It is the time for the NHL playoffs. The best teams with the best records after long seasons are battling head to head to win the ultimate prize. The entire team is focused on achievements, stamina and playing their game in order to advance. This is an exciting time for these teams and their fans!
I developed my love for hockey from my good friend who lived in New Jersey and loved hockey. She explained the game, the strategy and taught me the love of hockey. She always said: “It is on frozen water so you will love it.” She knew my passion for the water and racing sailboats. This same friend took me to the first Lightning game in St. Petersburg and was sure to get a puck for me. Being from Tampa Bay, I am thrilled that the Lightning are performing well. I remember when they won the Stanley Cup in 2004. The town was electric and there was an excitement that differed from other years.
Sports and sporting events offer a rich tapestry of example and lessons for the participants as well as the fans and the communities at large. My athletic excellence has been and continues to be in sailboat racing. It is a dangerous sport that is very different than a lazy sail on a lake some people imagine. Going to sea for days at a time on a 30 foot boat taught me a value and importance of team work as well as proper planning and execution of the plan. Racing sailboats since I was in grade school, my daily actions were focused on my sport and excelling in the competition. At the time, I was the only female in an all-male sport with the exception of my mother who was brilliant with navigation. On the boat, everyone has a position to fill and we all must work together. Mistakes, miscues and not paying attention could yield in poor performance or personal injury. Imagine a team of 8 people on a racing sailboat that is 30 feet long and 10 feet wide at its beam (the widest place). This small island is where the precision of aerodynamics, hydrodynamics, tactics and team work come together for victory or not. I had to learn the boat and be able to adjust for the conditions that changed often. I learned to race before electronics and some of the modern conveniences. This has made my skill level more acute than those who have learned with the modern conveniences of technology. Recently a friend’s boat had to self-disqualify because the person on watch did not know how to use the electronics and failed to call a team member for help, resulting in missing a mark of the course. This error in judgment cost them the race.
Gifted people thrive and excel in competition. The focus, drive and ability within the sport are evident. Hockey players’ working together for a shot is a beautiful, precise dance that has intensity and focus. We are the team players in our playoff run. Are you focused and driven? Are you maintaining the best mindset for the victory? How are you supporting and encouraging your fellow teammates? Do you respect the opposing team for their talents?
In team sports, it is the synergy and coming together of talent that makes a winning game. Being in the flow and experiencing the game in timeless fashion happens when there is surrender into the rhythm and purpose of the game. In those times, winning and losing take the back seat to the awesome experience. It is as if the players “know” what is happening before it actually happens and their flow appears seamless. As with the hockey players, the timing and skill of the sport is what makes for a great spectator experience as well as a great player experience.
May each member of each team and every fan celebrate teamwork, dedication and hard work as the NHL playoffs continue.