My Passions: We start with Hockey

There I was – a lanky kid growing up who still to this day doesn’t remember how the sport of hockey came on to my radar. However, once I embraced it, I played it with an undying passion. Still to this day whenever I can strap on the rollerblades or ice skates to go play – I’ll do it without hesitation. Gliding up and down the ice with speed and grit – looking to knock your opponent out your way as you drive to score a difference-making goal. Some of you won’t get this – some of you will. The sport also helped to be an escape from stress and a release of anger. More importantly it was a joy to be out there playing with a fire in my soul and competitive smile on my face.

I spent two years in an instructional league honing my skills before playing competitively. I have to say my skills paid off. I may not have been big but I had speed and wasn’t afraid to get in front of the net and mix it up. In middle school – I loved when it was hockey time in gym class haha. Even though my team may not have been there in the end – the better teams got to draft the good players from the other teams and it was flattering one year that all of them were dying to pick first because it was myself they wanted on there team. This was gym class for crying out loud. It’s the players today being drafted into the pros that I enjoy watching.

I played several years in house leagues. My most memorable year came in 1988-89 I believe. I played for the Kings and we went 16-0, undefeated in the playoffs en route to our championship. What a run. It was a great time. Whether it was those moments or playing on the tennis courts with childhood friends – I’ll never live down the game.

While I play the game I’m also a big fan. Being from near DC I root for the Washington Capitals. I’ve watched them since I was a kid through the ups and downs. From the down years, to today where they have arguably the best player in the game, Alexander Ovechkin, leading this team. It won’t be long before they hoist the Stanley Cup and I can die in peace. Some pictures.

Caps game 026This would be Alexander Ovechkin. 

One of my greatest experiences following this sport came in 2004.  The Tampa Bay Lightning won the Stanley Cup and one of the trainers on the team lived in Southwest Florida and as is tradition – everyone gets a day to spend with the Cup.   The trainer was kind of enough to have it out on display and of course I couldn’t pass up a chance to touch the best trophy in all of sports.   Plus a sport known for  being played in cold weather – allowed me to have a chance to pose with hockey’s Holy Grail on the beach in sunny Florida.

 

Stanley Cup

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The debate can go on about how hockey is not popular as much in the U.S. as Canada and other countries.  Is it the toughest sport?  Another question that can be debated forever but you put on the pads for 82 games of the year – going out every game and getting banged around.  Don’t tell me you can’t see that feeling in the players eyes who are on the last team standing and lifting the Stanley Cup. 

Jon and Stanley 3

Forever a diehard player and fan of the game and the best sport out there.

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Attitude of Gratitude

The last month has certainly offered some positive things in my life.  Recently,  I was nominated as Employee of the Quarter at Hyatt.  I’ve been there just four months.  It truly is nice to see hard work being recognized but most of all it was just a humbling experience.  

It’s experiences like that – that keep me preaching what I feel everyday – having an attitude of gratitude.  I wrote an entry that appeared on Facebook and wanted to share it on here.   The topic was about having an attitude of gratitude.  Please enjoy.   Have a great weekend. 

An Attitude of Gratitude.  Do you have it?

Recently, I felt empowered to talk about this trait that all of us have the very choice to take with us each and every day of our lives. 

Recently at work I’ve had the pleasure of speaking to many guests and in our conversations I’ve shared this phrase “attitude of gratitude” and the reactions I’ve received have been priceless.   It’s amazing how many people, even on vacation, are so wrapped up in their lives they’ve never looked at life in that way.   One guest took their time on their final day at the resort to seek me out and thank me for sharing that phrase.  They told me they look at things in a whole different light and that life would be different beginning the next day and beyond.  That left an impression on me. It meant a lot.  My way of paying it forward I guess is to share this with anyone I meet.  You’ll never know what it may do for them or for you.

I know I know there are some out there that probably think if life were only that easy to feel that way every day.  Life can be cruel at times for all of us.  Over the past a week a friend of my family was rocked by the death of their loved one.  Then another good friend of mine is mourning the loss of his father.   Realistically, there will be times where we wake up and our first thoughts are the long week ahead or the problems we have in our lives.  Why do we expend so much energy into that?  I’ve never figured it out.  I did it too.  Not anymore.  It’s amazing going on to social networking sites and reading status lines of people.  It’s unbelievable how some will put so much energy and time into complaining about something that doesn’t deserve the time of day.  Come to think of it – I think all of us are guilty at times for caring about things that are worthless.  Maybe if we started caring more about things of value in our lives life might have some more positive moments in store for us.

