morning bigmoose friends,
let's get this blog started with the answer to the question that i'm sure is on all of your minds.
we shall speak no more of this.
this week has been a banger, to use modern day parlance, and as per usual i feel like i have so much to tell you, but i'm really conscious of just making this blog a bullet point list of stuff we get up to, which would be quite sterile, and have no emotional connection, so we're not gonna do that.
so, here is my first emotional tale, this week my good friend george invited me to speak at an event in cardiff called venturefest, which is for innovators, investors and entrepreneurs, and as per previous blogs, whilst being outside my comfort zone massively, i recognise the benefits that come from this kind of thing, and so i prepared what i was going to talk about, and how it would fit the questions we had been given as a guide.
i wrote notes as prompts for me to use in case i got stuck, and i always do this, as many years ago i went to watch a friend speak at an engagement, and as i had arrived early enough to have a chat with him, i asked him if he was ready and prepared, to which he replied it was fine he was going to wing it.
as the audience of hundreds listened to my friend, there from nowhere emerged an awkward silence enveloping the vast space we had filled, and it became apparent that he had frozen, and this man with a great personality had let the moment engulf him, and he was reduced to becoming this character all alone in front of a lecturn, and before the whole of the room was incapacitated by the psychosomatic effect of 'winging it'.
that day i felt my friends pain, and along with chloe who was with me, we inherited this dislike of the use of the phrase 'winging it', and it almost causes me to twitch when i hear it.
i was scheduled to speak at 10.45, and as i entered the swalec stadium in cardiff, i met and saw pr paul, andy my neighbour, and dad of my daughters friends, gareth the joint editor of a cardiff newspaper, aimee bateman a cardiff based young lady who i am aware has done tedx talks and has her own tv channel, oh man, this suddenly became even more daunting than i first thought.
as i sat at the back of the room waiting for my turn to speak, my mind drifted back decades to the nerves i used to feel prior to big hockey games, and my eye caught the tiny rebel brewery stand that was in the room, and i remembered the best year of my career, where the cardiff devils surprised the british ice hockey world, and won everything, and as their goalie, i backstopped them to fill their shiny new empty trophy cabinet, that the joiners responsible for this creation, like the rest of cardiff, if asked under oath would not have expected to have happened so quickly.
this season in cardiff was to be my best, and it was the highlight of my career, but as we won game after game, beating the best teams in britain, the expectation increased, and the pressure went in parallel.
every game caused me to get so nervous, it wasn't unusual for me to head for the toilets prior to face off to be physically sick, and to this day i cannot even think how i stepped onto the ice, having just vomited, to stop a tiny vulcanised rubber disc being fired at me at over 100mph, and coped.
this season i type about, had one interesting thing for me among many, and that was that shannon hope my buddy and defenceman on the team suggested one day that i should try slugging a beer prior the the game, in an attempt to calm my nerves, a kind of dutch courage affair.
my initial reaction was that this was crazy, but after assessing the situation in a rather naive, 'what's the worst that can happen?', way, we both cracked a labbatts blue, and toasted ourselves, in an audacious show of arrogance, as we weren't even aware of how good we were going to be that night.
i won the man of the match award, and shiney shone brightly as we defeated the murrayfield racers in the wales national ice rink.
a superstition was born.
more labbatts blue, more success, and the devils topped the league.
road trip games included me now packing my 'lucky' bottle along with my other tools necessary for me to ply my trade, and i shared my secret with our equipment manager taffy, who would secretly secrete my bottle of magic into a cubicle in the changing rooms, and i would sneak in like on some drug deal, i am amused at the level of effort i went to to continue this 'habit'.
this was almost certainly a placebo, and on reflection i cannot believe that i was so crazy, but i topped the goalie averages, won everything a goalie could win that year including a spot on the gb team, and the devils won the double, never before achieved, so who cares what it was, it worked right?
i sidled over to the tiny rebel guy, and negotiated a beer in a manner that felt very sordid, and used a skill i learnt many years ago, to take a bottle cap off with my teeth, which whilst very proud of, 52 year old jeff now worries about the potential of dental damage, and so it only comes out on special occasions such as this.
as the malty tasting ipa hit the back of my throat a million emotions washed over me, my magic elixir was going to help me overcome my fears, my oh my, as i write this i feel as if am uncovering secrets that destroy thousands of peoples lives every year, alcohol is a poison, and for me was being used as a crutch, one i was able to control, but a crutch nonetheless.
i had drunk almost half the bottle as george caught me, and i rescinded back into childhood and the feeling of being caught doing a wrong.
'sorry george, i'll be there now'.
i carried my security blanket with me, and for some reason decided to tell my audience of this, in what i now see as i cry for help, don't judge me, i'm scared, don't hurt me i'm scared, i have fear of you judging me, i'm scared.
as i type this, it feels cathartic, the judgement thing is something that aimee bateman, one of my audience that day talks about in her tedx talk, and i urge you to watch it, it is very honest, and has touched me in a way that i am able to look a little deeper at myself, and hopefully can reduce the fear of being judged on any stage, whether it is covered in ice or baize.
pretty cool huh?
i have lots of work to do on me, but i love making improvements, so watch this space, the only thing i'm sure of is i won't give up.
and not giving up is a theme, which brings me nicely to this weekend, and the cardiff half marathon.
some months ago i was inspired by donna clark, mum of eighteen year old emily, who we first met during her battle to beat cancer, which she is so winning by the way, go on em!!!
donna's decision to run the cardiff half marathon has had the effect of bigmoose now having close to thirty runners wearing our sexy orange bigmoose running shirts and vests, and converging on the welsh principality this weekend from various parts of the uk, and if you see us at any time it is perfunctory to shout 'moose moose moose' as we pass :) (it's the law)
this whole bigmoose journey, inspired by my mucka pegging it, is quite surreal, and causes me often to smile whilst looking up, i hope he is proud of how his passing too early is now inspiring others to live every day to the max.
this leads me on to my final story this week, which is very sad, but extremely poignant, and i hope you can draw some inspiration from it.
my buddy kris king, who i have given many lines of prose to on this blog in the past, as you will know recently ran up mount kilimanjaro chasing the british speed ascent record.
if you followed his story closely you will know that whilst on the mountain there was a death, when somebody a day ahead of chris was killed by a falling rock, which was to expose kinger to the true danger of this challenge, and as i have experienced death on mountains myself, i know the emotions that course through your veins when this happens in such close proximity.
this sad event affected kris, understandably, but it was only this week that i received a message from him saying 'i just found out the guy who died on kili was scott dinsmore'.
i had never heard of scott dinsmore, but when kris told me that he had followed him for years and idolised him, i set about finding out more.
scott dinsmore was a young man who was a very inspirational person with an amazing story, that has left me aghast.
i am sorry that it has been his death that has awoken me to his amazing ted talk, but i have attached it here, and i really would urge you to watch it at some time, it really might change your life, and this is possibly scott's legacy, and whilst sad for his passing, i hope that the good that comes from the awareness of his life can create some positivity, and i can only help manifest that in some small way.
shoot, this has been a rather intense blog today, i hope that along with the intensity, it has been worth reading, and hopefully watching aimee and scott, and somehow they have both touched you as they have touched me
scott dinsmore r.i.p. man