Sometimes, you just don’t your own strength. You don’t understand just how deep down you have to reach to find the will, to find the energy, to find something to carry you through the darkest time you’ve ever faced.
You’ve never faced it before.
Has a force so overwhelming ever turned your 2-1 lead into a 3-2 deficit with such swiftness and intensity? Have you ever felt so helpless on a field of play you’ve lived on for your entire life? Have you ever come within one minute of losing the championship? In the neutral zone, preventing a superstar from taking a shot on an empty net? Gaining the zone, chasing the puck into the corner? Working it to the slot? Throwing it at the net, hoping for a rebound? Standing at the post, with a sliver of daylight between cold, red iron and a sprawling goalie’s skate?
And what does it earn you? Another forty-nine minutes and fifty-seven seconds of life, doled out in twenty-minutes increments with no time outs, and no margin for error. Your next mistake could end everything.
So you lean into the storm. Weather it. Eventually, the relentless pressure that allowed them to take the lead from you will falter. Fatigue and doubt will settle in. Your will asserts itself. In the little battles, at the lines, along the boards, in your crease, your will begins to prevail.
And then it happens.
An opportunity you were thirty-five seconds from being denied is right there. Deep down, you knew that when that opportunity presented itself, when you had that chance, you’d take it.
See you Wednesday night.