First of all a quick segue, let me just state that I’m not the kind of person to read autobiographies (or simply biographies). Why? I don’t know. Everyone has their genres they are naturally drawn into. Looking at my bookshelf right now, it falls in the ranges of photography, comics, general art, and sci-fi dystopian fiction.
As you can see, the majority involves pictures. I suppose that’s due to my career path. But to each their own.
I ride on the train to commute to work and there are times I am standing the entire 45-minute’ish ride. Drawing in my sketchbooks was usually my way to stay productive but lately, there’s been just a lot of standing. I have tried drawing while standing in a sardine-can-packed car. It’s not fun.
Reading though. I can read while standing.
With the start of hockey season, I figured it seemed right to pick up a hockey-related book, so to Amazon I went. And on Amazon, I ended up making a wishlist full of books because I couldn’t decide. Personally, I found it weird that they were autobiographies, biographies, and memoirs of the sort because again, don’t really read those kinds of books.
After a few more shitty train rides, I forced myself to make a decision.
This book won. I started reading it on my next train ride and I was hooked so much that I was scared of my missing my stop (which has happened a few times now -_-).
I don’t want to monologue about this book so much because I’d rather you actually read it so I’ll give you my brief thoughts.
It’s a very zero-to-hero underdog story—which is actually a theme I thoroughly like in its humblest form. In most cases, these themes are relatable to me because I get it. I get the whole feeling of just wanting to do something and working hard for it—all while being human, and staying true to yourself, as you attempt to keep a positive view while you walk down a difficult path.
The book puts reality into perspective for those who don’t necessarily pay attention to (or understand) what hockey players go through off-the-ice—the training, the coaches, the politics. Especially the politics. I really liked that. It was a very down-to-earth reminder that as an audience, yes, hockey or any sport for the matter, is entertainment itself, but the players we are watching were (and are still) incredibly hard-workers.
There’s a lot of emotional and mental strength that comes with the kinds of sacrifices they have had to make—or still make—to play in a hockey league, nonetheless the NHL and their affiliate AHL. Same with free agents and those who don’t necessarily have a home team.
John’s POV also touches on what he watched other players go through, shedding light on the internalization of issues ranging from depression and unfortunately, suicide, which has become a couple of the many things that have changed the on- and off-ice rules and regulations of hockey in just the past 15 years alone.
Nonetheless, this book shows that one can go through tedious and stressful work yet still be a light-hearted, humble, and overall good person and that what you do with your life is essentially a choice.