Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Often times when I write this column I find myself wondering why I write. I suppose we all run into these periods in life, when we question just why we are doing what we are doing.

If you are like me and involved in architecture you find yourself asking this question frequently, especially during conversations with people who find what you do to be amazing. “If they only knew…”

Architecture, more often than not is long, aggravating periods of wanting the work to come to an end, all while accepting that being overwhelmed with work in this day and age is probably a good thing.

It is times like this when I think of what life is like for players who spend their careers bumping around on the third and fourth lines on various hockey teams, like drafters in a design profession. Those vagabonds. These grinders. These people who sacrifice their bodies day in and day out for the glory of five minutes of rigor and violence.

Occasionally a goal is scored. Occasionally a fight is won. But mostly it seems to involve long periods of waiting for action. Like soldiers on the front line who expend much of their energy simply fighting off hours boredom while pining for brief moments of adrenaline. There is something infinitely interesting about that tension. It is tangible and palpable.

Much is made of the architects of the game, and of the beauty and precision with which they work. These are the lucky few, these people of worship. Lamentably they aren’t the people with whom I can always relate.

To me grinders are the players who bring character to the game. They are the plumbers and welders of the sport. If given a choice I’d like to think that I would hang out with Ian Laperriere instead of Joe Sakic, if only because he might have something interesting to say without becoming sickened from the regurgitation of experience and repetitive questioning.

So on days like this when I’ve been worn down from another day of doing a job that everyone else thinks they want to do, I like to take a break from questioning my motivation and think of those who are simply happy to be “there”. Those people who are the willing grinders in life, who know there is something bigger and better, yet are just as happy to accept a beer and fill your ears with tales of battle instead.