Monday, July 18, 2016


Continued from WORLD WIDE HOCKEY TOUR – SAN DIEGO (PART A) in July, 2016.]

Mekkar’s best friend Lasse would refer to The Arctic Warrior’s personality change on the ice as one (Mekkar) who goes to his deep, dark place inside of himself. Lasse describes it as an area that sometimes Mekkar himself does not want to visit. The hulking Lasse should know too. Since many have said outwardly, and Lasse agreed with affirmation, that he has almost the same exact nasty on ice disposition as Mekkar. The difference is Mekkar’s best friend is physically much bigger, stronger, meaner, and nastier of the two. Lasse is always on the lookout to carry out his brand of bad intentions than Mekkar ever could, at his worst. Added to the fact, that Lasse had less control and it was hard for him to turn off the nastiness switch in other parts of his life. This is possibly the main reason they got along so well with each other because they could relate to each others’ inner demons, just waiting to come out.

Lasse and Mekkar both had a similar character and they had an almost exact upbringing by growing up together in the same village. Mekkar’s best friend recognized that he will always need some type of physical or creative outlet to combat that internal tug-of-war and subsequent outward mean streak manifestation. This will be especially true when his competitive athletic days are completed. Otherwise, there will be episodes of lashing out or blowing off steam. Lasse joked many times about the fact that Mekkar will never get married due to the fact that he is extremely uncompromising, unlike politicians. He is very consistent in his stances and unwavering in those areas of his nature.

Like or not, these behaviors are an ongoing struggle for many athletes in violent contact and collision sports. These matters become worse for athletes as they approach the end of their chosen profession with diminishing skills or after career ending injuries or forced retirement. The issue is that the particular individual loses their outlet or expression that was the focus of their inner drive. After the active sports career is over there is no way to get out that built-up inward conflict out of themself. In other words, the release mechanism is now absent and something else must fill the void. The associated problems with lack of aggressive expression require a permanent resolution or it never gets solved without an extreme amount of help from others.

Most ex or former athletes are taught to push it down deep inside or to ignore these issues. They are told it will take care of itself, but in reality that usually is not the case only the exception. That is only one factor that was mentioned above as related to the psyche of an individual. There are other considerations as well such as the loss of higher income in most respects. Those accomplishments and blessings which normally are perceived as being at the top rungs of society at large disappear. Don’t forget the loss of adulation from fans and no more attention from the crowds. Even temporary glory, fame, and other post endeavor lost benefits like daily life structure for the most part of a professional athletic career is suddenly gone. The great upheaval and understanding is lost on those people who have never experienced these factors. Thus, depression can set in big time. If there is a lack of post career preparation the questions come like a flood, what do I do now?

The cold weather young man would describe his central condition by using an external example such as like the horn type sound that is made during a heavy London fog. If no sound is made or the noise is ignored most likely bad things can occur. A ship or boat loses its sense of direction and runs into another object or aground. Mekkar would at other times express the continuous resident turmoil as boiling to the surface. Another indication was small tremors released to hold off and avoid a large earthquake.

He always felt he needed that abrasive edge in his game because of his smaller stature for his position. Some would say Mekkar went over the edge on many occasions. Mekkar went out of his way to get respect. He also knew that by carrying himself in this manner, he was playing with fire and could get burned. Even go over the edge or just snap on a mental level and become a basket case. Yet, those risks Mekkar was willing to take in the short term without assessing long term ramifications.

At times Mekkar would do this to kick-start and motivate himself. The idea was to knock any listlessness out of him through the dishing out of taking a hit to make a beneficial play. If there was any lethargy left in him, he was determined to removal it all any way he could. Many times after games Mekkar felt more relief than joy in this frame of mind, even if his squad was victorious. It was physically exhausting and mentally draining to play the style he did. Then, normally he would revert back to his regular frame of mind. The dilemma was that, not even Mekkar could predict the tone and expression of his own character. The Far North Native has some major questions regarding the realm of his daily existence outside of participating in active sports. Would he be a personal, but guarded individual when he was away from all sports or games? Or would he be a total jerk and have an explosive personality toward everyone around him? This is how Mekkar imagined himself and his outward demeanor. Of course, others around him saw Mekkar in different light, which included those closest to him on this trip such as Alf and Lasse.

In Mekkar’s mind, he was glad that some of the more physical teams and good squads at the beginning of the tour. He was hoping this would result in his team playing some better hockey when the fear factor was removed. The benefit of that schedule for him is that it got Mekkar’s competitive juices flowing in those early matches. The downside was that it could wear him down rapidly, if he wasn’t careful despite anything to the contrary that his mind told him.

There was the belief of Mekkar that the Selects as a team had been fairly fortunate to achieve a couple of victories so far on this ice hockey expedition. Well, considering the high level of opponents the Selects had encountered. Any early success by Mekkar’s squad was mainly due to an increased effectiveness on the man advantage power play unit. It seemed to start to click and produce more timely goals. A good power play is an effective weapon to punish opposing teams for undisciplined play and taking stupid penalties. The travelling team’s power play became more dangerous and was operating at a higher clip with each successive outing. Ever since the recent surge of the Selects man advantage unit, the competition began to think twice before taking unnecessary liberties with Selects players. Careless play and the parade to the sin bin was greatly reduced. Too bad the lesson was lost on Mekkar because he mainly lived in the short term.