Learning to Forget

Vancouver Canucks v Florida Panthers

It is a difficult thing to get over discouragement and anger. Seneca, the Roman statesman, spent his life trying to find ways to avoid becoming too angry and bitter. He noticed that our anger invariably lasts longer than the damage done to us. He thought we were fools to allow our tranquility and composure to be disrupted by minor set-backs. It is important, he said, to realize that many of the things we think are important short-term in fact are not, at least not in the grand scheme of things. So anytime we feel ourselves getting too angry or bitter about something, we should pause to consider its overall insignificance – something which helps us to nip our discouragement in the bud.

The Canucks have mastered this ability – an ability all elite teams, whatever sport they belong to, have.

Even when they lose a game, and lose it badly, there are rarely any residual effects to be seen the next game around. They seem to play entirely unmindful of the past, oblivious of their previous discouraged state. This is in stark contrast to inferior teams, where you can just see their past returning, haunting them like ghosts, disturbing the calm of that later moment.

Elite teams have this ability to strike a healthy balance between both actively forgetting past disappointments and taking and using what is advantageous from the past. The Canucks seem to be doing just this. They seem to remember just enough to learn from their mistakes but not enough to be weighed down by them in the future.

It is a promising ability, especially come playoff time.