The one he saved

The one he saved

In Manitoba, ice skating is a right of passage. It’s just what you do. I started skating at age two and have played pretty much every sport on ice in some form or another. Yes, the Canadian stereotype is true.

Luke is my “nephew” (quotation marks because we have no blood relation) and he’s seven years old. He plays hockey and at his age they don’t have set positions, so a new player takes a turn in net every game. Last weekend it was Luke’s turn and he was STOKED.

“After the game everyone jumps on the goalie!” He told his mom, Lesley. “I bet they’ll do that for me.”

The big game started and it became evident early on that Luke was not a goalie at heart. If the puck approached anywhere remotely close to the crease, it went in the net. In fact, the other team scored so often that they stopped keeping track. Luke and his teammates looked defeated, to say the least.

As the final buzzer went, his teammates skated back to the bench. There would be no goalie pile-on to celebrate this game. But one little boy noticed Luke’s disappointment and turned back. He skated towards the net and jumped, forcing Luke onto the ice. Like adorable unstable sheep, the other kids joined in, piling on Luke to presumably celebrate that the game had ended.

Afterwards, Lesley waited for him to come out of the dressing room, arms piled high with candy to compensate what she knew would be a tearful, emotional, frustrating drive home.

Sweaty Luke emerged from the room, beaming.

“Did you see me out there?!”

Lesley nodded slowly, confused.

“Did you see the one I stopped?!”

In his objectively dismal goalie debut, Luke had stopped one puck from entering the net. One save amidst countless goals (literally). But he focused on that one save as a point of pride and celebrated his success in that small moment. We should all be so proud. We should all be so pleased with ourselves. We should all have the child-like ability to witness the small victories we accomplish every single day.

Luke understood this in such a big way, he even offered to play goalie next game. But, “coach said it’s someone else’s turn.”

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