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Friday, May 21, 2010

Sport Imitates Life

 Not all of you have the sports geekitude of some of us, but sport is one of those great equalizers.

  All of us have dreams, and hard work and dedication can indeed pay off.

  Cue to Chicago Blackhawks rookie goaltender Antti Niemi, one of this year's playoff darlings. This guy never went drafted and was completely off the radar until recently. 5 years ago, this guy wasn't a pro goalie, 2 years ago he was playing in the bowels of the Finnish second division and made ends meet as a Zamboni driver. He still had to take a day job last summer because his minor-league salary wasn't enough to take a break. It wasn't overnight, but this guy has finally made it when most guys would have given up.

  I picked Chicago at the beginning of the playoffs because of their youthful will and penchant for finding older guys seemingly out of nowhere, and Antti Niemi seems like a gift from a higher being. He won't complain that his $800 000 salary is 1/7th of that of his backup's take-home because he's happy to be fighting for the ultimate prize. He and his primarily underpaid mates have made Roberto Luongo ($7.5million salary) and Evgeni Nabokov ($6million) look like mere mortals. Funny things happen when you give a guy the chance at greatness.

  Everyone forges their own path, and often times the road less traveled the one not only to material wealth, but character. True leadership is crafted through struggle versus pampering. Never give up- be like Antti Niemi. He saw his goal and patiently toiled until he could realize it. While we might not all be destines to be rock stars or athletes, it is important to stay the course. Determination may never bring you fabulous riches, but it will give you those things that money can never buy.

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