Watching the Leafs hoist the Stanley Cup

When my therapist challenged me to compile my list of wanted memories, it was early August, exactly one month ago, and my beloved Maple Leafs were still a contender in the NHL playoffs. I added this memory squarely in the realm of “potential”, because although I didn’t think it was likely to happen, wouldn’t it be incredible to witness them win the Stanley Cup and remember it fondly at New Year’s Eve?

The last time the Toronto Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup was in 1967, when televised games were broadcast in black and white. It was the last year the NHL consisted of the Original Six teams, as the league doubled in size the following season. It would be almost 13 years until I was born. The closest the Leafs have ever gotten to winning the whole shebang was back in 1993, when they were one goal away from making it to the championship series.

At a time when the whole world seems out of whack with this pandemic, there’s a part of me that felt reassured when the Leafs lost their best-of-5 series against the Blue Jackets. Nothing in my life has been as constant as the annual disappointment of watching the Toronto Maple Leafs end their season before a champion has been crowned. At least this is a familiar feeling, when so much of this world feels unfamiliar.

Watching the Leafs hoist the Stanley Cup won’t be a memory I have this year. So, although I won’t have that, what I do have is a renewed sense of normalcy for 2020. After all, there’s always next year.

Follow along and make memories.


2020: A New Beginning

I think I have global support when I say that 2020 has been one of the most communally challenging years most of us have ever experienced.

The first half of 2020 was, hands-down, the most difficult period I’ve ever trudged through. In the first week of January, I started in a new position at work. The role of Travel Wrangler hadn’t existed before I claimed it on my freshly ordered business cards. I was excited for the opportunity to put the knowledge I’ve gained through my years of travel to good use for my colleagues and the company. It seemed as soon as I found my footing, got to a point where my Impostor Syndrome wasn’t crippling me any more, global travel came to a red light.

Then came February, when I suffered whiplash from being rear-ended, while stopped at a traffic light. In Chicago, in March, I got horribly sick on the last business-related trip before the aforementioned travel stoppage. I’m 99% sure it was COVID-19, but securing a test was impossible that early on. A friend on my softball team, who was full of love and light, with the most incredible smile, took his life in April. Then we were in May, and my wife and I were 2 months into a self-imposed lockdown (Florida wasn’t really enforcing anything), and I was struggling without the social connection I so desperately desired. By June, I came to the realization that my marriage was in crisis.

I was in crisis.

Continue reading “2020: A New Beginning”