft or activity that uses a different part of your brain.


Take notice when you find the sun after several cloudy days. Fully experience what it's like to be in a moment.


Here. Now.


Reload


As mentioned before, just because 2020 is ending doesn't mean all the challenges we face will cease.


We must remember to reload for the next thing. Whatever it is.


Maybe it's tryouts that are just now starting with the high school season. Or it's an extended season or playoffs. Or it's that you aren't getting the game playing time you were expecting going into this year. Or maybe it's family struggles. Or personal challenges.


2021 doesn't represent a haven from everything bad that defined 2020. In some ways, it is only just a new number following 202_


Maybe the new year brings a return to normalcy, such as in 2019 before the world changed. Maybe it doesn't. That's mostly outside your control.


But you can control whether you prepare for the next challenge or not. You can control whether you're "locked and loaded" or "out to lunch". Don't be the latter. Be ready. Be prepared.


"Today I will do what others won't, so tomorrow I can do what others can't"


Thanks, Jerry Rice.


But that's the mindset. Do things now so that tomorrow comes easier. Not that it's going to be easy, but that you'll be prepared.


In Conclusion


There are many ways to describe 2020. There may be many more that come for '21.


The changing year does not guarantee that the challenges we've overcome aren't lurking yet again. It does not mean that we're out of the woods. We're never out of the woods, if we are doing it right!


If we're doing it right, we're remembering that challenges are opportunities. That change is inevitable. That hard things allow some to differentiate themselves from others. If we're doing it right, we're saying "bring it on" to 2021.


Bring on the challenge. Bring on the change. I'm ready for you.


Stay frosty, friends.

Josh

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