Journal

The Good Guys

 
He’s that guy... that just kind of does everything for you.
— Jeff Carter on Jamie Benn
 

Yesterday, Jamie Benn & Team Canada dispatched the mighty American’s in Sochi. My mighty Americans. Not long after, I received a text from my son, Brendan. He was mad. At Jamie Benn.

Jamie Benn faces off with Team Canada captain, Sidney Crosby, at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, TX.

Jamie Benn faces off with Team Canada captain, Sidney Crosby, at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, TX.

Here in Dallas, we’re big Benn fans. He’s our captain. So his anger didn’t last long… but, like Brendan, Jamie’s game winning goal (his second of the tournament), put most hockey fans in this city into an emotional conundrum.

But, not me. I’ll cheer for Benn every time. Even as he’s relegating USA Hockey to the Bronze Medal Game.

I will cheer because he’s one of the good guys. And, as the father of a young, impressionable hockey player, I’m of the opinion there aren’t nearly enough good guys. I’ve written before about the good guys we’ve had in Dallas. But, in all honesty, Jamie has quietly filled what I once thought were un-fillable shoes.

At this point, I could give you stats & examples that demonstrate his leadership & general hockey dominance, but, that’s not what this is about. Instead, I’ll tell you a story.

Jamie & his brother Jordie Benn, for the Dallas Stars Foundation

Jamie & his brother Jordie Benn, for the Dallas Stars Foundation

Last summermy son was cut from his travel hockey team. As a parent, It was gut wrenching to watch, but to his credit, he hardened his resolve to play at that level and landed himself a roster spot on a new team. The excitement faded quickly as the team struggled, going winless in their first handful of games. I was shooting Jamie and his brother Jordie for the Dallas Stars Foundation during one of those games as the score updates from my wife kept rolling in and finally, as the sun was setting, the final score came back. Another loss.

As we finished the final shot (which ended up as the poster), I told Jamie & Jordie Brendan’s story. Then asked if they’d be willing to send him some encouragement. Without missing a beat, they grabbed my phone & recorded a simple video wishing him luck with his season & encouraging him to work hard.

I have to think that Jamie knows a thing or two about getting slighted by a team he desperately wanted to make. This past summer, Team Canada sent out 47 invites to its orientation camp, but nothing came Jamie’s way. He wasn’t considered one of the best 47 Canadian born players. But he worked hard & earned the honor of wearing his countries sweater.

Jamie in his Team Canada sweater, a week before departing for Sochi, Russia.

Jamie in his Team Canada sweater, a week before departing for Sochi, Russia.

Then, when he arrived in Sochi, he was relegated to the end of the bench where 4 forwards have to share 3 spots on the ice. But he worked hard, earning the praise of his coach and a little more ice time. But, for most, Canada still only had eyes for Crosby, so Jamie continued to work, scoring twice, both game winners, one dispatching Team USA, and earned the adoration of his nation.

The good guys, in my opinion, aren’t defined by the colors they wear, but by the character they show when the deck is stacked against them. By that definition, Jamie Benn gets the C, once again.

Speaking of good guys: good guys credit the photos they post online, so, please don’t post this on your blog/tumblr/Pinterest, etc. without a photo credit. Thanks!