AW

INTENSITY!

In Family, Inspiration and Motivation, Life Lessons, Pursuit of Happiness on January 16, 2010 at 4:32 pm

Frenzied crowd…electric atmosphere…cowbells…air horns…a chill in the air…the puck drops…13 seconds…a punch to the jaw…the enforcer sets the tone…penalty…20 seconds…power play goal!

Sound like a description to an NHL playoff game?  It’s not.  Just a regular season game in the CHL (Central Hockey League), where the players make a lot less money, but play with a lot more intensity as they feed off of the energy of the crowd.  Last night’s game was a sellout for the defending league champion Texas Brahmas (total attendance – 2369 people).  Not just any people.  Diehard, passionate, screaming fans!  A huge contrast from the NHL, where tickets are so expensive that many season ticket holders are corporations, and many people attending the games are corporate clients – not fans who cheer with primal intensity.

The enforcer returns…mayhem ensues…fists of rage extract a pound flesh…a blood-soaked neck…the crowd is electrified!

The players in this league play each game like it is their last.  The young players are scratching and clawing to get their shot in the NHL.  The older players, like the Brahmas newly-acquired enforcer, Nathan Perrot, play for the love of the game, not just the money (Perrot has spent about a third of his 14-year professional hockey career in the NHL).  The crowd energizes the players.  The players energize the crowd by sacrificing their bodies with reckless abandon and sheer determination.  There are no dull moments in the game.  The pace is fast.  The timeouts are few and far between.  The action is pure.

Last week, my son and I went to see the Islanders play against the Dallas Stars.  We’ve been going ever since he was three years old.  It’s our tradition – our bond.  We traveled further to see the game.  We paid more for everything (tickets, parking, food, drink).  The Islanders lost, but that wasn’t the most disappointing part of the game.  The quiet crowd was.  I’m not exaggerating when I say that I could have easily read a book during the game with very little disturbance.  More money, more people, more prestige, a gigantic arena and a fraction of the excitement that we felt at the Brahmas game.

A power play goal for the home team…tie score…another power play goal…Brahmas lead….another goal…the lead grows…the final period starts…another Brahmas goal…the game seems out of reach!

When the Brahmas took a 3-goal lead early in the final period, it seemed like a sure victory.  The visitors hadn’t scored since the first minute of the game.  But this is a game of intensity.  There was no quit in the visiting team when they got down.

A controversial goal…the lead shrinks…another goal for the visitors…the game is within reach…the play of both teams intensifies!

With a 1-goal lead, the visitors had hope.  The Brahmas had cause for concern, but they kept battling as the momentum shifted away from them.  Sitting in the second row, we were experiencing it all.  The pucks hitting the boards in front of us so hard that we could feel the vibrations.  The pucks hitting the plexiglass in front of our eyes made us blink and flinch involuntarily.  When the players were checked into the boards in front of us, it felt like they would come through the glass and land in our laps, causing us to instinctually retreat in our seats.  Both teams were hungry for the victory.

The clock winding down…second-by-second…a palpable tension…a chance for the visitors…the defenseman sacrifices his body…a loose puck…a Brahma dives face first to poke it away…an unlikely penalty as seconds remained…extra skaters for the visitors…the lead hangs by a thread…seconds feel like minutes…another diving stop…time runs out…VICTORY AT LAST!

Life lessons are everywhere if you are open to learning them.  As I continue on my self-improvement journey, I will aim do so with the intensity that I experienced at a minor league hockey game – where complacency is simply not an option!

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  1. Love it!!!!!!!!! As a hockey mom I have to tell you that I loved every bit of this. Sure…my son has a lot of years ahead of him and I can only dream that he’ll make it to ANY kind of hockey career, but you are right about how intense these minor leagues play! GRITTY! We go to a lot of ARMY games since we live so close to West Point and those are pretty awesome (and cheap) as well.
    Have to say though..there is no where like the Garden though for a game (guess the coliseum is a close second), but we went to a Devils game lat year and we couldn’t believe HOW QUIET the stadium was…you could fall asleep in there!
    Enjoying your blog immensely…you cover so many different topics and cover them all so well!

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