Today, as some oddly-obsessed hockey fans know, is Wayne Gretzky’s 50th birthday. And according to very reliable reports, he picked up a stick “moments after leaving the womb, rushing out of the hospital and scoring a natural hat trick in a local senior league game.”
In order to half-assedly celebrate The Great One here on HockeyPunx, we’re rehashing some content that we already shared with you via our twitter account, which you should be following (but as of yet have been too lazy to click the god damn follow button).
First off, I should say that this content is from Kevin Smith’s blog, and in no way am I claiming that this is our original content. Nor am I claiming Kevin Smith wrote this exclusively for HockeyPunx (or for that matter, has any idea that HockeyPunx exists). I am merely quoting/reproducing HIS WORK here, for your reading enjoyment. But you should definitely check out his place, as there is loads of other content on there, and while you’re at it, go buy every single one of his movies immediately.
For those of you unfamiliar with him, Smith has done a zillion great things, but he is best known as writer/director of brilliant comedy flicks, a champion of indie film, and host of the SModcast podcast (along with purveyor of the SModcast Podcast Network). He is also a hockey fan.
And a huge Wayne Gretzky fan.
So when “Jordan B” innocently asked Smith about his adoration of Gretzky on Twitter he probably wasn’t expecting a longwinded rant (well, okay, if you’ve followed Smith on Twitter for any amount of time, I guess you expect nothing but longwinded rants; and we love him for it). But rant away he did, and what resulted was actually a positively heartwarming piece on Smith’s outlook on Gretzky, hockey, and how the two influence his life.
Here it is, reprinted in it’s entirety:
In the time I’ve leaned on Gretzky as a higher power, I’ve made two flicks, sold out Carnegie Hall andthe Sydney Opera House, toured the country with podcasts from an entire network we built in less than a year, opened the world’s first & only podcasting theater, got Walter Gretzky into the Guinness Book of World Records, and started the long-tail, long-lead sell of Red State (the posters, pods, etc.).
I’m not saying Gretzky’s responsible for all of that; I’m well-aware I did all that stuff myself, with the help of friends & fans. But going where the puck’s gonna be comes directlyfrom Gretzky. My office walls are loaded with images of the boy from Brantford trying to do things that hadn’t been done before. Considering Gretzky’s work ethic, humility and character, why not look up to him as a role model – even if I’m 40 and I’ve done cool shit of my own?
Gretzky spent his career outdoing his own personal bests; I’d like to spend the time I’ve got left doing the same. The Askewniverse was a dream come true, but I dream bigger now. And settling for one Stanley Cup when I know I can secure a dynasty seems a waste of opportunity. Gretzky said “You miss 100% of the shots you never take.” So I stopped being cute with my puck and started firing that shit top shelf instead.
The Gretzky/hockey metaphors simplify the vast, unwieldy concept that nobody’s been able to encapsulate yet to my satisfaction: existence. Hockey offers imagery that illustrates the off-ice game of life, too…
We are goal-oriented.
We get checked constantly.
We take hard hits.
But if we work hard, assist and receive assists, and out-skate our attackers, we get to take our shots.
And the more you shoot, the better you will be able to roof that shit, or chip it right through life’s five-hole.
Avoid the corners and stay out of the scrums.
Even the best players will get penalized from time to time; feel your shame, then you get free.
Doesn’t matter what line you’re on, you come over the boards and you contribute. You produce for the team.
You can’t play every minute and you can’t win alone.
It’s an exhausting but an exhilarating game, best when played with heart.
If you go out there unprepared, all half-assed, you’re gonna lose teeth. Actually, with age, you’re gonna lose teeth regardless; might as well lose ‘em fighting for something.
Nobody wants to let you take your shot, so expect to take all manner of shit. But like Espo observed, you simply stand in the slot, take your beating and shoot the puck into the net.
It’s a fun game.
A brutal game.
A beautiful game.
The fastest game.
Keep your head up and never chase the puck; go where the puck’s gonna be.