People all around the world use the New Year as an opportunity to set goals and aspirations for themselves. Lots of these center around our physical (exercise more), mental (slow down) and family (be nicer to siblings.) Sometimes we nail them, sometimes we don’t. The effectiveness of my own New Year’s resolutions is somewhat cloudy.
For me, the best goal I ever set was learning how to drive the Zamboni. For the uninitiated, the Zamboni is the machine that cleans the ice between the periods of a hockey game. For multitudes of kids lacing up to take the ice, this peculiar machine has a semi-hypnotic effect when the coach is urging you to shoot more, keep your feet moving or play the body. I would bet that 95% of all hockey players between the ages of 5 and 12 are usually thinking about the Zamboni instead of listening to the coach between periods. I certainly wasn’t listening to my coach. I was thinking about driving that magic bus.
Like so many things, we put our dreams on the shelf and never strive for them. When I became a Head of School, I had the chance to finally attain a goal that I had been dreaming of since my first Zamboni sighting in 1973. I remember plotting with Tim, our rink manager, on times when I could learn when no one else would be in the rink. He was patient with me and after a few attempts, I could “cut” a fairly good sheet of ice.
The first time I went public it was pretty stressful. I remember being nervous in front of the crowd and trying to remember to smile when concentrating on the complexities of operating the machine. But, in the end, I pulled it off and did it. I had the biggest smile on my face when I stepped off my first successful run.
It is hard to express how happy I felt having accomplished this dream. It’s not because I attained some lofty goal such as a seven-minute mile, meditation once a day or speaking with my brother once a week. It’s because I completed something I had been dreaming about for forty years.
Since my “Miracle on Ice”, my resolutions have focused on attaining some “soul” goals. Playing the ukulele, learning how to ice fish and cooking a killer prime rib are a few of them. They are small, but attaining them makes me mighty.
As we at Tilton School look to this New Year and think about our goals, I ask you to consider what your dreams are beyond the typical academic or health-related goals. I encourage you to think about one goal that will feed your soul, and urge you to go for it.