The Pregame Butterflies

No matter what your sport or age, everyone can relate to a case of the game-day butterflies! 

Giddy With Euphoria

What I’m referring to is that feeling I get the day of a game. It usually starts in the morning with a passing thought or two about the event to come. But as the day progresses, the excitement builds until I’m walking on a cloud, almost giddy with euphoria. As strange as it might seem, I actually consider it a privilege to be able to play a sport, in my case hockey, well into my 50s.

On the way home from work, my mind wanders to thoughts of who we’ll be facing (Will we have a chance of winning? Do we have enough players?) and how I’m feeling (Do I feel up to playing? Am I rested enough?). When I arrive home, the excitement intensifies, resulting in a flurry of activity once I walk through the door. “Gotta eat, fast!” I tell my wife. The butterfly feeling reaches a fever pitch as I gather my uniform, followed by my contact lenses (I can’t stand wearing glasses when I play sports), which for sanitary reasons I prefer to insert at home rather than at the arena, fill my water bottle and run off.

hockey arena ready for a game

Ecstatic To Be a Part of It

I load up the car and hook up my music player to the stereo system, and select the pregame playlist I so carefully compiled. Once on the road, with the music pumping, I can hardly contain my excitement. I arrive at the arena and greet my teammates, ecstatic to be a part of it all. Each time I play, I hope to channel all that pregame excitement into the game, where every shift I take can be productive.

When I am lucky enough to make it to the championships or compete in a tournament, those butterflies send me soaring through the roof!

Will I ever get over this childish excitement I experience before a game? I hope not!

Warren Tabachnick plays in two recreational ice hockey leagues, year round. Published by permission of—Where Rec Hockey Lives. © 2014 Digital Media Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.

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