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What Can Hockey Teach Us About Adversity?

What Can Hockey Teach Us About Adversity?

In this unprecedented time, how do hockey’s time-worn aphorisms apply to our current situation?

Enthusiasts often see hockey as a metaphor for life. Hockey’s cliché-littered locker room may offer some wisdom as we collectively deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

1. There is no “I” in team

We will defeat COVID-19 as a team. Doctors are aware of the importance of every member of the health-care team. But the team that’s required to defeat COVID-19 is even larger as it includes the whole community.

2. The best defence is a good offence

We are currently using social distancing and the cancellation of events, no mass gatherings. “Flattening the curve” is designed to slow the spread of a virus, against which we have no natural immunity.

This is a good defensive strategy, and until we get an effective vaccine, it is the best defence we have.

3. Move to where the puck will be

The famous quote from Wayne Gretzky. This advice can be applied to COVID-19. The question is where we are going. What will the epidemic look like in the third period? How can we shape it to ensure we are victorious?

Some countries, such as South Korea and Germany, are managing to avoid high mortality rates – learn from them.

4. Play your position

There is not a position on the team that trumps the others in terms of importance. Our victory will reflect the efforts of front-line nurses, doctors and trainees, plus all support staff.

As a calm, well-informed member of the public you, too, are part of The Team. There will not be a three-star selection when we beat COVID-19; you will all be stars!

5. Thank your team members

A typical hockey interview after a game usually follows a standard, self-deprecating script: “I’d like to thank the coach. My goalie was amazing. The wingers were passing the puck tape to tape, and our fans were great!” It’s never about the self.

5. Keep your head up

A reminder to be aware of what is happening around you – situational awareness. In the COVID-19 pandemic we can keep our head up by paying attention to high quality, reliable information.

6. Envision success

Believing that you will succeed leads to a manifestation of success. In hockey you cannot let your mind go to that easily reached, dark place of defeat. Think of the win, realize the win.

7. Thank the fans

The impact of COVID-19 is being felt by everyone – students, families, people working in restaurants, retail outlets, utilities and more.

In this case, the fans are everyone and anyone who has assisted in mitigating and reducing the impact of the pandemic – particularly in the health care sector.

8. Keep your stick on the ice

Hold the line and be prepared for what’s coming. In this context it’s the return to better days.