“Mothers still rule”!
Who said athletes could not bring about change? Player Diversity has taken the NHL to another level of positive awareness!
Moving from past events receiving racial slurs & banana tossing, to a high status of becoming simply Wayne Simmonds number 17, the hockey player of the Philly Flyers and youths arguing over his jersey. He just happens to be black by nature and player by choice.
Hockey stardom Players are not the result of chance or as some say, always falling into the right place at the right moment, the majority of star players all have common points of value. Work ethic, pride in accomplishing the trust factors, leadership, including continued development of individual execution and awareness. However, this has a start from somewhere, the results are remarkable. Wayne Simmonds is the subject of this today, not because of his star status only but a result of observing a group of youngsters choosing teammates for a pick - up game, their conversation was well worth listening to, my youthful people knowledge improved from listening to these youths. They were arguing over who was to wear a certain jersey, one youth visibly upset over wearing the number 17, he said we agreed yesterday I could wear Simmonds jersey for today and next game it would be your turn, I looked and saw Simmonds on the back of the jersey, what amused me most, outside of a couple of players they were all white youths, they were not letting go easily of who would win the argument, one of the Black youths said, “maybe I should be wearing his jersey”, silence followed, then one of the youths said, no way, just because you are black does not give you the right to his jersey, he belongs to all of us, there was a loud response of positive on that remark, the black youth then replied, yeah… you are right. I’ll take Mitch Marner, good choice someone yells. Finally, they settled the disagreement and one player turned his jersey inside out, I looked closely at these youths, Crosby, McDavid, Toews, Matthews, Laine, Kane were all out there but there were 4 Simmonds jerseys, a young girl had a homemade microphone and served as announcer, “goal scored by number 17 Simmonds assisted by 87 Crosby. “who would believe this a few years ago”
I was about to move when I heard heyyyy.. Crosby does not retaliate he is disciplined now, your right Simmonds, sorry about that. A youngster arrives with a Subban jersey and he immediately started jubilating, I smiled and thought, darn these kids are hockey observant! I thought this was becoming more extinct. Wrong. These kids were paying attention to what the players were accomplishing positive or negative.
Skin tone was of no importance to this group, their only concern was the hockey player, I shook my head thinking hummm…Wayne Simmonds. My mind trickled back to the banana incident received toward Simmonds and some of the ugly name calling often thrown out by some adults when discussing black NHL players. The actions of Wayne Simmonds transpired far beyond a hockey arena, his intelligent re-action to the racial incidents, his quiet demeanor approach when in public, humble, his dedication to improving as an athlete, more important his willingness to listen while thinking things out. Where did this come from? Of course, I had an inkling, the richness of “the kitchen table”, outdoor walks or trips to the store or arena, often provides an element of conversation where financial have or have not, has no bearing, only the words of family morals, ethics prime, how the family has a desire for you to carry yourself without expectations of perfection but to have understanding of the importance! We call it “Mom’s world”. You stand up when the battle is worth the effort, otherwise move on. Majority of star players possess the above, combined with a support group, they help also maintain the continued positive development performance factors. Wayne Simmonds is a product of such an environment, his mother provided the guidance in how she desired her son to understand behavioral values, morals, ethics, this transpired into Wayne Simmonds having the capabilities to improve as both an individual and a hockey player.
Wayne did not talk back nor did his brothers, Wanda (his mother) would have none of that, he listened and knew this was a ritual as per many households for centuries, money may provide material things, proper guidance provides respect& a lifeline of less inter personal action problems. If you have no foundation, the more difficult the ascension to higher levels of execution and performance. After Mom, came his coaches and others, especially LA kings VP of hockey operations Mike Futa, who was his Gm in Junior hockey, this relationship is based upon a mutual respect camaraderie, then along came the very competent Eustace King as his agent.
I must admit It is well known within many families of color the importance of that kitchen table sit down or the talks while out and about with Mom. To be honest I noticed this same intent with Mrs. Crosby, Syd the Kid’s mother.
This leads us to events or other which can change the values and ethical viewpoint of individuals who may misunderstand how ridiculous prejudice may cloud their attitude toward different ethnic, religious groups or other. When individuals find out or accept they are issued really from the same pot, including aware of what a lack of proper information may bring, refusal to have an open mind to research the why of. When one is aware that climate simply made the difference for pigmentation, while environment formed the rest. This is why, when we question what another eat, their beliefs, dress code, language, likes and other, they are often doing the same with us, the only difference remain, education properly applied within any civilization, has an end result of less prejudice, including a better comprehension of differences, all this without using the ignorance of false pretense to having a higher standing within the vast world we live within. Education enlightens those who wish to learn and improve, you will always know ignorance by the mannerism & words individuals or groups pronounce, toward anything outside of their personal comfort zone, why? Ignorance breeds an isolation effect/affect, education provides freedom and a thought process of better understanding. Wayne Simmonds is living proof of College” Kitchen Table credits”!
There is more to come for this young man, positive confidence values acquired through experience, equals poise and execution, thus elevation to even bigger and better things. Ever wonder if he were available, as if coming out of the KHL? I wager every team in the NHL would try to sign him. One point of note, his next contract will be worth a lot of $$$, will he return to Los Angeles or end up with the Rangers or stay put. Eustace King has probably already his figures in place for future negotiations. Wayne Simmonds will continue to play hockey and remain the same, everyone will continue to benefit.
Quote: Howie Meeker - NHL Player-coach - Ego recognition – “One individual advised all of his invitation to attend a function, another said nothing, why? It was announced by those extending the invitation”.
John Paris Jr.