If you ever visit us over on Stanley Cup of Motor Oil, you're likely familiar with our friend Paul Wheeler, aka FourthLineWIng, who's written some really cool pieces for us over there. Today on twitter, he posted this:
Seen a lot of talk about the "dark side of hockey" in relation to mental health recently. It's struck a chord.— Paul Wheeler (@fourthlinewing) September 22, 2014
In a personal post, Chasing Dragons relates how hockey can also save the lives of MH sufferers-including mine: http://t.co/AvpbLRfwFb— Paul Wheeler (@fourthlinewing) September 22, 2014
He then summed up his post (which is well worth a read) thusly:
"Basically - it MASSIVELY pisses me off that hockey is only presented as "bad" for mental health. Yes, MH issues do hurt, but Rick Rypien and his bravery in fighting so hard was an inspiration to me even if his story ended badly. It told me I wasn't alone. It told me it was OK to hurt. And it, & hockey since-the friends I've made, experience of watching games...that gives me a reason to keep fighting my demons. It gives me a reason to do something I love for the joy of doing it. Even when I'm in a hole, hockey reminds me there's beauty on earth."
That's awesome. So we got to chatting and thinking about it - about hockey in the context of life in general - and for me, and Paul, and so many other people on "hockey twitter" and the hockey fandom at large, this sport has really given so much to so many. From helping people claw their way through mental illness issues, to forming friendships across continents, to encouraging people to travel and learn about other places, to forming bonds that didn't previously exist with family members - it's incredible.
For me personally, hockey got me out of a weird place after college. All my friends had moved away, I had a journalism degree and no ideas as to where I wanted to go with it, and I felt pretty lost. Hockey gave me a group of friends, a direction, and it's now pretty much responsible for getting me to where I am in life right now. My friends, my job, my hobbies, writing for SCoC, obviously - I wouldn't have any of it if not for the 2008-2009 Bruins. And that's pretty meaningful.
So the #HockeyHasHelpedMe hashtag was born, and it's still going. I encourage you all to check it out, but here's ten or so of the highlights that particularly resonated with me.
#HockeyHasHelpedMe Stop moping about summer coming to an end. My garden may be fading, but hockey's almost here!— Ridley (@_Ridley_) September 22, 2014
#hockeyhashelpedme realise that I can do more with my life than I have been.— Kim McGreal (@CarolinaKaniac) September 22, 2014
#HockeyHasHelpedMe learn North American geography because without the old NHL divisions I hadn’t a sodding clue where anything was— Kerrie Sakura (@likecrazypaving) September 22, 2014
#hockeyhashelpedme to have a defining part of my relationship with my dad. He got me into it, and it is something we can always talk about— Catherine M. (@CMDragonia) September 22, 2014
#HockeyHasHelpedMe through depression, to find amazing friends around the world, put my writing skills to use & to travel to new places.— Melissa Kania (@melissakania) September 22, 2014
#HockeyHasHelpedMe by going me something I can talk about with people. When you are shy, and a little socially awkward, that's a big gift.— Nancy (@newf93) September 22, 2014
#HockeyHasHelpedMe get through Northern winters! It's better than a light box for seasonal affective disorder!— Jayelle (@GreenEyedLilo) September 22, 2014
#HockeyHasHelpedMe develop some awesome friendships, an extensive cursing vocabulary, a sweaty UnderArmor fetish and probably an ulcer.— Jess (@glitter4goals) September 22, 2014
#HockeyHasHelpedMe deal with my dad's passing, which was easily the worst time in my life. The Oilers' Cup run in 2006 was perfectly timed.— Doogie (@doogie2k) September 22, 2014
#hockeyhashelpedme in so many ways that 140 characters just isn't going to cut it. #witheverything— Cassie McClellan (@dagmar27) September 22, 2014
#HockeyHasHelpedMe find myself, a community, and the man I'm going to marry.— Adam K. (@adamkno) September 22, 2014
So yeah, maybe you don't twitter. Maybe 140 characters isn't enough. Talk about it in the comments. Our sport is almost back! Has hockey had a particularly awesome effect on your life?