Last night, during a hockey game between the Montreal Canadiens and the Florida Panthers, Maxi Domi of Montreal tried to goad Aaron Ekblad into a fight. As they tussled, Max punched Aaron with his glove on. But Ekblad didn’t want to fight. Then Domi whipped off the glove and smashed him in the face with his bare fist. Aaron was bleeding and left the game for concussion testing. Max was ejected, and today was suspended for five games.
The culture of hockey has always included fighting. The general expectation is that you stand up for yourself, that you fight if provoked. But here comes a fellow who doesn’t want to play that game. He wants to play hockey.
What does it take to create a paradigm shift? Well, a few brave souls for one thing. I don’t know of another sport where fighting is acceptable, where assaulting another human being is seen by many as “being a man”. Congratulations, Aaron. By saying no to violence, you’re beginning to create a new groove in the sport, one that will deepen as more courageous athletes join you.
Speaking of shifts, a couple of days ago, the teacher I volunteer with presented the kids with little plastic boxes for the books they’re reading. His first question was “Who wants a pink one?” As well as a few girls, six boys put up their hands. I wonder how many of them would have done that 20 years ago. (Zero)
Who are other pioneers of change in our world?
1. Women who opt for careers in areas traditionally dominated by men, e.g. police officers, plumbers and professional coaches
2. Men who opt for careers in areas traditionally dominated by women, e.g. hairstylists, primary school teachers and ballet dancers
3. Men who cry
4. Women who demand to be heard
5. Kids who have ideas for bettering our world and speak of them assertively
6. Elders who dive into sports
7. Folks with a physical handicap who get out there and make things happen
8. Religious leaders who see God in other faiths
9. Politicians who applaud the good ideas coming from members of other parties
10. Those of us who think of all of us
Come on down, you movers and groovers!