Monday, November 1, 2010
"Dad, do you think I can ever play in the NHL?"
An innocent question full of hopes and dreams, asked by a wide eyed and hopeful young boy.
Dreams of one day skating down the ice, carrying the puck and hearing the cheers of the crowd.
Every parent of a child that has been involved in sports has had to address that question, a question that is framed with hope and desire and under-girded with countless hours of practice at the rink, on the field, or on the court. Will I make it to the top of my sport?
Those that achieve the pinnacle of their chosen sport acknowledge the sacrifice that they have made in the hours of practice, training, sweat, and pain. Those that are realistic also acknowledge the sacrifice of parents that purchase equipment, shuttle them and their teammates to practice and games, and spend countless hours cheering them on.
Whether or not a child makes it to the pros, they first have to have to opportunity to participate in their sport. That participation is easier in some sports. There is less equipment that has to be purchased to compete in basketball than hockey. Courts and football fields are easier to find and use than a hockey rink. The cost to compete in some sports, like hockey, can be prohibitive.
Which is why the involvement and investment of the Nashville Predators in youth hockey is so vital.
Dreams are just dreams without the opportunity to come to fruition.
The Predators have provided a solid foundation for more children in this area to get involved in hockey. It is not just involvement, but the launching of young children on the journey to pursue their dream.
Their investment in youth hockey is not just about sticks and gloves and pucks. It is about providing the tools to pursue a dream. It is about providing opportunity.
As an organization- from the GM, the coaches, and the players- the Predators have always made children feel welcome and important. They have always been involved with children in our community, both on the rink and off. Now, this organization is putting in place the groundwork for dreams to be pursued. By providing financial support- sizable financial support- the Predators have opened the door for children in this community to participate in this beautiful game and cultivate their dreams.
Dad, do you think I can ever play in the NHL?"
That question was asked by my wide eyed son just before he stepped on the ice as the Predators "Blueliner of the Game" in their contest with the Washington Capitals.
As I watched him on the ice, that question rolled around in my mind.
I don't know if you will make it to the NHL, Matt. It takes a lot of hard work along with a healthy dose of God given talent. Keep chasing your dream and it may happen.
But I do know this.
You will have the opportunity.
*In the picture at the top, my son is the second one in from the left standing on the blueline. Photo courtesy of Jeremy K. Gover