Ceramics, Hockey, and the Subject of Regret | Teen Ink

Ceramics, Hockey, and the Subject of Regret

July 18, 2015
By N.R.Anon PLATINUM, Ayer, Massachusetts
N.R.Anon PLATINUM, Ayer, Massachusetts
21 articles 0 photos 7 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Don't be like so many writers, don't be like so many thousands of people who call themselves writers." (Charles Bukowski, So You Want to be a Writer)

Regret is a funny thing. A year or two ago, I was talking with this guy from my school's hockey team in my ceramics class (neither one of us wanted to be there) and we were brainstorming ideas about how to get out of the class without our instructor noticing. The plan was to forge a hall pass, sneak out through the art closet’s back door and hide out in the library until the bell rang. It was a good plan, but neither one of us particularly wanted to get on this teacher’s bad side, so we were just planning our escape for the sheer delight that came with feeling like we could come so close to breaking the school rules, even though we never did. Now, you’re probably wondering what all this has to do with regret. Well, hang on. I’m getting to that.

While we were sitting at our assigned table I decided to have a little fun. I looked around suspiciously, before leaning over the table and stating, very seriously, that I was considering breaking out of the art room and going down and taking a nap in the auditorium, but that I didn’t think I’d be able to forge a pass well enough. Of course, I was kidding, and we both knew that we were stuck there until the end of the period. That couldn’t stop us from joking around, and that was exactly what I was doing. He looked at me and laughed, getting the correct feeling that I wasn’t serious in the slightest.

“Yeah, well…You miss a hundred percent of the shots you don’t take,” He said simply as if it was nothing, before going back to sculpting what would later turn out to be a very poor, rectangular likeness of a Rubix Cube. We didn’t talk much for the rest of the class.

I don’t know why, but that quote made me think. The quote, I later learned, is by Wayne Gretzky, a retired Canadian ice hockey player, and although I don’t play hockey (or even watch it), I will probably remember that quote for the rest of my life.

Regret, right. This was supposed to be about regret.

No one wants to regret anything, really. I suppose, in the long run, regret really sticks with you. The constant questions of “what if?” What if I’d stayed at that party five minutes longer? What if I’d gone on that second date? What if I’d never posted that on Facebook? No one wants to be continually questioning themselves; I know I don’t. And that quote, that quote explains that perfectly.

Imagine you're in a hocky game, and you have…say, a hundred shots. And you hold onto all of them, waiting for that perfect moment, expecting but never acting; at the end of the game you’re left with all your shots but nothing else. It’s the same with life. We’re given our entire lives to live, and there’s so much we could do- and yet so many people limit themselves to doing so little. We have these short little lives on this earth, and we’re given our shots to make the most of what we have. So many people waste so much time on just waiting for their perfect moment, when in reality, perfection might not be what they’re wanting. Everyone wants to look back on their lives and feel that they’ve done something meaningful, but in order to do that, they have to take some shots. Sure, you might miss a few. You might even fail horribly. Or, you could succeed. In the end, it doesn’t matter how many shots you had, but what you did with them.

Funny, how such deep, philosophical concepts can arise from a spur-of-the-moment conversation about skipping class…But hey, you miss a hundred percent of the shots you don’t take. (Although I don’t think Wayne Gretzky was referring to skipping your ceramics class when he said that.)

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