Have you ever taken a cold shower? I don’t mean this metaphorically–we’ve all stumbled into a surprise from time to time. I’m talking literally: Have you ever intentionally stepped into a spray of freezing cold water?
Last week my wife was due to travel for a few days, leaving my son and I alone for a spell. I got him dropped off at camp, went by the gym and put in some miles on the treadmill, then hustled home to grab a quick shower before Grizz Gaming scrimmages. I turned on the shower to let it warm up, then walked out and undressed and readied a towel. Before stepping in, I stuck a hand in, and was greeted with what felt like ice water. Huh.
Ten minutes later, after checking the water heater pilot light (out) and discovering I couldn’t get it re-lit, I knew it was a problem more complex than I could solve with my rudimentary home improvement skills. I also knew that I couldn’t go to Grizz Gaming practice smelling like I’d just left an actual basketball practice. There was only one option: I would have to take a cold shower.
As I did my best to pre-soap my body, I took a moment to try and convince myself that this was a good thing. I told myself that taking cold showers couldn’t be that bad. People camping and out in nature step into cold waterfalls all the time. Heck, it was (probably?) even good for me, as an anti-inflammatory recovery from my run.
I stepped in. The next few seconds were a blur. There was coldness everywhere, so much coldness, as if I was being subject to a Dementor attack. A high-pitched, involuntary howl erupted from somewhere deep inside my soul. While I fought to find a breath, I swifty scrubbed my hands all over my body, as much to help get the soap off as to try and force blood back into my trembling limbs.
It was horrible. I’m not sure I lasted even 20 seconds during that arctic flash. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I was reminded that the prime reason for this shower was fully practical: I needed to wash off the sweat and stank from my workout. I had no choice but to endure it. I needed it.
The last few weeks have felt almost like a cold shower in the middle of the 2K League season. Thus far, Grizz Gaming has played 18 of our 28 regular season games, and we’ve won exactly two-thirds of those games, giving us a record of 12-6. We played two games in a tournament on July 15, but since then we have been off, with our next regular season game coming later this week, on July 30.
Fifteen consecutive days off is a long, luxurious break, at least by 2K League standards. We could have easily taken advantage of this and tried to squeeze in some vacation time. But by the same token, while we were 12-6 overall, we had lost 7 of our last 10 games. Things were not trending the direction we wanted them to trend at this point in the season.
So while did we take consecutive weekend days off, which is rare for us, we otherwise worked just like normal. We met. We talked. We made adjustments. We watched film. We made changes. We scrimmaged. We scrimmaged again. And we scrimmaged again. And we scrimmaged again.
It felt, in many ways, like a blast of cold water. It was a rare chance for a re-set, right in the middle of the hustle of our season. It was, in some ways, strange, and pretty uncomfortable to be out of the rhythm we had established over the first few months of our season.
But before we jumped into it, I told myself it was good for us. It wasn’t fun, to just stay here and work, but it was something we needed to do.
I started this season using the word “Believe,” stolen shamelessly from Ted Lasso, and I was trying to get my guys to buy into each other and the team goals. And it’s worked! But now, we start the final sprint. Three weeks. Ten games. Handle our business, and we can make the playoffs.
There’s only one thing left to do.
Believe. In ourselves. In each other. In this team.