Everything that I've leaned about excuses comes from playing ice hockey.
I've played hockey for the vast majority of my life. I've traveled throughout North America to play at the highest level that I possibly could.
I've visited vast wastelands, frozen ponds, and state of the art stadiums to play the game I love. I've made incredible friends, seen amazing places, and have acquired monumental amounts of knowledge and wisdom.
The one piece of wisdom that I never credited to my experience playing hockey was the decline of my usage of excuses.
Most of my career was spent tending the net as a goalie and I had the fine opportunity to play with some of the greats. Many of them were far better than I ever was. Blake Geoffrion, Jared Tinordi, and Jamie Fritsch all come to mind (there are many others, too). I was truly lucky.
As a goalie, it was my job to keep pucks out of the net. There are defensemen that help, and usually there's a few offense men back checking too, but when a puck crosses the goal line all efforts have failed.
It could have been the center who didn't back check and cover the high slot, or the winger who left the point open to rip a cannon from the blue line. It could have been the refs fault for not blowing the whistle sooner or the score keepers fault for not letting time expire.
Sure I could blame any one of those factors and make excuses and I did. I blamed the refs, the scorekeeper, my defensemen, the quality of the ice, the non-back-checking offense men and sometimes even my own equipment.
I kept doing this until I realized that excuses are pointless. They make no one feel good and only work as a ploy to convince yourself that you couldn't do any better – that you were fine and there was nothing you could do. It didn't actually matter if it was my fault or theirs, they are one of the worst things about the human race. They are an illusion. It's easy to make them but they are worthless.
After acknowledging this on several long car rides home or walks back from the rink, I realized that making excuses wouldn't help me keep pucks out of the net. I quickly learned that it doesn't matter how the puck got across the line, it's about how you bounce back and stop the next one.
Thanks to Mary Kay and Carolyn for reading drafts of this.