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Building Character Through Sports: Hockey Tape Edition

Leaving behind a mess for others is never good. This is true in life, your work, and sports. Leaving trash behind in the locker room from your equipment is not okay. We hockey players shouldn’t be okay with leaving our tape (and other trash) in the locker room after practice or games. It’s a small change. Make it.

If you’re not familiar with hockey, let me explain a key element of how players wear their socks and pads. First, you put your leg pads on. Then you pull your socks over them. Then, 99% of players wrap the sock fairly tightly with tape. After the game or practice you rip the tape off.

Here’s the problem: most players throw the tape. They don’t throw it in the trash where it belongs. No. They throw it wherever. On the floor. On the bench. It doesn’t matter. For years I thought this was normal and ok. But it isn’t.

One of my teammate’s son skates on a mite club team (He's 7 years old). He told me the coach is militant about having the kids clean up after themselves. One of his rules is if you leave any mess you clean up the entire locker room. I like this rule. It teaches the kids that the adults at the rink aren’t there to clean up after them. It teaches them courtesy and manners. It teaches them humanity and class. It teaches them responsibility.

When you’re around a rink long enough, you get to know the staff. They become your friends, your teammates, your practice partners, and the people that answer your questions. They become people who help you solve your problems (hockey-related or just in life). Worst case, they are just people you see, smile at, and greet every day at the rink. Don’t make these people – or any people – have to clean up your trash.

Take your tape off, stand up, and walk to the trashcan. You’ll feel better.

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