Coming off an emotional win in Toronto, we faced the challenge of avoiding a letdown, playing back-to-back games against two strong opponents.
The weekend proved to be a battle of attrition as the majority of the team spent approximately 18 hours on the bus in the span of 24 hours. You could see the travel had an effect on our team's overall energy and focus level, especially in our second game against Calgary as evident from our 8-2 first half deficit.
Every team has to endure different forms of adversity, so we need to take ownership of our performance and do a better job of overcoming the adversity. "No excuses, no explanations!" Although we approach every game with the goal of winning, sometimes losing can be a positive thing IF you learn and respond. It can reveal the character of your team and bring some deficiencies to the forefront.
For me personally, I didn't feel like I was at my best, both physically and mentally. It was the "flat" feeling athletes can get sometimes, where it seems like you are constantly behind the play. I'm fortunate enough to live with my younger sister Tory, who happens to be a national level track athlete. Track is a great example of the "fine line" that exists in sports, Performance and results are driven by every detail. The details become the difference in the milliseconds and millimeters that dictate outcomes. It is very black and white
Although the game of lacrosse presents many more uncontrollable variables, it ultimately comes down to the same thing -- earning your results through the process. My sister is not only a high level athlete she also earned her degree from one of the top phys-ed programs in Canada, so she is very knowledgeable in athletic performance (can you tell I'm a proud brother?). Describing my weekend to Tory on our Monday commute to The Hill Academy (where we both work), we got into the discussion of "optimal performance."
In track, athletes are taught to keep a journal, tracking their daily routine leading into competition. By tracking your workouts, diet, mental, physical, and emotional state, you can start to see trends in good or bad performance. So, for example, I didn't reach my, as Tory's track coach would phrase it, "optimum level of arousal" (cue one liner from Jordan Hall) -- prior to the games this weekend, so let's take a look at my routine leading into the game. When I take a deeper look at what I did throughout the week, I notice there were some things that were inconsistent with my normal game week routine. Nothing major, but a lot of subtle things that may have added up (diet, sleep pattern, workout schedule). Not excuses, but maybe some evidence that shows that I need to be tighter with my preparation. The good news is they are controllable things that I can correct moving forward. Keeping a journal will make me more aware of these things.
Next week is a bye week and although it will be difficult to sit on two consecutive losses for an extra week; it is a good time for self-reflection. The two losses tell us we are not where we want to be as a team. The goal will be learn from our mistakes and not dwell too much on the results at this point of the season (good or bad), rather focus on the process of improvement.
I would like to thank Ricky Palarmo and the entire Palarmo family for coming out to our game in Buffalo. Ricky is a quadriplegic and may be one of the most positive and selfless guys I know. He has devoted his life to raising awareness and raising funds to support spinal cord research. If you get a chance Google "The Miami Project" -- you will be inspired (hopefully enough to lend some support). Mr. P. (Ricky's dad) who is into his late 70's early 80's, said he would like to make a comeback so he could help us stop ageless wonder John Tavares -- maybe that is the answer???
Hope to see you at the Wells Fargo at our next home game on February 8th at 11am.
We really appreciate your support and loyalty (especially after a couple losses).