McComiskey’s McCorner: CHANGING ON A DIME By Gary McComiskey

Hmmm.  To rant or not to rant.  That is the question.  You see I had a topic all picked out for this month’s column.  Maybe a little light, but it’s summer.  Plus, there’s enough serious things to read about right now without needing me to add to the pile.  But I write these things pretty off the cuff, and I just saw something that really annoyed me.  I guess I’ll start with the intended subject and we’ll see where it goes.

As you may or may not recall, I play ball hockey.  My chosen position is goalie.  At the risk of sounding conceited, I am reasonably skilled in that area.  Of late, however, I have found myself outside of the crease for a few games.  (For the layman: not in goal.)  There are a few reasons for this.  Partly because the pickup “league” in which I play has gotten a few more goalies lately, and I felt it was rude to not take my turns out of the net.  Can’t hog the limelight all the time.  There’s also a health factor to consider.  As it gets hotter, all that gear that the goalie wears can take a toll on you.  Or, at least, it takes a toll on me.  The heat affects me perhaps more than most, and if I play too long in those conditions, I feel it for the next couple of days.  So I have spent a few games lately running around.

I have done this before, sparingly, but by no means regularly.  I played out for a few hours recently, and my body hated me for days.  Full body soreness, jelly legs, perpetual exhaustion.  For days afterward.  My immediate reaction was “I never want to do that again.  Back to the safety of my crease.”  The thing of it is, I wasn’t doing anything out of the ordinary.  Lots of guys that I play with do that every week, and I’m sure they don’t feel that completely wrecked after the fact.  It’s because they’re used to it.

Honestly, I felt the same way five years ago when I first started playing in goal.  New things can be painful and they can be scary.  That’s no reason not to try them anyway.  Playing out of the goal has given me a new perspective on what the “skaters” are facing when they are trying to score on me.  That will, in turn, help me to be a better goalie.  It’s never a bad idea to try and get a different perspective on things.  Why box yourself in?

Trying to “walk in someone else’s shoes” for a bit doesn’t mean that you are rejecting your own viewpoint, it just helps you to understand another one.  I have no intention of giving away my pads and becoming a full time “skater”, for example.  But it does help me to appreciate what the other guys are going through.  Growth is a good thing, not something to be scared of.  A differing point of view or experience is not a threat.  It’s simply a fact of life.  Finding common ground benefits everyone.  (I am of the opinion that nobody is ever entirely right or entirely wrong about anything.  Which is not to say you can’t get pretty close…)

And it gets easier, the more you do it!  I played a game out of the net last weekend, and I was fine the next day.  It’s just a matter of getting used to it.  Conditioning yourself to be open to new possibilities.  The blunt version?  Get over yourself and lose the tunnel vision.

As for the other thing, I’ve done a pretty good job with this article so far, so I won’t go full Lewis Black on you.  Suffice to say, I am infuriated by the concept of accruing wealth as its own end.

I saw a thing in the elevator at work about capitalizing on trends to make a profit. I don’t remember what it said, exactly.  Not important.  But it really ticked me off.  It upset me because what it was really saying was “how you can make money off of someone else’s work.”  If you provide a service or an item with value, you deserve to get paid for your work.  If you have a great idea, you should benefit from that idea.  You.  Personally.  Not the corporation or investment banker that thinks they’d rather get your money instead.

I’m sick of the greed culture.  If your only job is figuring out ways to make money, you are a waste of oxygen.  If you are making money off of somebody else’s back, you are a professional leech.  If you lay off a thousand people to increase your company’s stock price and net yourself a tidy bonus, you have earned an honored place in Hell.  If you enrich yourself in any way by diminishing even one other person, you are selfish, craven, and disgusting to me.

Jesus said to avoid a life of greed.  Jesus said not to exploit people for your own benefit.  Jesus said to render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s.  That’s not some conservative hack twisting the Bible to their own agenda, it is straight from the Shepherd’s mouth.  So maybe give it a little more weight.

I’m all worked up now, so I’m going to bring this to a close.  I don’t have a cute way to tie everything together, this time.  I guess I’ll just reiterate the importance of understanding someone else’s perspective on things.  If only to be able to articulate precisely why they are almost entirely wrong.