Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Another Nice hockey story...

This is a nice story that someone sent me in a email today. I thought it was worth reading, it's a nice story.

It's also, proof there are good parents teaching their kids life lessons as well.

My son plays on the Bantam A hockey team in East Grand Forks (one of his teammates is the younger brother of current NTDP U-17 team member and future Denver recruit Gage Ausmus). They battled through the MN State Bantam qualifying tournament in St. Cloud this past weekend. One of the highlights of the grueling weekend was the fact that not only was my son’s team in the tournament, but the East Grand Forks Bantam B team had also made it into the qualifying 

tournament and managed to play at the same time in the rink next door every game all weekend long. Sunday evening was the final game for both teams – if they lost they were done for the season, and if they won they were going on to State.

The A team played a good game but didn’t have too much trouble, winning 3-0. The B team on the other hand, fought a very tough battle, taking a 3-3 tie into first one overtime, then a second. Late in the period the action was in the opponent’s zone, and the other team managed to incur a minor penalty – tripping I believe. The ref threw up his arm, signaling the delayed penalty, but before the other team could regain possession the puck was put into the crease area and a desperate scramble ensued. 

The next thing we knew, the ref was signaling another infraction, this time with arms crossed and then pointing to center ice. PENALTY SHOT for our boys, called for covering the puck in the crease! Nerves were on fire as the young men – goalie and forward – lined up for the shot. The arena erupted in cheers when a deke was stopped by a good pad save, and overtime continued. The atmosphere was electric, and finally the East Grand Forks team got a solid shot during the power play and scored the game winning goal.

The winning team’s bench emptied in a wave of exuberance, as they always do in these kinds of games. We’ve all seen it a hundred times – the champions hog-pile each other while the other team collapses in sullen defeat. This was no exception, and the teams played their roles as they were supposed to do. The losing goalie lay face down in his crease, overcome with sadness. I watched from ice level in the corner of the rink, only a few feet from the distraught young man. As the winning team celebrated, their goalie separated himself from the pack and skated over to the other netminder. He gently patted him on the shoulder and helped the other player to his feet. The two shared a few words – I couldn’t hear anything over the noise but the emotions and message were clear: you played your heart out; you were a worthy opponent; keep your head up because you have nothing to be ashamed of. Instead of savoring the win, the victor shared the spoils as best he could, choosing to lift the spirits of his foe as best he could. Not because he was told to, or because it was expected, nor did he even consider if anyone else was watching. But I was. I knew I was witnessing the best moment I have ever seen in youth sports. I wish I could have that kind of heart every day. This 15 year old kid showed me the meaning of sportsmanship in a way that I never could have scripted.

Congratulations Connor Shea for being a fantastic human being. His parents are Chip and Kristen Shea and they deserve as much credit as anyone for raising a child who knows the meaning of respect.

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