Last week, I resigned from the state hockey league (see earlier blogs for details).

Over the weekend, I fulfilled my obligations for regional ice hockey and state roller hockey.

Tonight, I helped transition in a new equipment manager for my former youth hockey organization and returned my equipment room key.

The road ahead of me is now clear.  I look at my calendar and realize that, soon, it will be pretty empty–at least for the next several months.  No more meetings to run or attend.  No more duties to carry out.  If I want a true, clean break–I have it.  I am not committed to any youth hockey activities until early fall planning for the Southwest Elite AAA Showcase and the Cactus Cup.  The only way I partake in youth hockey activities now is by my own hand, owing to my own decision.

There are activities I may choose to participate in: USA Hockey 14u and 15u Nationals in early April–I can scorekeep or just volunteer, state roller hockey State Finals in early May–I can scorekeep and announce, a variety of organizations hold their 2017-18 season tryouts starting in mid-April…  I may pick one or two things to keep myself busy and help out as I wait for that first audition, but it’s nice to know that it’s completely up to me.  No one is forcing my decision.

As with so many things that have occurred since he passed away, I feel Micah’s presence pushing me towards the future…

I have decided on two projects for the coming months: writing my first book and auditioning for my first play in over 25 years.  Of course, I will spend more time with my family, enjoy some getaway time–and see, once and for all, if I’m capable of truly relaxing.

My book will focus on what my nearly eleven years as part of youth hockey was really like–my observations, my thoughts, what forms the underpinnings of youth hockey (and probably most other youth travel sports).  I have a rough idea of where I’m going with the book, but right now I’m mulling over whether to keep it strictly non-fiction, or to create a thin fictional veneer to convey my information.  Either way, I expect the process to be an adventure…

Getting back into theatre is something I’ve given much consideration over the past decade or more.  Something always stopped me–usually hockey–until now.  I hope to get things kicked off in June with a 30th anniversary reunion of one of my favorite high school theatre productions: The Odd Couple.  The prospect of helping put this little reunion together has really helped buoy me over the past several days.  Seeing old friends, reliving memories, doing what was once so natural to me–but now seems so distant, even if it’s only a dramatic reading of an old script.  I’ll get home from this brief journey into yesteryear and audition for my first new show since 1991.

The first new show could not be more perfectly timed.  Auditions should be in the early part of the summer, with the actual production running from late August until early October, right before Roadrunners hockey starts up again for the 2017-18 season.  What better show to dust off my dreams than Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat?  My days of being a spry, younger actor — well, they never really existed.  From as early as 13 years old, I was always cast as the father or father figure–so I hardly expect to be cast as Joseph or one of his brothers now.  I will likely audition for Jacob, Potiphar, the Butler or the Baker–or other adult chorus role: simple way to get back on my feet on the stage.  I’ll worry about finding larger roles later… (But if anyone out there is looking for a Henry Drummond, Matthew Harrison Brady or E.K. Hornbeck, feel free to send me a message.  :))

And so it begins, the new chapter in my life–a retro look back at a much earlier chapter in my life.  Not that my theatre days were drenched with happiness off the stage, mind you.  There were definitely some very lonely days between appearances behind the proscenium arch.  But on the stage–under the lights, in makeup and costume–I was happy.  I could be me by, well, not being me for a brief while.  I could act strange and goofy and feel appreciated for my goofiness.  I could be somber, dark and brooding for a therapeutic moment while bringing a character to life.

I tried to find the stage in the classroom–in the courtroom–in the break room.  None of those experiences compared to being on the theatre’s stage.  I still look for the audio stage when I announce hockey or baseball or softball games, but they only leave me wanting more.  I just hope the years haven’t weathered and withered away my chances of success…

Perhaps now, with 46 plus years of life experience to draw upon, I can be something more than the occasionally cocky 13- to 20-year old that experienced the stage so frequently in my youth.  I guess I will soon see…

I will soon see what life is like with theatre and writing in the foreground and hockey, for the first time in 11 years, in the background…and Micah cheering me from the seats instead of the crease.