Posted 1:24 AM ET | Comments 4
I'm not 19. In fact I am MORE THAN TWICE that age.
When I was 19 I was in college.
I was trying to learn how to live on my own.
Trying to figure out if I had enough money to buy a pizza on a Saturday night.
Trying to stay out of trouble and keep my grades up.
Trying to decide what I wanted to do with my life.
Nobody followed me around with cameras.
Nobody asked me for my opinion about what I had to do to be a better student.
Nobody booed me when I walked into class.
And I liked it that way too...after all, I was just a kid.
I watched a kid play a hockey game today. A 19 year old who appears to have the weight of the hockey world on his shoulders. And it's not that he really ASKED for this weight, it's just something that kind of happened.
It happened because as a young boy he loved the game of hockey.
It happened because he worked as hard as he could to be the best he could be.
It happened because HIS best turned out to better than (maybe) anybody elses.
I watched this boy, who a couple of days ago played in his first NHL playoff game and appeared to be somewhat overwhelmed, make a great play to win a game. I saw him hit a puck off the shaft of his stick into the net. I watched his reaction after the goal...a reaction that showed how much the goal meant to him.
And after his team won...I read about how reporters asked him many questions about the game he played. How photographers took his picture. How he was the center of attention.
I wondered to myself: How does he do all of this, at just 19? Could I handle that kind of pressure? Could I be the one that everybody looks to so often for answers?
Surely, at 19, I could not have been that person...
And then I came across a comment he made that put everything into perspective....
"The spotlight is not important to me. You work hard all year, and even before that, you work hard your whole life to get in the NHL and then to get in the playoffs. Where the spotlight is, that's not really a concern for me. I just want to win."
And that's what makes him so special. Because the things that everyone focuses on that they believe make him special...the way he skates...the way he makes great passes...the timely and unforgettable goals...are only possbile because of that something special that he has deep down inside.
We sure are lucky to have him...