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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Finish Your Check

This entry is a re-post of a blog entry that I wrote at another site some time ago. I have edited somewhat so that it is current and makes sense for today's date ...

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I love hockey. I bought my first Koho hockey stick when I was about eight years old at a Kmart, along with a plastic puck. I didn't have a pair of skates. I'd either play on the street in my shoes (this is back during the times of roller-skates. There were no roller-blades), or in the winter, I'd wait for the street to ice over. And then I'd run and slide on my shoes, practicing my puck handling. The neighbor kids and I would jury-rig together pieces of wood and our sleds, to act as goals. I love those memories.

Now when I mention my love of the game in some circles? I often hear ones voice the belief that ... hockey is a game that is violent by it's very nature.

Nonsense. Players are violent. Games are not violent. If you don't believe me, you should play golf with my older brother when he's having a bad day.

I've played hockey for years. In fact, I have a good group of guys that enjoying playing the game from time to time. I wouldn't think twice or hesitate for a moment to jump in the rink with them. Why? Because they don't play and act like idiots. I know them, and trust them. They know that you don't have to slam into a guy, lifting up your feet at 400 miles an hour to check him into the boards. There is no reason to act in an insane manner. We have fun. But make no mistake. We also compete, and play hard. But we understand the difference between a good 'check' which accomplishes it's purpose ... and checking into someone like you want to take their head off. Because it's funny that when you come into the rink with a lot of emotion and anger? It actually becomes more difficult to finish your checks properly.

In fact, there is a funny story there ...

Usually, our group of friends who play? Well, for the sake of clarity in this story, we'll call them “The Guys”. Well, the thought is to divide up teams and play one another every few weeks. The teams differ each week. There are enough of “The Guys” to do this. Well … it seems another group of hockey 'players' (through a friend of a friend) heard about "The Guys" games, and wanted to join and play. The Guys thought this to be a good idea. It'd provide the opportunity to hone some line-change skills, and play a different group, with a different set of skills. So this second group that comes along? We'll call them “The Look-Goods”.

The Look-Goods show up. And are they ever. They have the best CCM Vector U skates. They have the stretch mesh undershirts with regulation, CCM hockey jerseys. I think one of their jerseys was even signed by a player.

So “The Guys” stand around ... waiting for the "Look Goods" to “dress up”. And of course, the trash-talking begins on the part of the Look Goods. This isn't a little bit of friendly ribbing. Of course not. They have to cross the line. Fine. Whatever. Finally, the game starts. And as was figured, the hard checks begin. Well, I should clarify. They were attempting hard checks. Because they never could seem to finish their checks. One of the “Look Goods” would come in flying at a million miles an hour, only to find a face full of plastic as one of The Guys turned in time to avoid him. Which of course, only increased the trash-talking on the part of the “Look Goods”.

The Guys never really sunk to that level. There were new opportunities to try different lines, and line-changes. There were opportunities to try different forms of defense. Boy oh boy where their opportunities. If memory serves, The Guys won the game, something like 7 to 2.

The only bit of what some might call trash talking on the part of The Guys? Was my brother-in-law as the game broke up. He skated over to another one of The Guys and just quietly said …

Yeah … that was a clinic ...

We sort of laughed. But we wouldn't talk in that manner to the “Look Goods”. We were all taught that it was poor sportsmanship to resort to that sort of conduct.

It's funny how you find, very much the same dichotomy of mindsets in this industry. You have those who are quietly content to go about their business. Some try to help other traders hone their skills, looking work hard for the bottom line: profitability. They are confident in their skills, and in their market calls.

The proof of their class? Is that they don't need to act in a haughty manner toward one another. They look to learn from one another. Of course, there may be a bit of friendly ribbing thrown in for good measure. In short, they're skilled players, who conduct themselves as adults. I'd compare them to a Hank Zetterburg or Nick Lidstrom.

Of course ... in this business and industry, you also have the “Look Good” crowd. There are other traders want to step into the rink and talk trash. We're not talking about friendly ribbing over a bad trade. I can't tell you the number of times I've seen some supposed hot-shot trader call out other traders with such juvenile lines as “Oh he's probably just some idiot, go against his picks“, or something as equally as childish. Usually they are “look goods” who can't see past their own skill set to see what they can learn from other traders. Perhaps they have enjoyed some success in the past. Because of that? Because they have the 'latest pads and equipment' as it were? Because what they have seems flashy and catchy? They seem to think they are the next Hank Zetterberg. They're not. In short, they are poor sports.

And they never follow through. They're usually too busy "pumping" and selling their systems that I wonder how they have time to do anything else ...

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