The past fourteen months have taught me that different wounds heal at dramatically different paces. Some wounds will never heal. Some take a few days and scab over and then eventually wipe away. Some, not to be overly gross, you kind of pick at–leave alone–pick at–leave alone–rub because they itch–leave alone…and in the end, they never get a chance to truly heal.
Last weekend, I brought my time as a worker and volunteer for a single youth hockey organization to an end. I decided that the ends no longer justified the means, and that moving on from that part of me was important to my growth, my mental health, my ability to find my “new normal” moving forward. I could not move forward if I continued to do all the same things that I did while Micah was here, pretending in some small way that maybe Micah was not really gone.
My plan was to continue working with my friends at PWC on their tournament, to continue announcing Roadrunners games, and to continue running or helping to run the state youth hockey league next season. As Meatloaf so eloquently put it, “Two out of three ain’t bad.”
Tonight, the state hockey board was scheduled to hold discussions and vote on the proposal that my former league co-chair and I put together, with input from the other state league committee members, to pay a relatively small stipend ($7500-8000) per season to each of the co-chairs that runs the state league. We estimated that the co-chairs have averaged over 1,000 hours per season doing the administrative work that it took to have an 800+ player, 50+ team league operate. As consideration for the excessive time and effort to keep the league running, the stipend seemed reasonable — to us. After all, the average hockey fees for a travel player in Arizona are around $4,000. We were asking for $20 (for two co-chairs) and even voiced a willingness to just have one at $10 per player. $10 is 0.25 percent of $4000. I sat and listened as an organization that takes many of their teams on multiple out-of-state tournament trips per season, costing families thousands of dollars in travel expenses, complained that it was not fair to charge kids $10 each to pay for the league–that provides them around half of their games for the season.
The absolute last thing I wanted to have to do–tonight, this season, ever–was try to justify that what I bring to the table, what I do for the state league, is worth a stipend. I had really hoped that people would generally react like many close to me, who said they thought what I did was easily worth a few bucks per season. How wrong I was.
Maybe the time has come to rip off the Band-Aid and just walk away. I feel like I was sent a couple messages tonight. I really don’t like either message. Cynthia has urged me to move on for a year now. She’s seen what I look like after spending my extended waking hours–sometimes until 1-2am–working on things for the league. She’s seen the frustration on my face, heard the frustration in my voice, after breaking my back for entitled people that just assume that my efforts are somehow owed to them. To hear tonight that they believe that if I really love this sport, I will continue to work tirelessly for this level of appreciation and thanks…
It’s time to rip the Band-Aid off and see what happens next…