Game On
January 31, 2014

This column first appeared in the Jan 31 edition of the Friday AM in Salmon Arm, BC

For me, hockey is the ulimate game of collaboration. The blades with the ice, the puck with the stick, the players, the coaches, the trainers, the refs, the score keepers, the zamboni driver, the spectators, all playing with their own speed, skill and determination.
It’s the team effort that really matters. Were a roster made up of forward players only,  many goals would be scored but few games would be won. Something to think about. In fact, if our own lives were like a hockey team, couldn’t it be said that we tend to field rosters of players who play positions most like ours. Similar points of view, similar incomes, similar backgrounds, similar interests and professions. I think we’d field a much better team if we took more time to skate with those who play other positions. When, for example, was the last time you had a conversation with someone whose views you don’t share and whose circumstances you’ve never experienced. Wouldn’t it make for a better team overall? To reach out, to discuss and engage, to stick handle the issues and improve the game.
I think we could do a better job of team building by sharing our strategies for success, our game plans. Any team works better when everyone knows the plan for the win. What’s more, aren’t we all a bit guilty of focussing on the minutes of play rather than the hours of practice. Could we not do a better job of staying focussed on our winning strategies rather than our momentary distractions? Too often, the proverbial gloves are dropped and the war of words erupt. Most of those on ice scuffles could be avoided had we just stuck to our game plan in the first place. If you’re going to win the game, you have to know the rules. Sometimes you cross a line and the whistle blows. Ignore it at your peril. Make amends. Sit in the box and feel shame. It’s two minutes. With lessons learned, you’re back on the ice in no time.
My favourite part of any game is at the end when the players shake hands with their opponents and the referees. We don’t do that enough in life. Not nearly enough. I can think of many situations where a good hand shake at the end of a challenging contest would have left me feeling a great deal better about my play.
This is why Salmon Arm’s Hockeyville nomination is important to me. I’m not a player, nor am I a parent of children in minor hockey. But I like to think I’m part of Salmon Arm’s team. When I drive by the rink I’m always struck by how busy it is. It’s a community centre. A place, unlike work or even school, where people want to be. Not where people have to be. And that’s why it’s so meaningful. So lace up and skate on over to, join the Shaw Centre community and tell a story about Salmon Arm’s 110% game-winning attitude. Your team needs you.