"Embrace the Suck"

Last week I heard an interview with Brad Frost, coach of the University of Minnesota Gopher women’s hockey team. The interviewer asked Frost about the challenges the team faced scoring against a certain goalie. Frost responded, “It’s been tough but we keep telling the team to ‘embrace the suck’ of the bruises, hits and near misses. It’s part of the game.”


For a week now, that phrase, “embrace the suck,” has kept surfacing in my thoughts. I keep wondering about whether or not I have been embracing the suck, or just moaning about it. If I truly embraced the suck, what could be different?

Maybe I would really look forward to getting up every day. I could stop dreading certain tasks or putting my energy on hold waiting only for fun things to come along. Maybe if I embraced the suckiness of more things I might actually find something worthwhile in the suck?

When I think of embracing the suck, memories of my dad’s last couple of years surface. When his short-term memory deteriorated, it was truly sucky to realize that when I visited him he often would not know who I was. But by embracing him (literally) and going with him to his memories of his past, I found a sense of connection and peace that I might have otherwise missed.

It’s hard to embrace the suck because it requires a change in mindset. You have to let go of your expectations and pay enough attention to the suck to find what’s worthwhile for you in that place. As Coach Frost said, suck is part of the game. It’s part of everyday life.

If I hadn’t embraced the suck of my dad’s dying, I would have missed the joy of being part of this process with him in such a personal way. It was so worth it.

Hmm…so in our future interactions, please understand when, instead of telling you to have a great day, I tell you to embrace the suck in your day.