During the past several weeks we all learned some very valuable lessons. These are lessons many of us have forgotten or have never known. What a dramatic turn of events and downright upheaval not only in our lives but also across the USA and the World. The things that were so important to all of us in the ice hockey world have become trivial. Just think of it. Simply 2-3 weeks ago we were planning and playing in our playoffs. For those who advanced we were competing in the Nationals. Indeed, during the weekend of March 16th my team was about to play in its first game at Nationals and it was canceled. We got word that not only was our little world of junior hockey being canceled or suspended but so wasn’t the NHL the NBA and virtually every sporting event and major event in the USA. Days later cities and counties were being quarantined and Stay at Home Quarantines were being triggered. Who knew what these terms and decrees meant?
Then CCN, Fox News and all media outlets stared reporting. Not just in China Italy and South Korea but in our very country. For athletes we are used to competing on a daily and weekly basis. We train and plan to take on our adversary. But here we learn from our medical experts and healthcare providers as well as our national, state and local leaders that this is a new foe: a formidable opponent that leaves us no game film or data in how to combat its strengths. But as Americans and World Allies we see an incredible effort to band together and mount an offensive attack and establish defensive fortresses like never before. We see, the medical research and testing by scientist and chemist and medical experts, by doctors, nurses and all the medical staffers. The calling in of the National Guard and the Army Corp of Engineers, in building temporary hospitals and medical centers…. OMG the real heroes here: a new definition of Super Stars and MVPs. It’s funny, who scored what goal and who made that save or who captured that win is clearly irrelevant. We all have our eye on the big prize now. That is a cure! That is saving lives One by One! That is garnering masks and Ventilators; the building of Medical Centers; protecting the first responders and medical staff who is laying their lives on the line every second of every day.
Then there are the unsung folks: the grocery store clerks and pharmacy workers who have little or no protections. Let us all pray to whatever faith and to whichever GOD.
This letter to you is not about hockey. Far from it. Except in one area. I want to call on all of those who I may have met over the years through scouting, recruiting, or who may have played on my teams or against my teams, please take a moment right now and say a prayer. Those days were for fun and games. This is not. Indeed, this is the most serious time in our lives. You know what to say. In closing I echo the words you are hearing every day:
Take care of yourself, your family, your friends and the people where you live. Be smart and continue the social distancing. Be compassionate have more patience, as we don’t know what others may be going through…. be considerate. We will soon be back to hockey, but things will never be quite “normal” as we won’t as a collective society allow this virus to creep back upon us. We will be better for it. A better person and better in mankind.
My thoughts and prayers go out to each and every one of you!
Florida Eels Junior Hockey Club
United States Premier Hockey League