Game Day

Stanley Cup Playoffs round 1. Game 7. Sudden death overtime.  An unbelievable amount of pressure upon both hockey teams.  It was not about individual superstars. It was about the team coming together for one common goal. For the Canucks, after losing games 4, 5, and 6…they just had to come out of that adversity as a stronger, more focused team. And they did.

I feel twitchy as I write this, the anticipation of what is to come is heavy. Game day approaches. Again.

Ryan Kesler said it best in his post game 7 interview :

“I never wanted something as bad as wanting this game.
Everybody in that room wanted it just as bad as I did.
We play for each other in that room.
We really care about each other, and that’s what it’s all about.”

When I think of great teams playing at the top of their game, it’s not only the Canucks that come to mind. Skeleton racing may be an individual sport, but it is ‘the team effort’, said Canada’s 2010 Gold medalist for Skeleton, Jon Montgomery, ‘that makes the difference’.  I had the privilege of hearing Jon speak at a business engagement. What a character! I was taken by his astuteness and insight into the psychology of a leader.

Below are some notes of wisdom from Jon Montgomery:

-Self efficacy wins the day

-Have control over your attitude

-Be able to see that it’s not just about yourself

-Embody team spirit. Always.

-Things are only out of reach if you put them there

-Compare notes with your peers (sharing from peers expedited their rate of learning and paid off in dividends)

-Your only choice in life is how you choose to handle situations

Through adversity, real teams survive. They have gaman. (the Japanese term of zen buddhist origin, meaning to do one’s best in distressed times, maintaining self control and discipline.)  United teams have the hallmarks of champions.  Maybe, just maybe, The Cup will be ours this year. To our dear Canucks, in the words of Jon Montgomery, ‘…center the scope of your vision and execute plan.’

May we all have our game day too. (more than once)

~ Sarah McNeill


One response to “Game Day

  1. This was an incredibly moving and insightful piece – thank you for writing it! I sat with my kids, transfixed on Tuesday night; riveted to the television screen at a local restaurant in North Vancouver. Everyone in the place was on the edge of their seat, willing with every fibre of their being that our team – our city/province/country would be victorious. I couldn’t help but wonder what the energy inside BC Place was like at that very moment and how this same unified feeling was at that very moment a palpable electric current running throughout the city and beyond. It was an exhillirating experience – not just because we won, but because of that unified connection.
    – Kim
    p.s. I will repeat that quote on things being out of reach with my children tonight. It’s beautiful, succinct and true.

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