So…. things are a little messed up

Hello, people who I’m probably not going to end up sharing this with. It’s currently 10:20pm on a Wednesday, which just makes this whole thing a little more sad than I realized at first.

Honestly, I started writing this because I’m sick of having to explain to people the status of my life right now. Which is no status. Like, literally, nothing is happening. Which is difficult to explain without wanting to crawl in a hole, so instead, I’ll write it down once and the next time someone asks I’ll just give them the link to this. Totally less awkward, right? Right.

So.. let’s get into the fun stuff, shall we? I was supposed to be in Italy this year. Actually, I was supposed to fly out yesterday. I was going to be playing professional hockey, in a city that looks like a movie set, and traveling around Europe with friends and teammates. Instead, I’m currently sitting at my parents’ kitchen counter blogging. As you can imagine, this is a slight disappointment. Unfortunately, the Bolzano Eagles lost some significant sponsors, and the team’s budget was sliced in half. While they might get the funding through other avenues, the season is currently on hold for the international imports.

This is difficult for me for several reasons, most of them selfish. I wasn’t ready to be done with hockey. That sounds so sad, and I can’t tell you how much I wish I could let it go (as my mom keeps insisting) but I simply can’t. I have this weird tendency to give situations and events more weight than they probably deserve. I’ve always thought of it as being nostalgic, even as the thing I’m nostalgic about is actually happening. So when my season ended this year, I was immediately and pretty permanently broken-hearted. It was okay when I had teammates and friends around, because I could still hang on to a part of that time in my life, but now, it’s mostly gone. I work at a hockey training camp, which gets me in skates, but I miss the competition and hockey world. That was the big reason number one I was so excited to get to Italy- to get that feeling back, even if just for one more year.

I was also excited because this was my “second chance” at a professional career. I had committed to a team earlier in the spring, and they decided the last minute to go with another player. I was pretty blindsided by the news, and had turned down other offers in order to commit to this team. When Italy came calling, it seemed like the stars had aligned! I studied all summer, took the DAT (dental school test) and was finally ready to turn my attention to packing for my trip. The next morning, I woke up to an Italian article with the headline “The Eagles May Disappear.” I don’t know if any of you have ever tried to translate an article from Italian to english, but it is not a perfect process. I learned that the team had lost most of its funding, and through communication with the GM learned that a lot of the year was up in the air. I’m actually still trying to figure out exactly will be happening with the team. Not knowing, and being in this perpetual pause is starting to take a toll. It’s no ones fault, which almost makes it worse. There’s no one to appeal to, no one to blame or ask for help from. It’s just a waiting game, and I don’t know how long I can wait.

I have friends in Europe right now, playing for teams all across the continent. My two best friends are on the same team in Munich, which leads to the third reason I was so excited for Italy. The ability to live for 8-9 months, three hours from your best friends, in the alps, in Italy, with great wine, playing hockey, is something that doesn’t just come around every day. I’m devastated that I might not get to do that. I’m trying hard not to be envious that they’re there, and plan on visiting at the very least, but that’s not easy. I hope that their time in Germany is incredible, but at the same time wish that I could be having my own experience. I’m struggling with that feeling.

Finally, I have an issue with failing. And I feel like a failure. When friends and family found out what I had planned for this year, they were supportive and excited. I had Facebook messages and posts and texts telling me congratulations and wishing me luck. I was reminded constantly what a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity this was. My own mother begrudgingly told me she thought I had to do this, even though she was so excited to have me home for a year.

And then it fell apart.

And realistically I know I didn’t fail, and it’s stupid of me to phrase it that way. I know I’m not the only one affected by this, and people have far more invested in this team than I do. But I don’t know the last time I had something this big fall through. I have been so blessed to attend the college of my dreams, and even though hockey didn’t always go the way I wanted it to (we like to pretend freshman and sophomore year never happened), I could be assured that I left all I had on the ice. Now, I can’t do anything more. It’s not in my hands- I can’t work harder to make this happen, I can’t lift more weight or skate faster. I can’t study more or read more about it.

People keep asking me when I leave, and I try to leave it as ambiguous as possible. When people hear I might not go at all, they tell me they’re happy I’ll be around. That sucks. It all just rings of pity, and false happiness, and failure.

So now, I try to figure out what I’m going to do. I have faith I’ll figure it out. Honestly, I think I’m avoiding learning if I’ll get to Italy this year because I don’t want to hear the bad news. I’ll find out sooner or later, and hopefully it will be good news. If not, I’ll just have to make my own good news. I’ll find a job to keep me sane, and interview for dental schools, and get my life back on track. It’ll be fine and fun and I’m sure I will love being home and near my friends. I’ll get the chance to see my brother and sister play hockey in person for the first time in years. I can visit UConn, and Boston, and bum around in general. Italy would be amazing, and I’ll be disappointed if it doesn’t work out, but I’ll be alright no matter what.

So people, that’s my status. It’s not really a status, but just a giant pause button on my life. In the next two months I could be anywhere from Bolzano, Italy, to working as a waitress in Eagan. Who knows. Regardless of the outcome, as my brother likes to remind me, “Shit’ll buff out.”
-Joe Dirt

Featured imageBecause this man screams good life advice

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