A real man holds his head high when others are trying to tear him down.
If you follow the NHL, you are aware of John Scott and the giant debacle that the league had on its hands with the all-star game. Over the weeks leading up to the game, Scott had been chastised, humiliated and had his life turned upside down by the league in an attempt to remove him from the game.
John Scott saved the all-star weekend, created an incredible sporting moment and stood strong the entire time. He handled himself with class, humility, and professionalism that can be an example to all men.
Getting To The All-Star Game
Scott is a career journeyman and enforcer whose skill resides primarily in his fists. In his entire career, he’s only scored a handful of goals and has bounced around from various teams and the minor leagues.
For its annual all-star game, the NHL has a fan voting system in place, and a small group of fans from the Phoenix area started to show their support for Scott and others caught on.
Originally I think the fans intent was just to have a bit of fun and pay tribute to a guy they loved. Somewhere along the way, though, this vote started to snowball to the point Scott was one of the leading vote-getters in the all-star race. It reached a fever pitch where he became the leading vote getter over the current superstars in the game.
Getting Thwarted By The Powers That Be
The very real possibility that an aging, hulking goon was to be the captain of the Western Conference all-stars clearly did not sit well with NHL. Scott was criticized and shamed by the league for even considering appearing in the game and to make it beyond personal, “do you think this is something your kids would be proud of?” was what one of the league heads relayed to him. This disgusting display of bullying by the league was enough for Scott to commit to playing in the game.
“That’s when they lost me, that was it, right there. That was the moment. Because, while I may not deserve to be an NHL all-star, I know I deserve to be the judge of what my kids think will- and won’t – be proud of me for.”
The NHL Turns Up The Heat
Between insulting, degrading and asking him to drop out of the game, Scott then finds himself traded, midseason, from the Arizona Coyotes to the Montreal Canadiens. Not to Montreal itself, though, but sent down to their minor league team in St. John’s, Newfoundland. About as far away as a player could be sent.
Being in the minor leagues takes you out of position to represent your NHL team and conference, as you are now not even on one. It’s hard to not think this was orchestrated by the league especially when the general manager said, “I made a trade that, at the time, I had to make that trade. I have a reason that I can’t tell you why, but if I could, you would probably understand..”
With two small kids, and a wife nine months pregnant with twins, Scott uproots his entire life but kept calm, positive and professional the entire time.
The League Caves
The NHL took a bad situation and made it worse. John Scott is part of that lunch-bucket brigade that the average fan identifies with and the backlash and uproar from the fans lead eventually to Scott being reinstated in the game.
The whole thing turned into a classic underdog story as the league, now with a giant black eye, went against its fans and against one of their very own turning John Scott’s life upside down. If you watched the game, you know how this turned out.
Scott was the hero of the weekend receiving multiple standing ovations from the fans, and fellow players. On his first shift, he scored. And then he scored again on a goal that would make Mario Lemieux proud. He was the highlight of the game, and the players were more caught up in him than the actual event posing for pictures with him and getting his autograph.
Scott still wasn’t listed as a candidate for most the valuable player but as the MVP chants for him reigned down through the arena he also swept the write-in vote winning the title and being lifted up on the shoulders of his fellow players. As they say, you can’t write this stuff.
What All Men Can Learn From John Scott
John Scott was attacked and ridiculed throughout the entire process but never once lashed out as justifiable as that would have been. He constantly carried himself with class and the many hockey commentators and analysts who bad mouth him, and his involvement could learn a lesson from John Scott on what it means to be professional and humble.
This is what I will take away from that weekend, that a real man holds his head high when others are trying to tear him down. He had a once in a lifetime opportunity that he took advantage of and remained positive throughout it all. He set a great example for all men and also for all fathers trying to lead by example:
“When they see me on the ice Sunday, will my girls be proud of me? Who knows. I like to think so. But I know they’ll be there for me–for their big, goofy dad–no matter what. They’ll be there, in the stands, cheering me on–wearing their Scott #28 jerseys, and watching me try my best, having some fun and fulfill a dream I’ve had since I was, well, their age.”
Photo: Flickr/ Mel