Change It Up: A Lesson from the Mighty Ducks

Growing up, one of my favorite movies series was “D2: The Mighty Ducks.” No it was not because of hockey. Honestly, I watched more hockey in that movie series than in real games. I loved the films because of the plot and attitude of the characters. The coach, Gordon Bombay, had gone through physical and mental struggles in life and was no longer able to play hockey himself. In essence, he lost a part of his identity when he lost the ability to play hockey. He was locked out of his greatest passion in life.

Later on in the film, Bombay was not on the bench to coach the Mighty Ducks due to an internal struggle where he questioned his desire to continue coaching. The tutor/teacher of the players, Ms. McKay, was asked on the spot to fill in. She would confess that her knowledge of hockey was next to nothing, but the players had to have a “coach” on the bench to keep from forfeiting the game. She agreed to fill in.

The plan was simple. She would serve as the coach in body only, but the players would effectively coach themselves. Early in the first period, the players on the ice were showing signs of exhaustion. Due to her lack of hockey knowledge, Ms. McKay struggled to find the right jargon to get new players on the ice.

Charlie, one of the star players, gave her a quick lesson on what to say. She found her inner coach and yelled at the top of her lungs, "Change it up!" New players rushed on the ice, and the exhausted players found their way to the bench for a much-needed rest.

Sometimes, I think this is what we need someone to do for us. Someone to tell us to take a break and refocus on the goal at hand.

In the same way, we might find ourselves in the situation like coach Bombay. The thing we thought we were most passionate about might be leading us to a burnout. Just like he did, we should take a timeout and refocus our priorities.

It is easy to get burnt out and only run on fumes. But honestly how effective are you when this is happening?

Take some time off to gather your thoughts. Determine if what you are doing is in the best interest for yourself and your family. If not, find a new direction.

In the third period of the game, Coach Bombay returns to coach the team with a rejuvenated spirit and added energy. His time off to refocus helped lead the Ducks to victory.

Bryan Clifton

Oklahoma City, OK