Last week LA Kings forward Trevor Lewis brought the Stanly Cup home to Salt Lake City. The first Utahn to have his name etched on the Cup, he was much celebrated. His story was in the papers and on the TV News. For the better part of week, he was Utah’s favorite son. The returning victor, he generously brought the Cup to the Maverik Center Arena so that families could have their picture taken with him and Lord Stanley’s chalice. The line snaked out of the building and around it, hockey moms and dads sweating in LA Kings jerseys in the hot Utah sun. Kids running wild.
Tents and tables were set up in the parking lot to capitalize on the crowd. I waited in that line while my two kids got free Trevor Lewis posters, t-shirts, and competed in a bank-sponsored contest to see how many flying dollar bills they could grab from inside a wind-tunnel booth. In turn, each kid was zipped into a clear plastic booth where dollar bills were strewn around the floor. A fan was turned on and the bills danced magically in the air. Thrilled, they were allowed to keep as many as they could grab in 30 precious seconds. I watched as they got early training in Western economics, capitalism 101. There was a line of kids, each of them looking like hockey players, waiting to get in the booth. Fitting, I thought; they don’t know it yet, but they’ll all need money seeking skills to achieve their sporting dreams. Nobody rides for free.
As they snatched the flying lucre, I talked with other dads, mostly about hockey. Predictably, the number one theme was how one knew, or had witnessed Trevor’s rise to athletic greatness. After a while, the stories told, the connections claimed, everyone had their moment of photographic proximity to the Cup. To accommodate the throng, the line was kept moving. Fleetingly, each moment with the Cup as magic as the found money of the wind-tunnel booth, now-sunburned kids posed while frantic dads struggled to snatch the memory with fumbled cameras.
Later, that night, waiting in another line, this time to drink from The Cup, there were more stories swapped among people who had genuinely been involved in Trevor’s athletic story. Gradually it became clear that this was not merely a celebration of Trevor’s magnificent achievement. For this group, it was something more. A narrative of cooperation and shared sacrifice wove its way through the line, informed the photos, filled the Facebook posts.
Trevor’s dad, Randy Lewis, has been a familiar face around Utah youth hockey, and also men’s league puck. A single father of ordinary means, for the better part of two decades he’s played hockey with the same group of guys: on the Dead Goat, the Blazers, the Chiefs, and in Mandryk’s skate on Wednesday nights at Accord Arena. Before Trevor made the big show, when Randy’s family was spending thousands of dollars to keep Trevor in skates and they had spent to their limit, this group of guys stepped up to help bridge the gap. Pete hustled up contributions from corporate types. Ritchie the landscaper scraped together some dough. Everyone kicked in what they could. They didn’t do it because they knew that a day with the Cup was coming. They helped out, in whatever small way, because it was the right thing to do and it made them feel good.
Now Trevor was here with the Cup and, miraculously, the story had found its happy ending. An ordinary kid from an ordinary family in an ordinary place can achieve greatness, if given the right support. No one, not even as gifted an athlete as Trevor Lewis, could do it by himself. Coaches, managers, parents and friends… we all need help. The myth of the talented outlier who beats the world all by himself has proven to be a tired fiction. The truth is better. Stronger. The truth is that by working together we all win. The party that night was a celebration of this spirit. It was a celebration of sport, of a dream come true, and of the power that’s unfurled when many believe in the one.
This narrative is also at the heart of RallyMe. It’s the spirit that I hope we can stoke among your circles, in your sports. In the years to come, I hope for many parties with many trophies that we can look back on and say, Hey we played a small part in making that possible.