The Great One

I was watching The Ultimate Gretzky last night, primed with my super cans of Canadian. Sitting there in my hazy 3 beer stupor I marveled at the grace and speed with which this man would react, the no look passes, peripheral vision like he had eyes growing out of the side of his head and pinpoint accuracy.

You see Gretzky played just outside his kitchen window, his father, Walter, had the foresight to build him a rink at home. He would skate on it for hours honing his craft and as in my last post building his Myelin. When he entered organized sports he would play with older boys, challenging his talent even further, making him use his talent in different ways. His coach would want to play him all the time and one day he mentioned to Wayne that he would play defense as well so he could be double shifted and not take away anyones ice time, one of the other defencemen broke his leg he was on the ice all the time! Now the hours of practice start to really pile up. This small gangly kid was able to play with boys older than him and still dominate and challenging himself in different ways kept him sharp. They say you need to practice 10,000 hours to be at the top of your chosen field, I am sure Gretz had this number beat 10 times over by the time he entered the NHL.

Because of his size he had to make some adjustments to his game like not being in front of the net, he was just too small he would use the area behind the net, popping out like a striking cobra or passing to his teammates with laser precision. This area behind the net is still known as Gretzkys office and many players have used the same technique but never with the same mastery as the Great One.

Adversity, time and pushing yourself past your boundaries is the only way to get better. And even if you get to the top and win the greatest prize, Gretzky taught me on thing for sure. If you’re a true champion, you never win just one.

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