Watching the Masters golf tournament is always a great day in sports.  As the final round was being played and video of both the great shots and some of the not so great shots were being reviewed, I suddenly thought about something my grandpa always used to say, “There are two guarantees in life, death and taxes.” 

I thought of this because there are certainties in life that can’t be avoided, and it’s up to the individual how you deal with the highs and the lows. In golf, the most successful players also undoubtedly have the greatest attitudes, as well as the shortest memories. They hit a bad shot and forget about it. Within a minute they are addressing the ball prepared to hit a great shot.

When my grandfather first told me about death and taxes as a teenager I didn’t really know what he meant by it, but now almost 50, I understand exactly what he was talking about.  The fact of the matter is, that I’m past the half way point of my life, still paying taxes and each day getting closer to the last leg of the tour. 

Attitude is something that I consider each and every day. Each morning I wake up and ask myself the same question, “What’s my attitude going to be today?”  This is a conscience choice you make each and every day, and is 100% in your control.

You can choose to have a negative attitude, or instead like a great golfer, move on from the negative and focus on the positive. Energy comes from a positive frame of mind, and when you look at the energy level of the best golfers, they gain it by focusing on the next shot, regardless of the last. This is a great lesson to apply not only to your everyday life, but also on your hockey training, practice and game performance.   

As we all know, hockey is a very emotional sport.  When things are going well and you are winning, it’s extremely easy to have a great attitude.  But like the certainty of death and taxes, hockey will eventually throw some adversity your way, forcing you to make a decision.  Ultimately, how you deal with challenges comes down to one thing, your attitude.

Next time think like a golfer. If you make a mistake, move on as if you are immediately preparing to hit the next shot; and when you do, make it a great one! 

And remember, always work hard and dream bigger than everyone else.

April 14, 2015 — Lance Pitlick

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