All I Really Needed To Know I Learned While Watching Hockey With My Papa

Boston won. The post-game ceremonies started. This was important stuff, so I made Ruby pay attention. We watched them award the Conn Smythe to Thomas, and she noted the maple leaf adorning it. Then they carried out the Stanley Cup and called Zdeno Chara over. The moment came, and he hoisted it over his head in pure triumphant joy:

As he held it aloft I leaned over and whispered into Ruby’s ear:

Do you see that, Ruby? See how happy he is? That’s winning. He won and he’s happy. Winning is important. And I want you to be a winner.

He worked hard and tried hard and he didn’t cheat, and he won, and it feels good. Don’t forget that, Ruby. Winning feels good and I want you to win.

We’re not supposed to say stuff like that to our kids. We’re supposed to tell them that it’s important to try, to have fun, to participate and play and that winning doesn’t matter. And mostly, that’s what I say because mostly, that’s right — because most of the time most of us can’t win, so it’s an important life skill to learn how to enjoy the game.

But take a look at Chara’s face up there. I can probably say without a doubt that right there — that moment when he as captain hoisted his team’s trophy — that moment is probably the single best moment of his entire life.

Sure, playing feels good. And playing well feels even better. But winning feels the best.