Every morning I wake up and my feet hit the floor and I open my blinds to become wrapped up like a blanket by the sun’s rays.  The attitude of gratitude begins.  I don’t care what challenges or obstacles may lie in my way that day – I’m alive.  I woke up.  If that alone isn’t enough to make you feel grateful then I don’t know what to tell you.  I wake up – think about my family, friends, and then I focus on the rest of my day.   I turn on music.  I dance.  I’m thankful for life.  I can only imagine the reaction on some of the faces of those that have known me for a long time while reading this post.  I use to be one who complained, who rarely stopped to think about taking the time to know other people.  I was too wrapped up in my own life to see what was around me.  I did something about it.  I changed. Believe me – it’s not easy.   Some of you may feel like ‘oh that’s not me.  I couldn’t do that.’   You only underestimate the power of your mind and what you’re capable of.  How do you break bad habits?  Where does it all start?  In your mind.  You can’t achieve something until you put your mind to it.  The rest is up to you.   It’s a process.  It’s like climbing a mountain.  So how do you know when you’ve reached the top?   I don’t have an answer for everyone.  All of us have a different story to tell.  A different journey to take.  Having an attitude of gratitude doesn’t mean you’re smiling and laughing 24/7.  There will be times you’ll be down, depressed, sad, and in tears.  Let it out.  You’re human.  You’re entitled to your emotions.  Just don’t lose sight of the big picture.

There are millions of people without a job today.  I use to be one of them.  Now I’m not.  Even if I was I wouldn’t be feeling down or sorry for myself forever.  I’d be grateful for being alive and dealing with the challenge I faced at that time.  To each their own.

While I was out for a run the other day I was listening to the song The Climb by Miley Cyrus.  What a moving song.  Ironically it talked about climbing a mountain.  These specific words struck me “There’s always gonna be another mountain.  I’m always gonna want to make it move.  Always gonna be an uphill battle.  Sometimes I’m gonna have to lose.  Ain’t about how fast I get there.  Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side.  It’s The Climb.”   It gave me goosebumps.  It’s not about where you started or where you’re headed.  It’s about your climb up that mountain.  You’re going through that climb every day.  I don’t know how but you’ll know when you feel like you’ve made it to the top.  When you do – promise me one thing.   Look skyward – raise your arms, scream at the top of your lungs and finish with a smile and a laugh.  It will feel that good to know how proud of yourself you’ll be at that very moment.

It’s time for that hour of calling, the moment of truth – what will you do when you open your eyes in the morning, your feet hit the floor, you open the blinds and the sun shines into your soul?   How will you feel?   Will you possess an attitude of gratitude?  The choice is yours.

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A New Day and Fortune Cookie Truth

I want to encourage everyone to be patient as I’m going to try and add a post each day.   Being that this blog is very new I’m going to make the first few entries letting you know a little more about me and my passions.  I hope all of you are doing well.  

It’s pretty crazy listening to all the news about this swine flu and how it seems to have come out of nowhere.  Needless to say but we all should be careful and be careful out there.  There’s no telling where it will show up next.  

I returned to work today after having five of the last six days off.  It was a nice reprieve being we are entering a slow period.  For those that don’t know – I use to be a journalist but after being laid off nearly a year ago – I’m now working as a bartender/pool server with Hyatt Vacation Club.  I love what I do.   I couldn’t ask for a better group of co-workers and managers.  It’s fun to work in paradise everyday.

In the coming blog entries – I’ll be shedding more light on my passion for sports, going green, and life in general.  Before I end this blog I have to dedicate this entry to a friend I’ve come to known over the last several years.  Her name is Traci.  She also has a blog on here.   She’s competed in the St. Anthony’s triathlon for the last 7 years.  I’ve made six of them.  She’s an inspiration for the effort and hardwork she puts into preparing for the triathlon.  That alone is an accomplishment in itself because it’s not just training but also having to deal with everyday life.  That’s not always an easy thing.   I’m going to share with you a few pictures from this year’s triathlon.  She ran for the team LiveStrong which I’m a big fan of.   Make no mistake – cancer is a pain in the ass.  Hopefully a cure will be found soon enough.  Enjoy the pictures and I look forward to sharing more about myself in the coming entries.  Before I end this entry I had some chinese food for dinner yesterday and of course I cracked my fortune cookie open to learn a new saying.  It went like this: “What is the hardest task in the world? To Think.”   How true. Blaze a trail.

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Hey everyone – welcome to my spot in the blogging world

Hey there – I just wanted to say hello to everyone that will take the time to come across this blog.   It’s going to be a work in progress as I get it going but let me just say that I hope all of you enjoy it.  I had to go with a green theme being that my current mission in life is to go green.  I’m helping a tremendous amount of people do the same.  If you want to know what I’m doing – please hit me up.  I hope to hear from you.  I look forward to crossing the paths of many on here.

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