What it Takes to Get Hit
It’s tough for me to describe (and probably more difficult for you to understand) what it was like to go to work knowing that I would undoubtedly get hit that day, while constantly being told that taking pharmaceutical drugs to numb the subsequent pain is“normal”.
Whether I was on the giving or receiving end of a hit, the trick is to always mentally prepare for the moment of impact. Of course I never wanted to hurt anyone, the fact is that in hockey the player who hits the hardest is usually the most effective. The effective players are the ones who earn ice time and contracts.
A History of Shoulder Pain
If they could talk, my shoulders would tell you a story of pain that has given me some of the most humbling moments of my former professional life. For example: I’ve had countless sleepless nights, crumbling to pieces while reaching to grab something small. Many times I’ve even had to keep my hands in my pockets because the weight of my arms stressed my shoulders, causing unbearable pain and reducing me to the verge of tears.
I have had to force my own shoulder back in its place. Thinking back on it, I’ve sat so many hours with my arm pulled tight to my body, guarding my shoulder from any chance of pain. Knowing that I had to play gave me tremendous anxiety that would plague me throughout the season.
These days, I don’t play, but the pain lingers. Friends call me Meteorologist Marv, because I can feel when rain is coming. When I feel the moisture in the air, I know what is coming.
To Hit (or Not to Hit)
At 170-180lbs, I didn’t have much of a choice. If I was going to check (hit) someone, my attitude was ‘all or nothing’ because I had to keep up with players that had 25-50lbs on me, sometimes more (and definitely with more dumbbells in their diet). I took pride in never backing down. Come in my corner, and we were going to get to know each other.
Again, my goal was never to hurt anyone. With that being said, I also wanted the other players to know that it wouldn’t be an easy night if they planned on taking liberties with me. I was constantly being told that I didn’t need to take the hits; I didn’t need to be in those confrontations. But at a time in hockey history when no one under 6’ 2” was getting a chance as a “D” man, I knew that if I wasn’t physical, I would rarely get any real action.
Badge of Honor
My very first pro game ended with a glorious black eye that I wore like the proudest badge of honor. This wasn’t the first of my facial injuries, as I’ve had many during my previous college career. Rather, it was the beginning of me fighting for and earning my spot every chance I got.
And, if that meant putting my shoulder through someone’s chest? So be it. I was there, and first in line for the biggest guy on the ice. I knew it would be me or them, I knew that if I didn’t give it everything I stood the chance of losing the confrontation. I knew that if I went ‘all in’, proof of my abilities would be on the highlight reel.
Tackling the ‘Physical’
Mentally, I had it down. I knew my goals and what I needed to do in order to achieve them. Of course, the physical side wasn’t so easy. I had to find a way to numb the previous hit; to be able to move forward as if I was 100%. Each night, I was a bucket of water that emptied with every hit. By the end of the game, my bucket was empty, and I had nothing left to give.
I became adept at being able to mask the pain, to hide the anxiety of the post-game comedown. This was crucial. I couldn’t let anyone see how much it really hurt, how much pain I still felt from all the previous hits, the ones before the game at hand, before my shoulders went up against the biggest players in the league.
VEDA: Changing The Game
Hours after the game, when “party ends” and the effects of the party and pills wear off, the true pain finally sets in. My body took the cycle of uppers and downers leading to the aftermath of groggy and tired the next day. This was life and seemed like it would be forever.
I wish I knew then there was a way to change the game. A way to naturally help with the pain, giving me focus and even calming my nerves. Today I still “fight” everyday, but we are now fighting to push CBD into the world of sports. We are pushing boundaries and forcing our way into the game armed with educational and science based tools to educate athletes how to care for their most important tool- their body. To this day I am thankful for every scar and pain, they give me the drive to push through and keep educating on CBD for athletes. I know this is an ongoing fight, but I can take a hit.