Sunday, April 14, 2013

Slap Shots and Moon Shots

PITTSBURGH, Pa. – The Quinnipiac University men's ice hockey team lost to Yale, 4-0, in the 2013 NCAA Frozen Four Championship Game in Pittsburgh, Pa. The Bobcats finish the year at 30-8-5 overall, good for the most wins in program history.
Man's landing on the moon in 1969 was our greatest technological achievement. The Apollo 11 mission was truly the stuff dreams are made of. For the first time the human species walked on a celestial body other than our own. Even more remarkable was their ability to make it back.

Few people know how close Apollo 11 came to being a disaster. The President had a well-crafted speech all prepared, to inform the world that the men who landed on the moon would not be coming home. Thankfully, that speech was never read as the Apollo 11 mission had a happy ending, and the rest as they say, is history.

The Quinnipiac Bobcats' had 30 wins this season. Their 17-2-3 record in the ECAC Hockey is also a program-best. Their success in conference play garnered Quinnipiac's first Cleary Cup, given annually to the ECAC regular season champion. The Bobcats also made it to the NCAA Tournament for just the second time ever and closed out the season as the National Runner-ups, a first for any Quinnipiac athletic program. This Quinnipiac squad will also say goodbye to 11 seniors who helped bring the program to newfound heights this season. Last night was the end of the “best season ever” for Quinnipiac men’s hockey. 

BEST EVER. The young men on that hockey team have just experienced the biggest event of their lives (to date). Many who were on the ice last night will find themselves playing in the NHL. Some might even win a Stanley Cup one day. 

Someone has to come in second place, to make it a contest. 
In life, in business, and in sports, it’s no fun if you don’t keep score.

The Space Race was a mid-to-late 20th century competition between the Soviet Union (USSR) and the United States (USA) for supremacy in space exploration. Between 1957 and 1975, the Cold War rivalry between the two nations focused on attaining firsts in space exploration, which were seen as necessary for national security and symbolic of technological and ideological superiority.

The Space Race sparked unprecedented increases in spending on education and pure research, which accelerated scientific advancements and led to beneficial spin-off technologies. An unforeseen effect was that the Space Race contributed to the birth of the environmental movement: The first color pictures of Earth taken from deep space were used as icons by the movement to imply that the planet was a fragile blue marble surrounded by the blackness of space.

The USA won the race to the moon. How must they have felt in the Soviet Union on July 20th, 1969? I’ll bet the men of Quinnipiac can relate to how it must feel to be so close to the prize and to come up short (like the USSR). The USA was losing the space race, but then the USA came back from behind and was the first to reach the moon. I remember it all like it was yesterday.

During their regular season, Quinnipiac University men’s hockey team beat Yale three times. Last night, Yale beat Quinnipiac. The big difference was that last night’s hockey game was for the National Championship.

Life is a series of wins and losses. In business and in sports, you win and you lose. You have your moments in the sun, and you have days where you have to settle for the silver and not the gold. There can be no first place winner, without a worthy competitor who takes second place.
There would be no iPhone if Steve Jobs had not been fired from Apple. Blackberry was the market leader in Smartphones for many years; today not so much. When I was growing up, IBM completely dominated the computer world. It is the race itself that makes life (and business) interesting, winning or losing is not as important. Competition is what makes life worth living.
I hope that the parents, the coaches and even the President of Quinnipiac University have already seized the opportunity to properly address the men of Quinnipiac Hockey. To come so close to the prize and to come up short is a life-changing moment and a teaching moment.
It is the competition that makes us stronger, not the victory. It is the challenge of the race, not the race itself that molds us. Last night was a teaching moment for everyone, winners and losers. Yale lost to QU three times this season but they won last night. Quinnipiac beat Yale three times, but not last night. And so it goes in sports and in business.
Every young man that was on the ice last night (both teams) are winners, and they have been winners for many years. Their parents know it, their coaches know it, and hopefully after a few days, the men of Quinnipiac hockey who might be feeling a little sad this morning will know it too. History shows that winners can get lazy, but those who come up "a little short" tend to come back even stronger. Some will be in the NHL, some might go into business. 

I would hire every single one of them.
If the USA needs to get men into space today - guess what - we have to hitch a ride with our good ‘ol friends in the former Soviet Union (USSR). Ah yes, they must smile every time we ask them for a ride. Competition is indeed what makes life worth living.
Congratulations to everyone at for a great season! What’s your next challenge?

My Son Tom Jr. in the Quinnipiac Pep Band

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