Chicago players and organization demonstrate the true spirit and values of professional sports

There is a rose in Spanish Harlem . . . it only comes out when the moon is on the rise and all the stars are gleaming . . .

From the song Spanish Harlem

Having lived in Chicago, I could not help but feel a sense of civic pride as our hockey team won the coveted Stanley Cup, defeating a very tough Boston Bruins team in six games.

Even though I am not a “paint your face, stand up and cheer in front of the television camera” kind of fan, I nonetheless was caught up in the excitement shared by all Chicagoans as our team reached the pinnacle of hockey supremacy.

However, what created a level of pride that far surpassed the thrill of the cup victory was an unusual demonstration of true sportsman by the team and its ownership.  In an open letter to the City of Boston that appeared in that City’s local newspaper The Boston Globe, Chicago Blackhawks team owner Rocky Wirtz and team president John McDonough wrote the following:

Chicago Black Hawks2

Click to read the Chicago letter to Boston in its entirety . . .

In expressing their appreciation and respect for both the opposing Boston Bruins and the City of Boston itself, the Blackhawks demonstrated the true spirit of sportsmanship, and the values upon which a champion is built.

Over the past several months there have been no shortages of sad and troubling stories from the world of professional sports regarding the conduct of athletes.  Against this backdrop of growing fan disappointment and disillusionment, and similar to that rose in Spanish Harlem that only comes out at a certain time when the stars are gleaming, the Chicago Blackhawks did something that was both rare and moving at a time that their star was shining brightest.  In doing what they did, the Chicago team reminds us of the importance of knowing and acting upon our core values in both victory and defeat, in sports and in everyday life.

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3 responses to “Chicago players and organization demonstrate the true spirit and values of professional sports”

  1. Kelly Barner says :

    I’d like to echo Jon’s sentiments about the Chicago Blackhawk’s recent example of sportsmanship – even as a Boston sports fan.

    Our city has been through a lot over the last three months (was it only three months ago that the Boston Marathon finish line was bombed?). The success the Bruins had in the Stanley Cup finals gave us a diversion and a reason to celebrate when we needed it most. We were collectively proud of their performance. On a more personal level, we were able to applaud the survivors of the bombings as they waved the team flag before the game.

    In a commercially-driven world, what distinguishes the letter by Rocky Wirtz and John McDonough is that they stood to gain nothing for themselves or the Blackhawks by publishing it: nothing more than a return of the goodwill they expressed in the Boston Globe. In a moment when the attention was already focused on them, they graciously acknowledged the Bruins and the people of Boston for their spirit, sportsmanship, and strength.

    Sadly, this awareness of the greater good is not being seen across the board. Citing falling ratings as their reason, CBS declined to renew their contract with the producers of the Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular. If there was ever a year that the event should be televised, it is this year. The fact that the event will still take place (and it will be televised locally) is a demonstration of the independent spirit that made the first July 4th possible.

    What if Wirtz and McDonough were in charge of CBS instead of the Blackhawks? Perhaps they would have televised the event nationally for the sake of national unity and pride rather than worrying about how to maximize revenues. I’m not taking about an altruistic throw over of capitalism in the long term, just one night when the country and the world needed to see the city of Boston rise up and refuse to bend to the actions of a few bad people.

    Congratulations are due to the Blackhawks – in the end they proved themselves to be the better team. At the same time, they also proved that we can all be better people when we keep our eye on the ball… or in this case, the puck.

  2. piblogger says :

    You really said it all Roz in terms of the “importance of knowing and acting upon our core values in both victory and defeat, in sports and in everyday life.”

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