I was at a youth hockey game Tuesday night - with 3 kids playing hockey I spend a lot of hours at the arena – and was fascinated by what I saw unfolding on the ice. Two players for the Falcons, the good guys, were absolutely dominating the play. Both are centers and one played every other shift because of a short bench. For the sake of clarity let’s call the boys S & J.
The kids involved in the game are 10-12 years old, and it’s not unusual to see one or two with skills that are much more advanced than their peers. What is unusual about what I witnessed is that neither S or J fall into that category. In fact, if you saw either of them at the local rink you would never pick them as being part of an A level team. Both can skate, but there are many others who are faster, smoother and more graceful. Both can handle the puck, but there are others who do it with more finesse. Both can make and receive passes, but others do so with more accuracy and softer hands. Truth is, of the 30 players in the ice that night, S & J would rank in the bottom half in terms of skills.
What S & J have, that got them a combined 4 goals and 5 assists in a 9 -2 victory, is more drive, tenacity, aggressiveness and just plain hockey sense, than everyone else. The way they play the game is a coach’s dream – or perhaps a bosses dream?
It can be a wonderful thing to have a team filled with highly skilled individuals, but adding a couple with fewer skills who have a desire to learn, grow and achieve more than some thought possible can be the catalyst that takes a team from the pretty good to the upper ranks. And I’m no longer talking only about sports. The same is true in business. I’ve watched a lot of teams flounder because they are made up of the brightest of the bright. The problem is, when everyone is an all star, there’s no one left who’s working hard to show their stuff and move ahead. Yes, I’m generalizing here, but you get the point. Without S & J the Falcons would be an ordinary team.
With their presence, everyone’s level of play is elevated because no one wants to be seen as the weak link on the team. Especially when the ones doing the pushing look – at first glance – like those links.