Here we go.
I was 14 years old skating down the ice reffing my first ever hockey game. I was terrified. I am in charge of this game. Are you kidding me? That’s way too much pressure.
2 players crash into each other and fall down on the ice. One teams coach starts screaming at me. I freeze. My mind escapes the game. A grown adult man is screaming down at me. This means I’ve done something wrong. I am scared. It’s not about the game to me. It’s about a person I want to be able to look up to disrespecting me.
I come back into the game. The coach screams again. This time I understand what he’s saying:
“Make the call!”
I’m still a teenager. Things have been difficult at home. My mom and my dad have not been getting along. Everyone is walking on eggshells. It doesn’t feel like home right now. Finally my mom has had enough. She comes to my room and tells me to pack a backpack and get in the car; we’re leaving. My dad has followed her up the stairs to keep yelling. I briefly catch eyes with him before casting my head down. I still remember the white of his eyes, so bright with anger. My head cast down in fear. Then down the stairs my parents went, still screaming. I scrambled out of my frozen state. I needed to act. I had instructions to follow. The tears were streaming down my face and onto my shirt. There was no stopping them now. I rubbed the snot off my nose with the inside of my shirt. Through the rain in my eyes I managed to grab my backpack and stuff my favourite hoodie in it; along with some other things. Now I could hear the screaming carry outside and my moms car start. It was time to go. I rushed down the stairs, through the open door and looked out to see my brother already in the passenger seat. I took the back seat. Dad was really really yelling now. Mom slammed her car door shut and threatened for the last time that we were leaving. Finally my fathers expression changed. His anger halted as he realized he didn’t want us to go. He screams “wait! Wait!” As he struggles to find more words.
This is when I really stopped being a spectator and entered the scene. My dad walked right past the front of the car and opened the back door right across from me. He put his fists down lightly on the empty seat. He looked at me with love. His eyes that had been glossed over with rage now pleaded with me to forgive. He asked me if we could all just go inside and talk this through- no more yelling. He begged me. I was still choking back tears. I didn’t know what to say. My mom is staring back at me from the drivers seat. She’s crying too. We don’t say anything. But her look says it all. What should we do? Should we stay and talk or drive off? Her look is asking me! She doesn’t know! I have to decide what we do!
Make the call.
Here I am 10 some odd years later. And I’m struggling with a whole new dilemma. I need to walk away from something I’ve devoted more time to than anything thing else in my life. But how do I make the choice? How do I know if I’ve got more left in the tank or not. What if I’ve got more to give. I’ve got more push. What if I should’ve walked away years ago and I’ve wasted my time? What if it wasn’t truly a passion and it was just a way to hide from all the bad I was feeling in my life. It was a negative environment that supported the negative thoughts I was having about myself. But it’s what I know. It’s my identity. It’s a part of me. Do I keep it or throw it away?
Make the call.