(apologies if you were expecting the blog at 9, but the video at the end took ages to upload, soz)

good morning, how is your world?

hopefully really good, but if not, have a read, and maybe you'll be uplifted.

last week i had a mini wobble.

what's a mini wobble?

well a full blown wobble is where i am going to everest, haven't raised enough money for the charity i have committed to, i am working too hard, and i am training too hard, and i end up having a wobble, tiny tears makes an appearance, and luckily for me tania steps in, rationalises me, tells me how it really is, andrex for men come out, we move on, take the pressure off, and things start to flow smoothly again.

i now realise that when i set myself all these big targets, that an unfortunate bi-product is either a wobble or a mini wobble.

last week was a mini wobble, which though not as ferocious as a full blown wobble, it still manifests itself with characteristics of a wobble, and at the time you don't know if it will increase enough to be registered as such, scary huh?

'why so?' i hear you ask quizzically over your (insert breakfast food of choice) 

on reflection i now know why.

i didn't have my support team in place.

for those of you who don't know me, i have a pretty tight family, and as i was the only one in this country last week, due to my girls either being away working or being on holiday i had the joy of coming home to an empty house, devoid of any sound, smell, emotion, or general hubub.

i miss the family jibber jabber, and i miss the talking, and i miss the cuddles.

i'm a pretty emotional guy, as you may have guessed, and cuddles are a pretty important ingredient for me, and as i write this i worry for a nanosecond that you will judge me, but i continue to type with honesty, because i want you to get me, fully, and hopefully identify similarities, and hopefully stick around, but if not, no problem, we're not right for each other, but i would prefer to share reality with you, as then we will hopefully connect better.

so, the bottom line was, i was lonely, i missed my family, and i had an impending engagement to talk at an event, that was scaring the bejesus out of me.

a few months ago two of my old ice hockey pals frankie killen and scott plews contacted me about an event they were arranging, which was a celebration of 100 years of ice hockey in the uk, and it took the format of a golf day, and then gala dinner in the evening, and they offered me the opportunity to talk about bigmoose to my peers, a chance i was honoured to be given.

frankie killen was a fellow goalie, and we had competed at the same level for many years, and i have a lot of respect for his ability on the ice, and over the last few months my respect for him off it has grown as i have watched from afar as this native scotsman, along with his fellow countryman scott plews put together an amazing event.

the social media feeds have been abuzz with expectation from hockey players and officials from near and far, and the event was to offer something not seen in my lifetime, and was building up to be a very special event.

but, every facebook comment i read was a grain of sand on the scale that measured completely calm on one side, to the increasingly growing scared of failure in front of your mates on the other, and it was growing unbeknownst to me, in a way that was increasing the pressure.

i am not destined to be a public speaker, and how anybody does it for a living is beyond me, but i have chosen a path that occasionally leads me to a stage somewhere, where i have a chance to tell the bigmoose story, and without doubt, after every time i do this i am glad, but man o man, the pregame is frickin horrible!

so as my mini wobble kicked in, and poor lonely jeff felt sorry for himself for a variety of reasons, i had planned to use a video to show at the event, but due to bad planning that wasn't going to happen, so i beat myself up a bit more.

what was i gonna do, i know, a slide show i thought, and as i pulled a number of pictures together, i doubted myself, as i often do, and worried if i would be perceived as some do gooder, or show off, or whatever, i just worried.

i really shouldn't agree to do this stuff, it really can't be good for my health.

so as i set off to durham for a what turned out to be seven hour drive on a friday afternoon, i carried with me a tiny memory stick with 15 images that would act as my sword and shield with which to fight my demons, but as with with any sword or shield, they must be wielded well to emerge victorious.

(wow, i like the sound of that, the second coffee has deffo kicked in!!!)

i arranged to meet my ex team mate and overall top geezer gary stefan in some services on the m1, and then travel the last leg of the journey together, and as i neared our rendezvous my phone rang and the name 'chinny' lit up.

now nicky chinn was an awesome hockey player, who i played with at cardiff in the 90's, and i had seen him come through our junior system to become the first acknowledged and definitely best welsh hockey player ever, and he is also a lovely guy, so i smiled as i answered with a 'chinnnnnnnnnny, how you doing mate?'

'are you in a black convertible saab?'

'yep, where are you?', i asked looking around.

'in front of you'

we waved, and agreed to meet stef at the services together.

i smiled inside, and thought how good it was going to be to meet up with some people i hadn't seen for a long time, and the sun shone.

we saw the sign for junction 28 and indicated, and as my speed slowed my phone rang again.

it was a mate from cardiff who i had just done a business deal with, only his bosses had been dragging their heels a little on getting things going properly, and as i answered and we swapped pleasantries, he proceeded to say 'there's no easy way to tell you this mate' which in my experience has never led to a good conclusion, and my mind raced ahead, and plotted that i had lost the business, sh*t, what a waste of time and effort i thought.

