Choices. We all have
to make them; most of us have more than a few that we would like to go back and
change. Oh yes, the grand what
if can set the mind
on a whirlwind of day dreams.
The path of least
resistance is often the one most travelled, when the other choice is often the
Greg C. was not your
typical eleven year old growing up. He was an average student, average looking,
but an absolute power on the ice. He was the lord of the game and just about
everyone in his province knew his name.
Greg C.'s career
peaked as a first year bantam, again he was tearing up the province and even
got a late season opportunity to play a bit of junior hockey with one of the B
teams in his area.
Bad choice #1. He
suffered a minor knee injury before his second bantam year and he failed to get
it properly treated. The knee gave him problems for the entire season, and the
schedule never let up enough to allow him to give his knee a rest.
As the can't miss
prospect, he was selected in the first round of the bantam draft by a team that
traded up to be able to select him. There was a lot of pressure riding on the
youngster's shoulders and he made a second bad choice to take the edge off.
Greg's knee injury
continued to get worse and the young sixteen year old increased his level of
alcohol and drug use. His pregame ritual was spent on the training table where
the team wrapped the knee and the doctor gave him the nightly injection.
Greg was able to do
what he does on the ice for the first half of his rookie season, than it
happened. He was blindsided by a 20 year-old goon that was sent to take him
out, little did everyone in the arena know, that it would be the very last time
they would ever see the kid on the ice.
A career ending knee
injury at sixteen years-old, as unfortunate as the story is, It happens more
often than we think.
It was Greg's third
bad choice that really set the path for the rest of his life. One evening he
took his mother's sedan out to meet with a group of older friends. A night of
heavy drinking left Greg in a condition that he should have not been allowed to
drive. Unfortunately for him, and every other person in that car, he was behind
the wheel when the tractor trailer hit them.
The truck driver tried
to hit the brakes, but a light snow covered the roadway and the small
sedan was broadsided with the full force of 80,000 pounds of truck and 65 mph
of momentum. Greg had shot through the stop sign and was hit on the passenger
side of the car. Five of his friends were killed but somehow he
survived. To hear him tell the story, you would think that it was on
that night that he died as well. He was only seventeen years-old.
recovered from the injuries suffered in his accident; he spent a number of
years in prison and was able to turn away from the drugs and alcohol. He was
released a few days after his 25th birthday and tried to start his life
Working as a shift
manager at the burger joint is not what his family, friends, or fans envisioned
for his future, but this is where he is. He realizes that he only has himself
to blame, he is the one that made the choices and he is the one that has to
live with them.
For now, he is happy
where he is. Now pushing thirty he often looks back at those choices and
realizes that there is little to gain from dwelling on the past, and he focuses
on the future with his wife and first child on the way. He only hopes to give
his own children the tools to make better choices than he did.
**Yes, I've told this story before but I think the message is
important enough to tell it again, year after year. Please share with every young
person you know.**
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