on The Chivalry of the NHL and the visible impact of a Captain’s Leadership

ok, I just want to do a quickpost here on the topicc of leadership. While watching the highlights of this NHL playoff game (love the NHL), and noticing that the way the Jackets celebrate a goal scored is similar to the way the Blackhawks do the same, I was inspired to write on it; I just found it to be phenomenal. (I should point out the key detail: I mean, how the Jackets *with their captain,* Foligno on the ice, celebrate goals; and likewise with the Hawks’ captain, Towes, on the ice). To not beat around the bush, and put it right out in the open up-front – as I can feel myself fading already with this post – both of them share the very apparent similarity of the “grouped circle” celebration. I can wax philosophical-theoretical on this for pages, probably, it is so interesting, but to make a long story short, it is the realization of the symbolic: a circle is the symbol of unity, and the very visceral reality of this physical moment occurring is: all guys on the ice benefit from the success. The NHL is a very chivalric, knightly sport, I would call it, but it is not immune to the “prima donna syndrome” of sports, where there is one super-star. But this goal celebration nullifies that; and it is the captain who initiates that nullification, that diffusion of joy and success, evenly to everyone. What I love about both Foligno and Toews is that they will very apparently, deliberately hold out their arms, signifying the start of the circling up, and wait for all to come in together, and then the sharing of the joy of success takes place. I haven’t seen it take place, but I’d be willing to bet that if there is a player who is slow, or lackluster, to get to the circled huddle celebration, Toews epsecially (I have watched more footage of Toews, so I feel like i know him more than Foligno, though Foligno already seems like he is on par as far as leadership goes), I think Toews would signal, or say, to the lackluster, lagging player, “come on brother, bring it in.” And here is an added benefit of that circling up: once all are there physically, arms around each other, it won’t be as obvious if there is one guy who is not completely engaged in the spirit of celebration. The physical manifestation of that circle, with the captain (Toews or Foligno – very special people, utterly inspiring personalities) leading the enjoyment and the rewarding, will blur out one guy not being enthusiastic about the celebration. (I say all that only because of the tendency for us – people – to focus on the negative [like I am doing here; heh!] – it is human nature; but it is also human nature to, at least, we deserve to enjoy success; to reward ourelves and each other with that moment of joy and accomplishment, and encouragment for the future (the rest of the game, to athletes). … Also, regarding this huddle in particular, the jackets are a pretty major under-dog in this game, and Foligno had just been on the receiving end of a nasty, savage cross-check near his neck by Nikita Kucherov; but he didn’t engage in retaliation, or complaining to the refs; he picked himself up (probably in pain), took on the role of Captain and rallied the troops together. I also love the look of Marc Savard, here (who could be a Captain on any NHL team), in manly adoration of his Captain. … I don’t think the Jackets won this game; and if they did, I don;t think they will win the series; but I sure hope they did, and will. I have a ton of admiration for such character and honor. That is what sport is about. (I do not have the same type of admiration for Kucherov’s character, I must say, though he is an incredibly talented player, he does not have a noble character. He is a bad winner, and a bad loser).

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