In the final Olympic men’s hockey game between Canada and the USA yesterday, the Canadians scored in overtime to take the gold medal. Sidney Crosby, the game’s hero, was asked to recount how that goal went in. His answer: “I don’t really remember, I just shot it… To be honest, I didn’t really see it.”
Canadians will be talking about that goal for years, with pride in our hearts for that 22-year-old hockey hero who won the gold medal for Canada, on Canadian soil, in overtime. We want to believe there was special magic going on that day, or some special genius guiding that puck into the net.
The truth is, the magical moment came out of years of hard work, showing up at practice, taking shots on net over and over and over. That shot was just like any other shot that Crosby has taken over the years – except this time it counted.
And if he hadn’t taken the shot, we might not have won the gold medal.
Now take the story down to the level of us mere mortals, grinding out the days, away from the lights and cameras. We show up day after day, doing what we have to do to get by. We do our work, take care of our loved ones, pay our bills, shovel the walk, mow the lawn. We take the shots. Does it matter? Sometimes it seems to, sometimes it doesn’t.
But if we don’t keep taking the shots, even when they don’t seem to matter, we will never nail that shot when it does matter. Wayne Gretzky said, “You miss all the shots you don’t take.” Out of all the shots that they actually took, Gretzky and Crosby have both missed more shots than I ever will. Did that make them failures? No, because they kept taking the shots, and when they nailed it, boy, did they ever nail it. And I’m just sitting here watching.
So, I need to take more shots. I need to show up, even when it seems like it doesn’t matter. And if I take enough shots, and make enough goals, one day I’m going to look over my shoulder and see the puck in the net and the fans going wild.