All I Really Need to Know I Learned From Hockey (and Spinal Tap)

by Steve, March 1st, 2006

Derek SmallsNo, seriously, if you take the view (as I do) that everything in life is metaphor, you can learn valuable life lessons in anything you do.
Reggie Dunlop
For instance, in a previous avocation as a musician, I played bass. In hockey, I play defense. (I’ve come to realize that I spent the first half of my adult life living “This is Spinal Tap.” Now as I enter the middle of life I’m living “Slap Shot.” In the words of Reggie Dunlop, “Fuck ’em.”)

If you’re not familiar with music and hockey, here are the similarities between bass players and defensemen:

  • you set and control the tempo of the play
  • nobody notices when you’re playing great, but everyone notices when you fuck up
  • you feed the (soloist/forward) the (musical idea/puck) and they take it and (wail/score), then take all the glory
  • you work your ass off continuously, (set/shift)-in and (set/shift)-out, holding the whole show together
  • you are on the back line, standing behind the rest of the (band/team) with (the drummer/other d-man), giving you a broader perspective of the play as it unfolds
  • it’s such a fine line between clever and stupid

So when I say “All I Really Need to Know I Learned From Hockey,” it’s only partly in jest. Anyway, here’s the list, found somewhere out there on the internet. Like the list above, you can make substitutions for whatever endeavor you pursue.

  • Respect your opponent
  • Show up every night
  • Play for more than your paycheck
  • Be loyal to your team
  • Practice
  • Be willing to make mistakes
  • Hate losing
  • Instigate, don’t retaliate
  • Curse, but don’t boast
  • It’s good to be the underdog
  • Wrestle when you have to; find openings where you can
  • Do anything to win
  • Nothing is worth ending someone’s career or their life
  • Life is much better with a Zamboni than without one
  • Learn to speak obscenities in a dozen languages
  • It matters where you’re from, but it matters a lot more how you play
  • Never give up, never surrender
  • Never work for anyone named Bobby Clarke
  • Never try to teach a goon to skate-it won’t work and it will only annoy the goon. Then, the goon will annoy you
  • Try to ignore the guys in suits with Penzoil on their heads
  • You can’t win without the grinders
  • If you only get to play 20 games, be the best 20-game player you can be
  • Love something frivolous. Love it beyond all reason
  • Be willing to get hurt
  • No one is too good to score ugly goals
  • Shower
  • Speed is more important than size. Heart is more important than either
  • If you think you can do it, you can
  • Do not feed or tease the goalie
  • Spend two months a year clinically insane
  • After the fight, shake hands
  • Spaghetti has all the nutrients you’ll ever need
  • Moaning about how badly you suck is pointless, and will only annoy your teammates
  • Just say no to the foil
  • Avoid anyone who has been hit by a Zamboni
  • The rules can always be changed
  • The rules are often changed, apparently at random
  • Rules? What rules?
  • Look for the play
  • You have to spend money to win
  • Spending money will never guarantee a win
  • Don’t expect other Americans to understand. When you find some who do, treat them like long-lost friends
  • Two minutes, in the box, by yourself — you feel shame. Then you get free
  • Appreciate genius
  • Fly

Denie Lemieux

3 Responses to “All I Really Need to Know I Learned From Hockey (and Spinal Tap)”

  1. Comment from Wacky Mommy:

    And if you screw up: “Then you go to da box for 2 minutes by yourself you feel shame…then you get free.”

    In the spirit of political correctness — some of these quotes sound are a little, eh, extremely politically incorrect. Cuz they are. So if you haven’t seen the movie — watch it, and you’ll be laughing your ass off, anyway. I do. I’ve seen it like 800 times.

    “That’s great. Why should she give a shit what people think? She’s just scrappin’.”

  2. Comment from Himself:

    Hey, Wacky Mommy, you’re a dynamite gal! I mean fantastic! (I only wish you liked Spinal Tap, too….)

  3. Comment from Wacky Mommy:

    Thank you for saying so. And hello, Spinal Tap boys are not sexy! Socks wadded into pants and all. Give me Paul anyday.

    Or “Almost Famous.” Very similar to Spinal Tap, only cuter boys.