'i've got cancer'

you like me, probably never saw that coming.

'but don't worry, it's in my kidney, and i only need one of them, so they're gonna try to cut it out, and if not they'll remove it, and i only need one, so we should be fine.'

i sat numb, very reminiscent of when moose told me he had this poxy disease.

chinny greeted stef in the car park, and there was lots of hugging and smiling going on, and i sat in my car talking, probably appearing a little rude i would think, but very numb indeed.

'so there you are, it'll be fine, but i just wanted to let you know'

'wow man, you are taking this pretty well'

'only way to take it, it'll be fine, i'll call you soon to let you know how it goes, they operate on the 17th'

'ok'

'hi stef' we hug.

my already emotional state was cranked up a few notches there and then, and lots of thoughts invaded my brain space.

the friday evening was spent trying to recognise people who obviously recognised me as they used my name, and doing it in a way that wasn't detected.

name badges i thought, we need name badges, 'hi buddy' was a greeting i used a number of times ashamedly.

the beers and stories flowed, and the cacophony of sound in the bar was so loud, it resembled a school assembly on the first day of term after the summer holidays, but just with deeper voices.

at 1.30am i sneaked off quietly, without wishing to draw attention to my inability to stay the pace, i am a drinking wimp, and as my alarm went off i had the first booze headache i have had for a very long time, and remembered why i drink very little these days.

as we drove to the first tee the sun shone, and the boys on the beer cart offered heineken to one and all, and as i accepted my first can of the day i questioned my ability to say no.

we golfed, we laughed, we skidded the golf cart as others tee'd off, we misbehaved, we met at different parts of the course, told jokes, drank beer, laughed more, and never spoke of how we missed this part of our lives.

the dressing room banter was an integral part of our team sport, and it was where i learnt how to survive, survive here and you survive anywhere, this was a harsh environment, and fools were not tolerated gladly, rapier wit was a necessity.

the golf was a folly, which nobody took too seriously, and the bar after continued the previous nights form, and the raconteurs of our sport entertained the troops.

as the evening drew closer, so my nerves kicked in, and i wrote notes to accompany my slides, in case i dried up and lost the plot, as i once saw somebody who had prior to his presentation told me he was going to 'wing it' my goodness he winged it, but when he completely crashed and burned, i felt sure he would prepare next time, cockiness is not an attractive trait.

the room was full of my peers and i was twitching like a goodun.

noisy, booze fuelled hockey players are not a great target audience to talk to about losing yer best mate to cancer, and then going on to feed homeless people with greggs pasties i worried.

however i underestimated how much love was in this room.

love for moose, love for one of our own, and, it felt like, a love for what bigmoose is all about.

i stepped off the stage and walked to my seat with applause ringing in my ears, i had connected, emotionally, which was all i ever wanted to do, i had told my story to people that i had spent my life with, on buses, in dressing rooms, in team pictures, and the energy was very apparent, though the silence throughout my outpouring of emotion was very noticeable and appreciated.

i had a lot of people come up to talk to me after, and i almost felt a little embarrassed by the attention, but the kindness was delicious, and i enjoyed the taste.

i had phone numbers, offers of help, and a super generous offer from one of my ex team mates to give a family of our choice his floridian villa for two weeks, and this offer was to be given annually, which i am sure will be something that spreads a lot of happiness to it's recipients, so my fear, my pain, my anxiety, etc, has paid dividends literally, and is proof that i must overcome my doubts and continue to share our story, as the more i do the more people get involved, and the more we grow.

so if you are a new reader of our blog, as we had a record number of subscribers last week, then welcome on board, i hope we provide a bit of fun, and hopefully some good stuff that you can get involved in from time to time, and if we can inspire you a little to stretch yourself, then that'll be good right?

so, at the beginning of this blog i suggested you have a read and hopefully we can uplift you, well thanks for reading about me and my goings on, but here is the bit that hopefully will uplift you.

i met and wrote about jody a while ago, after feeding the homeless in cardiff, and haven't seen her for a while, but last night she came along, and she was in such a different place to the last time i saw her, so i really wanted to record the moment, and she kindly let me ask her a few questions, so if you've seen this on facebook i apologise, but i am really happy to share it with everyone, and hopefully we can help her get some employment, i have this feeling we will, so have a watch, and hopefully it inspires you in some way, and if it does, let us know, we love your stories.

how cool is that?

watch this space for how jody's journey progresses.

and finally, i want to say an absoluteley massive thank you to neil clarke who owns pippins fruit and veg in clifton street, cardiff for supplying us with fresh fruit to give to the homeless folk we feed, an unsung hero, doing his bit in a very under the radar way, but we all appreciate it, so thank you neil.

so that's it for another week, thanks for reading, and i hope you have a great weekend, and go do stuff that makes you scream 'yesssssss' embrace life, and live it to the max, and as the man says 'it aint no rehearsal' cheesy but true.

so until next week, i'll be seeing ya,

blues skies,

jeff






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