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  • Writer's pictureMind to Performance

Brookes' Mindset Journey - Chapter 1: Tryouts

Updated: Apr 23, 2021

Brookes had looked forward to tomorrow for the last…well for as long as he could remember. For tomorrow was the day that he could finally show the Varsity coaches what he was made of. Ever since his older sister had made Varsity as a Freshman four years prior, Brookes had made it his mission to not only follow in her footsteps, but to put on an even more impressive show at tryouts. Before turning in for the night, he made sure his skates still had a perfect edge, his stick was taped exactly to his liking, and his gear was packed and ready to go by the front door.

Everything was perfect; well almost everything. Brookes did have a math test in the afternoon that he didn’t exactly feel confident about. School wasn’t difficult per se, but it did require more focus than Brookes cared to give it…especially when hockey was his all-consuming passion. And honestly, with the most important tryouts of his life tomorrow, spending his Sunday reviewing equation after equation was the last thing on his mind. But as he closed his eyes for the night, he felt a butterfly or two deep in his belly. Must be pre-tryout nerves. It has to be.

Brookes’ alarm yanked him out of his slumbered thoughts. Why on earth did he feel so exhausted? Sitting up in bed, Brookes scratched the crusties from his eyes; fragments of his sleepless night bombarded his consciousness. Man, he hadn’t had a rough night like that in a while. No time to reflect, he had to get ready for the day and ensure he didn’t miss the bus. If he missed the bus again this semester, his lack of sleep would be the least of his worries. Brookes hated disappointing his mom and knew that missing the bus would put a strain on her busy day.

A quick rinse in the shower and a pop tart later, Brookes joined his friend Jessie in the back of the bus. He triple checked that he had all of his hockey gear and tried to give Jessie his attention as she regaled him with her eventful weekend with her parents camping up north. Jessie was an only child and enjoyed a frustratingly close relationship with her parents. They were truly three peas in a pod and Brookes had to remind himself often to not become resentful. As he nodded along to her campfire story, his attention drifted to what his sister might have been thinking on her way to school four years ago.

By lunchtime, Brookes’ nerves had had ample time to wake up and let him know that they were more than aware he not only had the most important skate of his life in a few hours, but also that his last hour was math. He really should have looked over that study guide. The next few classes whizzed by and before he knew it, Brookes was staring at an equation he swore he’d never seen before. He skipped it and moved on, but the further along he went, the more he could feel sweat forming on his brow. He couldn’t be alone, yet as he glanced around the room, the sound of pencils rapidly scratching paper was the only thing that greeted him. Oh no… he screwed up.

By the time Brookes was lacing up in the locker room, he was acutely aware that he was not feeling himself. He just couldn’t get that math test out of his head. That abysmal, sinking feeling in his stomach made him all too aware that he had seriously blown it. He felt so stupid; not for getting stumped on any particular question, but for allowing himself to take the lazy route and skip studying. Brookes knew he was totally consumed with doing exceptionally well at this tryout, but lacked the foresight to realize dropping the ball in math may have actually impacted his hockey performance. If he could just forget math for the next two hours…

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