Ahhh, the sounds of an NHL Hockey game…the cheering of happy fans, the familiar voices of enthusiastic commentators and the signature organ music…its all music to Mike’s ears. The National Hockey League took a three week time out for the Winter Olympics and Mike is glad the NHL is back in full swing, even though he really enjoyed watching the Olympics.
We had the Olympic games on almost all day everyday. It was exciting, it was exhilarating and it was a little nerve racking. It’s so much more than sporting events and the world’s finest athleticism, its incredible stories of determination, self sacrifice, and teamwork. We were brought to tears many times witnessing perfect performances, record breaking feats, devastating mistakes, wins, losses and extraordinary comebacks.
We will never forget the woman’s gold medal hockey game between Canada and the US. Talk about a “comeback”! Mike says it was one of the greatest comebacks in hockey history. The Canadian women were down two nothing with less than four minutes to go in the third period. Both teams playing brilliantly and the Americans surely thinking they got this one, Canada scores with only 3 minutes and 20 seconds left in the game. And then they score again with only 55 seconds left in the game. And then they score in overtime to win the game and take the gold!
It was a lesson for all of us…never give up! It was a great reminder…it’s not over until its over! It was a profound statement…every minute counts! It’s quite like how we started thinking when Mike was diagnosed with a terminal illness.
A few of the Canadian women left a note on the men’s locker room door before the men’s semi-final game against the US. In part it said, “Tonight is yours. Own the moment. We are proof that every minute matters….Earn every inch, dictate the pace and go get em!”
The men won that semi-final game 1 - 0 and went on to win the gold medal game against Sweden, 3-0. Wow, that’s great, but back to the women - how excellent of them to educate us on what a difference five minutes can make. They didn’t give up, they knew “its not over until its over” and they finished extremely well…every minute matters indeed!
It reminds me of a friend of mine — a friend who finished well. On a number of occasions throughout the course of our friendship, she had kindly declined any invitation to hear about my faith and the Lord I worshiped and followed. A week before she died, even though very ill, she still wasn’t really interested in talking about God or being prayed for. But only a few days after that, conscious but unresponsive, laying in her hospital bed waiting to escape her sickly body, she had a change of heart.
I sat beside her and took her hand in mine. Before I said anything about God, I told her what a good wife and outstanding mother she was. I told her what a beautiful person she was inside and out. And I told her what a wonderful friend she was and how she enriched my life.
Then I simply told her about God’s incredible love for her. How Jesus was waiting for her with open arms. How she could right there and then open the door and invite Him in… accepting Him as her Lord and Saviour. I said a prayer and told her she could pray along with me in her heart to receive forgiveness and peace. When I finished, she rubbed her thumb on the top of my hand and thanked me for coming. We spent the rest of our visit basking in God’s goodness and a couple of days later she went to be with Him. She fought hard, she finished well and every minute mattered!
Yesterday (Mar 7) marked the 3rd anniversary of Mike’s diagnosis. I am so proud of him. Still content and still so brave, he is finishing well, but it isn’t over until its over. Every minute definitely matters, and we give thanks for each one of them.
If only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me — the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace. Acts 22:24
Madison and Hayley Wickenheiser played in the same hockey league last year (CIS). Wickenheiser at the University of Calgary and Madison at neighbouring University, Mount Royal. Wickenheiser is considered the best female hockey player of all time. She has won four olympic gold medals and one silver. What a great opportunity for Madison to check Hayley and keep her from scoring any goals!
Madison has since made the very difficult decision to leave her hockey scholarship and a team and coaches she loves and move back home to be with her family and spend what time is left with her dad. She played hockey this season with local team, The Mouse. She enjoyed playing for her old coaches and with long time friends. It's great hockey -- very competitive -- super talented players!
Above pic - Mount Royal Cougars, below pic - Mount Royal and U of C shake hands post game.