When Tampa Bay Lightning Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman announced today that Steven Stamkos would not be medically cleared in enough time to allow him to make the trip to the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia with Team Canada, you could almost hear the sighs of the Tampa Bay Lightning faithful ring out from around the city.
However, today’s series of events illustrates something that not everyone wants to hear, nor can everyone do on their own, but something that has to be done on occasion whether we like it or not; making tough decisions.
I am sure that Steven Stamkos is incredibly disappointed that he will not be able to represent his native Canada in Sochi for the Olympics. In fact, here is what he said earlier today via the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Official Site.
Today is obviously very disappointing for me,” Stamkos told the Lightning’s official site. “I honestly believe that we did everything possible in order to have my injured leg ready in time for the Olympics, but I realize you can’t force healing. I know, in the best interest of my long term health, I cannot represent Canada in Sochi, as much as I would like to. I would like to thank the training staff for their dedication and hard work and I look forward to returning to the Lightning once cleared by the medical team.”
As you can see, Stamkos was really hoping to be able to make the trip, but after today’s visit with his physicians, he realized that his body was just not ready to take on that kind of workload. As a professional athlete, and really as a living, breathing, human being, he has to think about his long-term health and quality of life. Should he make the trip with his body the way it is, he has a high probability of sustaining a secondary injury; one that could potentially end his otherwise star-studded future.
This is where making smart decisions and knowing when it is just not your time come into play. However, acknowledging that your time is not yet here does not mean giving up; it means working that much harder to be ready when the opportunity comes around once again.
Earlier today, a company named Sport Chek released a video starring the Lightning sniper that illustrates these exact points. Have a look for yourself.
Stamkos knows in his heart that his time will come. He is an incredibly skilled forward with his entire career ahead of him. If he continues to make the right choices and work as hard as he has been over these past few months to be able to make the giants leaps and bounds that he has already made, there will be no stopping him once his leg is fully healed.
This leaves just one job for those of us left to wait here in the Bolts Nation. Our job is to through on our favorite Lightning gear, paint our faces, and make like Sticks of Fire and scream out hearts out for our Tampa Bay Lightning. If there is anything that can fuel the fire inside of their hearts, it’s their Thunder.
Are you ready to Be the Thunder?