Twenty-four hours ago, I got up and walked away from a labor of love of the last five years of my life.  After sleeping on it, talking it over with family, and taking some time to breathe, I crafted my official farewell letter to the members of the league committee.

So far, since emailing that letter, I have received two nice emails saying thank you from people that I worked closely with over the past year (or two).  I have also discovered that my admin access to the league website has been wiped.  This is clearly not a drill.

Was I planning to change my mind, tuck my tail between my legs, and continue on?  Highly unlikely.  However, someone was apparently nice enough to make that decision for me.  Maybe it was someone who read my blog.  Maybe it was someone who is glad to see me gone for one reason or another.  Either way, if you’re reading this, I say thank you.  The decision on the “other side” to make sure my choice is final and permanent underscores the reasons for my decision.

So now, one day later, what has changed?  I’m feeling better about my decision to move on with my life.  The anger has subsided, for the most part, and it’s now replaced with a sense of calm.  Those that would rattle my calm are now firmly in my rear-view mirror.  My calendar looks much more open and accepting for whatever my next project might be.  I suddenly have holiday weekends back to myself to spend with family and friends.

Am I done with youth hockey?  No, not completely–and not forever.  I still look forward to working with my friends at PWC on future tournaments.  I’m still likely to be involved with the state roller hockey board.  I have decided to not quite retire from scorekeeping after all — I’ll keep taking a few select games here and there to give something to the kids and parents in the youth hockey community.  I might become a little more active within the officiating community.

So what’s really changed, then?  When I started getting involved with youth hockey, it was primarily to help Micah, his teammates, his organization.  It became something that I felt that I had to do, frequently not really on my terms.  Now, I will help out on my terms, in a way that truly works for me.  I don’t mean that to sound selfish–just to sound like a man that is taking control of his own calendar, his own time–his own life.  There are so many other things that I want to do–that Micah would have wanted me to do–that I can now give a higher priority.  Do I want to go audition for a play or a choir?  Why not?  Do I want to search for more voiceover opportunities?  Sure!  Most importantly–do I want to spend much more quality time with my wife and daughter?  Of course I do, and of course I will.

Some plans are already starting to develop: a quick trip to Denver to meet up with one of my best friends for a quick Cubs-Rockies game at Coors Field in May, a 30th anniversary reunion reading of The Odd Couple with old friends, some of whom I have not seen in nearly 30 years, possibly over Labor Day Weekend in either Chicago or NYC, my first ever trip to see an actual show on Broadway next winter…

Other plans are in the germinating stage–and I’ll talk more about those as they begin to percolate.  I’m going to put Micah’s spirit on my back and run with him!

Change, regardless of the impetus, is going to be good.  I wish everyone in my prior sphere of life all the best.  I hope that they all continue to do the best for youth hockey.  I hope that many of my friends from youth hockey will come along for this change.  I know some will, but I also know some will fade and vanish.  I look forward to seeing who is still standing by my side as I roll with the changes into my “new normal.”