The dreamers of dreams
Posted by Dean Holden at April 25th, 2014
by Neil Sheehy, 17 April 2014
Question: I am writing on behalf of my 11-year-old son who plays inline roller hockey and is a player of the Belgian national team. He will take part in the forthcoming world championship in Toulouse in July. Next season, he will start playing ice hockey and he dreams of becoming a NHL player. The only “problem” is he is not a Canadian or Swedish or anything like it. We live in Belgium where ice hockey remains quite marginal in terms of exposure. That said, he is devoted and passionate about the game. Would you have any advice for him in order to help him to achieve his goal and dream considering his background?
Answer: Thank you for your question. As I read your question, I thought of an article that appeared in the Star Tribune before the 2002 Winter Olympics titled “Herb Brooks: Dreamer of Dreams.”
A few excerpts from the article are below (read the entire article here):
“You know, Willie Wonka said it best: We are the makers of dreams, the dreamers of dreams,” Brooks said. “We should be dreaming. We grew up as kids having dreams, but now we’re too sophisticated as adults, as a nation. We stopped dreaming. We should always have dreams.
“I’m a dreamer.”
“I’m still driven by these same dreams,” said Brooks when explaining, after all he has accomplished, why he would put it all on the line to coach in the Olympics again. “I’m driven by the pursuit of perfection as opposed to the quick-fix mentality that I think has engulfed our society today. I’m not talking about the dream team, I’m talking about the dreamers. I’m probably a dreamer more than anyone else.”
Brooks’ dreams these days haven’t changed much from the days when he was knocking around Payne Avenue in St. Paul. He dreams of challenges. He dreams about the pursuit of perfection. He dreams of gathering groups of people and making them believe the impossible is possible.
“He makes you believe you can do anything,” said Mike Ramsey, a member of Brooks’ Miracle on Ice team in 1980.
It’s why he is back coaching the U.S. Olympic team. He wants what he calls “one more kick at the can.” It’s one more chance to dream.
“We should all have dreams,” Brooks said. “My dream is to work with a group of individuals and prepare to do something great.”
What I love about this article is that it illustrates how important it is to dream and prepare to do something great. Your son has a dream of becoming a NHL player. He must follow his passion and drive and put himself in a position whereby his goal is within reach. Belgium is unlike Minnesota. Because the hockey is not at a world-class development level in Belgium, your son most likely would need to leave and play in a development system that produces NHL players by the age of 15-17.
Remember, however, that it is not the dream that is the most important for the overall development of your son, but rather the pursuit of the dream and the preparation to do something great. This is what will stay with your son the rest of his life.
A former NHL defenseman, Neil Sheehy is now a certified NHLPA agent. A native of International Falls, Minn., Sheehy led Harvard to the ECAC championship and the NCAA title game. He later earned an economics degree from Harvard. Sheehy also played for several U.S. National Teams. After his career, Sheehy earned a law degree from William Mitchell College.