What We Can Learn From The Olympics (Hockey, Mostly).


I haven’t really watched most of the Olympics so far, but I did watch some of the Canada v U.S. match yesterday for the women’s gold/silver. Man, that was some good hockey. Anyway–I watched it but kept waiting for all of those players to take off the skates and move over to the hardcourt to play some bike polo. Unfortunately, they did not, and Canada managed to win the Gold (nice playing, Canada).

But if I put on my bike polo helmet and think about it, there are a bunch of little lessons we can learn from the Olympics. I’ll share three:

1. A good team is better than a team of good players

image from boston.com

image from boston.com

Russia vs. Finland. This hockey game should have been pretty one sided, if you believe the commentators. Russia loaded their team with pros from all over and was banking on a  sweep to show they were the best hockey players ever, USSR style.

But, much as USSR teams of the past, they couldn’t quite cut it. Finland had amazing defense, strong offense, and most importantly, TEAMWORK.

Russia’s team was made up of outstanding players but not a team of people. As a group, the Finlanders were able to seep through the space between the strong players on the Russian team and work together to win.

2. Weird sports can have a place on the biggest stage

curl3. You gotta look the part

If you’re going to go for something, you might as well look the part. Olympic figure skaters are athletes through and through. They are exceptionally gifted in both strength and flexibility but also in recalling complex routines and precision.

They also look absolutely ridiculous. But that’s not the point, is it? Okay, it is a little bit, but hold on.

Figure skaters look the part of figure skaters. There’s really no way to confuse them with any other athlete at the Olympics. They embrace the lifestyle and what it requires. Bike polo is, I think, akin to this: we have our wonderful jorts and our beards and our cut-sleeve tee shirts. We look the part, and I don’t think we’d be confused with any other sport player, either. But this is more about embracing the lifestyle: becoming a bike polo player instead of a person who plays bike polo, if that makes sense.

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