A Great Drum

Hockey Lessons
Life Lessons from the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team
This is the first post that I am publishing in it’s entirety on both my blogs. The idea speaks to me on both a sports and home school level.
Mark Pavelich was one of the three young men who played on the “conehead” line for Herb Brook’s gold medal winning hockey team. Named the cone head line because of the unique perhaps alien style the boys played with as an homage to the popular conehead sketch on Saturday Night Live at that time.
The book “The Boy’s of Winter” does an excellent job portraying Pavelich as someone who loves playing Hockey but not the notoriety that comes with excelling. Pavelich is one of 2 NHL players to score 5 goals in a game. (1)
That fact notwithstanding, Pavelich was much more comfortable getting the puck to other scorers than scoring himself. Most familiar with the Miracle on Ice are familiar with Mike Eurizione’s game winning goal. It was Pavelich who got the assist. Pavelich also got the assist on his line mate Buzz Schneider’s first period goal that knotted the Russians at one. How appropriate that a player who liked being behind the scenes made the first and final assists in the most important hockey game in his countries history.
As a NHL player Pavelich was known for his poise on the ice, his practical jokes in the locker room and his desire to be and completely comfortable in who he was as a person. Who he was off the ice was not a social butterfly or a clotheshorse. There are countless stories in “Boys of Winter.” showing Pavelich’s preference to be withdrawn and only comfortable outside of the rink when He was fishing, hunting or other outddorsy tasks. His New York Rangers teammate Nick Foitu described him thusly, “He dressed like a mountain man from the backwoods of Minnesota. Then he would come out on the ice and play his heart out.” (2)
Joe Devaney a close friend of Pavelich’s summed him up this way . . . “He’s completely happy and content with what he does. He marches to his own drum and it’s a great drum.” (3)
I really liked that quote because it makes an important distinction for going against the status quo. Some people march to a different drum just to be contrarian. When they hear toe-may-toe they have a knee-jerk need to say toe-mah-toe. Unfortunately, being different just to be different doesn’t usually make a difference.
Amy and I march to a different drummer when it comes to educating our kids. We home school our children and we don’t do it to be different. We do it because, for us, homeschooling is a great drum. Like Pavelich, we are happy and content with our decision to homeschool.
As a parent I also see the quote about Pavelich as an opportunity to help my children find their drummer. All our children seem to be on their way to establishing their own paths. Emma, the literary giant and animal lover. Charlie, the scientist, explorer, super hero. Lucy, the 1 man wrecking crew/ballerina with an unusual take on about everything. I recently told her that over Christmas Break I wanted her to memorize three state capitols. I suggested Indiana, Iowa and Missouri as they border Illinois. She responded back that she wanted to memorize the capitols of Kentucky, Bethlehem and Arkansas.
As Amy and I help them find their drummer we realize it doesn’t have to be the road less traveled, we just want the path they take to be a great drum.
1. Wikpedia article on Pavelich
2. The Boys of Winter. Coffey, Wayne. p. 167
3. Boys of Winter, P. 169
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