The Vancouver Canucks are down three goals at the second intermission. Chances are good they aren’t going to score three times in the next twenty minutes (they haven’t scored once in the previous forty) and that means the Boston Bruins are going to leave Canada with the Stanley Cup.
The major theme of the pre-game show for Game Seven of the Stanley Cup Finals was that this was the game these players had dreamed about since they were kids. In fact, they’d done more than dreamed it, they’d played it already, countless times, in driveways and backyard rinks.
Young Robert Luongo could not have imagined the game going this way. The Vancouver goalie, ultimately, is going to go down as the one responsible for each of those goals. Forget about the three forwards and two defensemen in front of him, because everyone else is going to. This failure is going to be on Luongo’s shoulders.
More than any other sport, hockey revolves around the performance of one person. In baseball, you can pull a pitcher after six innings and turn the game over to your bullpen. In hockey, letting your goalie make the walk of shame from his crease back to the bench means that something has gone horribly, horribly wrong.
You don’t have to be perfect, though, especially in game seven of the Stanley Cup Finals. No one’s going to begrudge you three goals… as long as the masked man at the other end of the ice has let four pucks past him.
Luongo isn’t as lucky. Tim Thomas is at the other end of the sheet, and he’s been perfect up to this point. When you’re up against perfection, it turns out you need to be perfect also.
As the NBC crew wraps up the intermission report, they’re not talking about Luongo. They’re talking about Mark Pritchard, the man in white gloves polishing the Stanley Cup. In twenty minutes, he’ll walk the cup onto the ice and join NHL Comisiioner Gary Bettman in presenting the oldest trophy in professional sports to someone wearing white, black and gold.
Luongo’s a hockey player, so he will have stayed out on the ice while the Bruins celebrated their win, then skated through the handshake line with the rest of his team, congratulating the victors and then getting the hell out of there.
With nineteen minutes left in the third, Luongo’s already lost this game.
He didn’t have to be perfect. Except that tonight, he did.
“You’re a talentless hack. At some point, everyone else is going to catch onto this, and you’ll be alone, broke, and homeless.”
I hear this, from myself, on a daily basis. I’m currently employed (mostly) as a writer and designer for a company that doesn’t specialize in either of those areas. My boss is incredibly talented and my job is basically to make what he thinks up exist on paper.
And I don’t think I’m very good at it.
Regardless of how much positive feedback I get, even on those instances where I’m able to back away from the computer and actually like what I’ve done, it’s not enough. That voice is always there.
“Someone’s going to show up with a degree in design and everyone’s going to get how bad you really are at this. You’re not even the best designer in your family, for the record.”
That last bit’s entirely true, by the way. But the rest of it? It’s a constant struggle, every day, to shut those voices up so I can sit down and do work.
The fact that I’m working from home saves me at this point. If I can’t shut the lizard brain up, I can take ten minutes to make coffee or eat a handful of macadamias and then get back at it.
If I hit my deadlines, I’m okay. And sometimes, the only way to do that, the only way to shut the voices up long enough to get my fingers to move the way I need them to is to put myself against those deadlines.
I developed this habit before high school but if I have work to get done, the best way for me to do it is to feel like it can’t be done.
The little long-haul trucker in my brain fuels up on caffeine, throws the Smokey and the Bandit soundtrack in the dash, and sets off to “do what they say can’t be done,” even if the “they” in this instance is me.
The pressure of a deadline masks the pressure of inadequacy.
And then after it ships, regardless of the quality, I’m unhappy because I feel like I rushed it.
It’s a cycle. And not a pretty one. But it does serve a purpose.
There have been two times that I can think of in the past year that I have felt out from underneath some version of that pressure. Trips to California to visit danee’s family, one involving Disneyland, times that were really, really fun… and then it pops up again.
Just an overwhelming feeling that I’m not being productive, not reaching my potential… underachieving, if achieving at all.
“Maybe you should get back to writing every day.”
This isn’t a voice I’m making up, it’s danee’s. She’s already picked up on the signs, the little things I do before I say I’ve got to get back to making things or else I’m going to go out of my mind.
It’s a different kind of pressure. And one that’s got me to this point, the end of the first blog post I’ve written in a long while.
I can live with this.
I’d really meant to do a little writing. And then Merlin linked to a Guided by Voices Shirt… and I got on that InDesign ish.
Seriously considering turning these into for-purchase shirts, especially if it will help me avoid actually writing later.
Oh, new blog. Welcome.