Monday Morning Match is a quick post – maybe a quote, inspirational story or idea – intended to spark some motivation inside each of you so your week gets off to a fantastic start on Monday morning.
The All Star Game Comes to Columbus
It was an early birthday present for my daughter Riley. She turns 16 tomorrow but a once in a lifetime opportunity happened this weekend so it made the perfect gift from a Dad to his “not so little anymore” girl. The NHL All Star Game was being played in our hometown of Columbus and it just so happens that Riley has been to more hockey games with me since she was a little girl than anyone else. It was fitting that she was my guest at this year’s game.
The All Star Game was supposed to be held here in Columbus a few years ago but due to the labor strike, the game was cancelled by the NHL. Luckily for us here in Central Ohio, once the players and the league finally go their act together, order was restored and the city was awarded the 2015 game.
Riley and I arrived at Nationwide Arena a few minutes before the doors opened and stood eagerly in the cold rain with thousands of other hockey fans from all over the country and world. One of the guys behind us came down from Toronto while another visitor I met during the game was here from Finland.
We made our way to the souvenir stand as soon as we got in the arena, figuring the lines would only get longer as the starting time drew near. Riley selected a nice shirt and a commemorative program and then we headed for our seats to get a good photo of our view before walking all around the arena, snapping photos of the All Star Game decor that filled the home of the Columbus Blue Jackets. There were banners and posters as well as additional souvenir stands and the mascots from the other NHL teams wandering the halls. We connected with some of Riley’s classmates and even ran in to some of my co-workers.
As the best players in the world took the ice for warm ups, it was neat to see the way they were interacting with each other in this laid back, pressure-free environment. The veterans were chatting with the rookies while bitter rivals were teamed up in drills and stretching together.
The additional manpower on hand for the lights and international TV audience was noticeable. The synchronicity between the stage crew and the ice crew was incredibly and every break was timed out to the second. The arena filled up and when the lights went dark, the players were introduced to much fanfare and two great performances of the Canadian and United States national anthems. (Special shout out to Blue Jackets own Leo Welsh for a great job singing Oh Canada!).
The NHL All Star Game will never be confused with the finals of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. There is virtually no defense played and the goalies are like sitting ducks, being peppered with shots from the most skilled players and skaters in the world. To watch these great athletes quickly learn each others habits and tendencies was amazing and before you knew it, there was an explosion of scoring. In fact, this game set the new NHL record for total goals in an All Star game.
No look passes were sent from tape-to-tape while the breakaways were powerful and plentiful. Even the shots that missed drew “oohs” and “aahs” from the capacity crowd that made Columbus proud, showing that we are more than a college football town. It was neat to see the players on the benches were paying as much attention to the play on the ice as the fans were. I know many of the younger players had to be a bit overwhelmed seeing some of the players they grew up watching standing right in front of them…or even playing side by side.
All Star Game Draws All Star Talent
Before the game started, indie rock band Locksley rocked the crowd as the players were introduced. Grammy winner and Country music star Jo Dee Messina sang a gutsy version of the Star Spangled Banner before the puck was dropped. Chicago-based band Fall Out Boy rocked the 1st intermission with hits Centuries and Light Em Up while the hometown band O.A.R put on a great show during the second intermission.
The neat part was seeing many of the players sneak out of their locker rooms during the breaks to kneel on the ice and watch these bands perform and then posed for selfies and swap handshakes with the band members before they left the ice and the game resumed. It was a nice reminder that these great hockey players are also 20 and 30-something young men who enjoy good music and entertainment when they are the ones doing the entertaining.
Who Are Your All Stars
What opportunities do you have on a regular basis to hang out with your company’s or industry’s best? Do you attend mastermind sessions on a regular basis so you can see how your game stacks up against others who are busting their asses each and every day trying to become better? Do you look to help the up-and-coming rookies as much as you seek inspiration and encouragement from those who are better than you?
I’ll have one of those opportunities this week to be amongst some of the real estate industries best and brightest when I attend the Inman New Real Estate Connect conference in New York City. It is a real-life “who’s who” when it comes to agents, managers, brokers and owners and some of the industry’s smartest innovators and service providers. We’ll swap stories and trade tips and techniques that help make us better as well as build some great relationships that will go far beyond the scope of a real estate transaction.
Just like the players who will be headed back home from their 2015 All Star experience here in Columbus, we all have the chance to be all-stars each and every day. I guess it all depends on whether we have our heads up and our eyes on the puck when it comes out way. If you’ve got a chance to score when you are hanging with other all-stars, I hope you’ll make the most of your chance.
Nice job NHL. Congratulations city of Columbus and the host Blue Jackets organization. It was a first class event and a great weekend.
Have a great week building relationships, solving problems and having fun.