Like a lot of kids, Ryan has some wonderfully creative language all his own. We don’t hear much of it anymore, but I cherish the few instances it pops up, a reminder that childhood isn’t quite done.
Among my favorite original phrases is a recent addition. Any fancy goal in hockey, one that involves slick stick work, an end-to-end rush, or both, is a “swoopdie-swoopdie” goal according to Ryan.
This is an example of a swoopdie-swoopdie goal:
Ryan hates swoopdie-swoopdie goals.
There is a reason. With Ryan, there is always a reason. It goes back to his experience playing hockey. Ryan and I had a pep talk in the car on the way to every game. We talked a lot about playing to the maximum of his ability. About doing the things he was good at that could help his team win.
These were honest conversations. Ryan was aware he wasn’t as talented as most of the other kids. We talked a lot about how it requires zero talent to give maximum effort.
Somewhere along the way, he equated players that could skate the length of the ice, dangling the puck around defenders, with pure talent and no effort.
This line of thought may or may not have been cemented by one of TV analyst Mike Milbury‘s frequent between periods blistering critiques of Alex Ovechkin‘s game as all talent, no effort. Ryan determined he would never be a player like that. No swoopdie-swoopdie goals for him.
This is the kind of goal Ryan prefers. It’s the opposite of swoopdie-swoopdie. All will, little skill:
All of Ryan’s goals this year were like the one by David Clarkson above. Banging in rebounds around the net. I convinced him that there is more than one way to play the sport he loves, and more than one way to contribute.
We spent a lot of time watching the NCAA basketball tournament this weekend. I pointed out a “showtime” reverse dunk by Michigan’s Tim Hardaway, Jr. late in a blowout win over VCU, and asked Ryan what he thought of it (click to view).
He was unimpressed, declaring it a swoopdie-swoopdie play.
No matter the sport, it seems there is more than one way to play the game.
It’s an attitude I hope he keeps long after his use of “swoopdie-swoopdie” has been retired.