21st Century Dad
One Dad's Thoughts, Ideas, and Feelings.
This is The Header Then

Lessons From The Stanley Cup Playoffs

June 5th, 2008 . by 21st Century Dad

Detroit RedWings - 2008 Stanley Cup Champions


Congratuations to the Detroit Red Wings – 2008 Stanley Cup Champions

2 grueling months of playoff hockey concluded last night with a thrilling 3-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. I haven’t been watching the games, but when Lord Stanley’s Cup is in the building, I am parked in front of the TV.

I have always watched in awe as these superb athletes fought the fight of their lives. These guys play an extremely physical sport while nursing injuries that have left me bed-ridden for days. Every year, I think of the adversities I have faced, and watching hockey inspires me to power through them, regardless of how beaten down I feel.

I am not Dr. Wayne Dollar Dyer or Deep-pocket Deepak Chopra, but today’s post is about personal development and triumph over adversity. As a long-time hockey fan, I have learned much about life by following this sport. As a parent, these lessons have taken on new meanings.

The Stanley CupFinding The Strength Within

In the quest for the Cup, players and staff make many great sacrifices. Over 4 playoff rounds, the eventual champions can play as many as 28 games every other night for 2 months. With each series going a potential 7 games, that’s a grueling travel schedule. As a parent, the time away from family is the sacrifice that resonates with me the most.

In all sports, and especially hockey, players play through pain. Injuries that may have sidelined them during the regular season are dismissed as inconveniences during the playoffs. Bruises, cuts, sprains, and even broken bones are ignored on the quest for the Cup.

  • Penguins forward Ryan Malone suffered a broken nose earlier in the playoffs. In game 5, his nose was broken again. Instead of sitting out the rest of the game, he continued to play.
  • Sidney Crosby played the series with injuries to his ribs and groin.
  • In game 5, Defenseman Sergei Gonchar slammed head first into the end boards and back spasms resulted. He sat out for most of the game, only to return in the last minute to assist on the tying goal, sending the game into overtime.
  • Detroit forward Dan Cleary took a skate to the mouth. He was bleeding profusely, but got back up and finished his shift.
  • In 1999, Dallas Stars captain Mike Modano played with a broken wrist
  • In 1964, Toronto Maple Leafs forward Bobby Baun suffered a broken ankle. He later returned to score the winning goal in overtime.

As parents, we are on call 24/7. This is especially true when you have a newborn. Even as our children get older, we aren’t given any relief. Whether you’re exhausted or just don’t feel like it, you must find the strength within to provide for your child. When the family needs you, there is no room for absenteeism.

Believe In Youth

From an early age, hockey experts predicted that Sidney Crosby would be the next superstar. The experts were right. He’s not even old enough to buy a beer, yet he is already one of the elite players in the league, if not the best player. In the future, his name will be mentioned in debates about who is the best player of all time.

Experts aren’t always right, and they are most often wrong. Players deemed to have the best potential are drafted early, but many do not even skate in one single NHL game. Other players are taken in later rounds, but develop into superstars. The RedWings roster is full of players who weren’t viewed as potential superstars, but became integral parts of all 4 championship teams.

My stepson has his shortcomings, and at times, they are maddening. However, he is a valued member of the household team, and he had made so many strides toward maturity and adulthood. I’m not just talking about hair in places he never had it. He’s only 14, and we often forget that at 14, he doesn’t have the same wisdom that us adults do, no matter how much he tries to tell us otherwise.

Based on Au-Teen’s grades, you might think he wouldn’t amount to much. However, you spend some time getting to know him and you’ll find an extremely intelligent young man with keen insights beyond his years. If future leaders and high performers were being selected right now from the ranks of teenagers, he will most likely be passed over based on academics. I have faith that he will overcome any deficiencies, and become an exceptional adult.

The Long and Winding Road to Success

Mike Illitch, owner of the Detroit Red Wings did not realize success overnight, nor did it take the path he originally envisioned. A knee injury ended his baseball career, so he went into the pizza business. He opened Little Ceasar’s Pizza in Garden City, Michigan in 1959. In 1982, he purchased the Detroit Red Wings. 15 years later, the Red Wings won the first of 4 Stanley Cups.

Illitch didn’t go to college, and I didn’t finish. I strayed from the path that was prescribed for me. Just because I strayed from that path doesn’t mean I haven’t been successful. Opportunities I envisioned didn’t materialize, but opportunities I didn’t envision came to fruition. Parenting is also a journey that takes unexpected turns. The hope you must maintain is that you will have raised your children well.

Subscribe to my RSS Feed!

Subscribe in a reader

Subscribe to 21st Century Dad by Email

One Response to “Lessons From The Stanley Cup Playoffs”

  1. comment number 1 by: Dad of Divas

    Great thoughts. The Red Wings are a great team for so many reason that you so eloquently mention. I love your tying this all together to parenting!

Join the Discussion! Leave a Reply:


Mail (never published)