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What do you answer to? February 14, 2008

Posted by CapitalSpirit in Uncategorized.
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ADVISORY:  This one’s a little less hockey and a lot more personal than most of my usual posts.

 “What matters in life is not what you are called, but what you answer to.”

I came across that little gem in, of all places, a MahJong Solitaire game.  (Quit snarking…you know you play, too.)  No idea what the origin of that quote was–if you know where it’s from, by all means feel free to comment–but it kind of got me thinking.

I’ve said before, and I’ll say again, that I’m comfortable with this being a niche blog that nobody reads.  I write as and when I can, so I’m not exactly a daily read for anyone I can discern.  But I’d much rather say a few things very well, than say a lot of things very badly.  This paragraph is kind of an example of why I take that line of thinking–let me get back to my original point.

What are you called?  And what do you answer to?  I’m reminded, oddly, of a plot point fairly late in the novel “Ender’s Game” by Orson Scott Card.  Another character, whose name I won’t mention due to spoilers, is assigned to train Ender in advanced tactics.  He keeps Ender under lock and key to the point where Ender calls him Jailor, and the teacher answers to that name just as if it were his own name.  It’s not his name, but that’s what he’s called, and that’s what he answers to.  Here, it’s more a case of not giving Ender the satisfaction of a response. 

I can relate to that, by the way–I ignore any and all Harry Potter jibes when I’m out in my cloak.  They can call me Harry Potter all day, but I don’t answer to it.  Because it’s not who I am, and frankly, I get that so much it’s just street-level Muzak to me at this point.  I don’t answer to Harry Potter.  Sorry, folks–you’ll have to do better than that.

I have it on good authority that Mike Green is starting to answer to “Game Over” due to his uncanny overtime-scoring prowess.  Quite a compliment to be called that; I’m sure he’ll happily answer to it.  Olie Kolzig has been referred to as the team’s graybeard.  I know that’s figurative: his beard’s quite dark, thank you very much.  And I’m not so sure that’s entirely a compliment, given some of the “he’s too old” chatter in some quarters of the fan base.  Nor am I sure he answers to it–I’m not so sure I would if I were him.

I’ve been called a lot of things in my life, most of them derogatory.  I’m a bit of a loner, if only because I’ve gotten so comfortable being by myself over the years that I almost don’t know HOW to be with a group.  I remember there was a beer commercial about a decade ago that featured the line, “I love burritos at 4 A.M.”  Alas, that’s not my lot in life, and I have come to accept that.  Even in places where I’m recognized–Caps games, my place of worship, and so on–people know ABOUT me, and that’s it.  Nobody’s really bothered, over the years, to try to get to know me–at least, so far, not one I’m comfortable opening up to.

So what do I answer to?  I think a better question for me is, WHO do you answer to?  And I think that’s probably one of the most important questions any person can have asked of them.  I think–and this is just my personal take, as is everything here–that some of the most horrific acts in human history have been perpetrated, and may yet be perpetrated, by those who think they only have to answer to themselves.

As for who I myself answer to: I answer to God and His angels, every night.  Before I go to sleep, I always call on Archangels Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, and Uriel, and we talk about the day.  What did I do right?  What did I do wrong?  How can I be a better person, a better healer, a better force for the Light?  Knowing I have someone who’s going to be lovingly reminding me that I need to do better every day, is quite a powerful incentive to watch what I say and do.

Same thing in hockey.  If you have a bad game, you’d better be prepared to answer for your game: to your teammates, to your coach, and, via the press, to your fans.  One bone-headed mistake, and you’ll have guys like me screaming criticism down from the rafters.  (The game is so much easier up there, don’t you know.)

 What do you answer to?  Hockey fan?  400 Level Bench Boss?  Father?  Mother?  Friend?

More importantly, who do you answer to?  Your family?  Your friends?  Your boss?  The law?  God?

Look, I can’t promise you anything great or insightful or profound here–these ideas have probably been discussed at better length and depth elsewhere.  But for those of you who continue to read my words–for which I thank you–those are questions you may want to ask yourself when you have a moment or two to reflect.

To more terrestrial concerns.  Big weekend coming up for the Caps: two division games in two nights, with the division lead on the line.  This is what makes us hockey fans, isn’t it, folks?  I think Wednesday night’s game in Atlanta might actually be a positive sign: that even when up against a red-hot netminder, and even when the other team comes from behind, and even when everything seems to be going wrong, we can still put up points in the standings.  We stole one the hard way Wednesday night.  And I have nothing to go on here, but I think we just might earn four points in the Sunshine State.  No cards on this one, just a hunch: two games and two wins in two nights.  I think they just might do it.

I’m pretty sure the players believe.  I know for a fact that I believe.  Do you?





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