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Testing…Testing… January 30, 2009

Posted by CapitalSpirit in Uncategorized.

One thing which always plagued me back in my college days was a really bad case of test anxiety. No matter how well I knew the material, I would always get antsy when test time came. Some of that was a good thing–it kept me on my toes and helped me do my very best–but in hindsight, I don’t think it was entirely beneficial to be a basket case on every single test.

Now, I know that’s a head-scratcher when you consider that I did so well at my community college that I ended up getting an academic scholarship to Towson (which I hadn’t even thought to ask for, but that’s a whole other story). And, OK, I graduated from Towson summa cum laude, so it’s not like it was bad for my results there, either.

Still, I think I might have actually had some fun in college if I weren’t constantly sweating over my next test, my next paper, my next presentation. I might be able to look back on my college days and say I had more fun than I did. As is, what I remember more than anything else is the academics, and not much else. (Not that there WAS much else, but that, too, is a whole other story.)

Here’s what I’m getting at. Perhaps if I hadn’t been so uptight about needing to get every next thing perfect, I might have been better able to simply enjoy the experience of being an undergraduate. You have to be able to be in this moment, and this one, and this–you can’t always have your mind twenty miles down the road, lest you miss the LEFT EXIT 1 MILE.

When they interviewed me for Red Line Monday, one question they asked was, Where do you see yourself in ten years? I hope this one ends up on the cutting room floor, because my answer was that I’m not thinking that far ahead. I believe God will see to it that I’m where I’m needed, when I’m needed, and I trust His plan for my life, no matter how many windows He has to open when different doors close.

I wasn’t thinking that way in college. I was thinking, “Oh, my gosh, if I don’t ace this test, I won’t be able to get a good job after I graduate.” Yes, I really did put that much pressure on myself for every single test.

I almost always did well on my tests, but I never once liked taking them.

This weekend is a test for the Capitals. We’re hosting the defending Stanley Cup champions tomorrow, and then coming right back the next day to look for some payback against the Ottawa Senators. How we do against the Wings will be a very good barometer of how we’ll do down the stretch and into April and (I hope) May and June.

So I hope that the players don’t get the same test anxiety that I did in college. On the one hand, it’s certainly worthwhile to be prepared for the test, and performing at a high level. It’s quite another to be going, “OH NOES! DEFENDING CUP CHAMPION! MASS HYSTERIA! SEASON OVER IF WE LOSE!” Preparation is desirable; overanxiety is not. This should be basic stuff, but sometimes the basics need to be re-stressed.

Enjoy the Now, guys. You’re hosting the defending Stanley Cup champions in front of a sold-out home arena. Win or lose, it’s sure to be a great game. So while you’re out there beating the stuffing out of the Red Wings, make sure you soak it all in. Games like this don’t happen often during the regular season.

As for the Senators, well, if you didn’t enjoy the All-Star break because you left for it on a losing note, here’s your shot at redemption.

Two games, two days, two wins. That is the test before you, gentlemen. Do your best, and Godspeed.




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