Give to the World
Wisconsinites pride themselves on their hospitality, kindness, and their Midwestern values, and raise their children to reflect as such. Team sports are one instance in which parents have warranted a way for their children to have the
opportunity to get out of themselves, and understand that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The effort, collaboration, and willful spirit needed in joining forces to capture a victory is just a foretaste of what lies ahead in the complexities of starting a business, winning in the workplace, or raising a family.
Yet, growing up as a teenager in this modern day is counter intuitive to this mission. Teens are saturated with self interest in the form of posts, pics, snaps, or selfies displaying their best days, worst days, and mundane days, everyday; leaving little room for the thought of others, much less special human interest stories like the one I am about to tell you. Every once in while we find in our teens, a charity and kindness that, well, warms the heart.
My nephew, Godchild, and namesake Patrick, affectionately known as Paddy, was recently traded to the Madison Capitals, a USHL team; playing in a league filled with NHL hopefuls. While my wish for him to become a Green Bay Gambler quickly fleeted, his proximity gives me the feasibility to catch a game before the season’s end.All USHL teams require their players to give back to the community with activities such reading to children, packaging food at local food pantries, and one I recently discovered, auctioning off player jerseys for a charitable cause. The Madison Capitols recently teamed up with Northwestern Mutual, Alex’s Lemonade Stand, and the UW Children’s Hospital for an Alex’s Frozen Lemonade Classic.
What endeared this auction even more than the unique yellow jerseys adorned in lemons and the likes was the addition of a helmet, decorated by a pediatric patient.
Paddy’s jersey, #14, accompanied a colorfully decorated helmet with a Lilo and Stitch sticker affixed to the side. These young “artist-patients” had the opportunity to meet with their “player recipient” prior to the game for a brief exchange. Paddy met Aubrey, a bubbly young girl with a beautiful smile, and left their meeting with these parting words: “I’m going to score a goal for you tonight Aubrey.” He mentioned this with sincerity, but without thought, since he had not scored for the Madison Capitals, to date. Upon game time, the artist-patients headed to their VIP seating, sitting directly behind the player box.
Sure enough in the second period with 12:50 to go, Paddy delivered on his promise, shooting a laser right between the pipes, putting the Caps on the board and scoring his first Madison Capital goal! The opportunity to snap a pic for a post to highlight one of those “best days,” diminished quickly.
While Paddy fulfilled his promise to his special friend Aubrey, his sense of duty did not stop there. As most teens would want to display their “black biscuit” prominently upon a hallowed shelf, Paddy, upon receiving that very puck he rocketed into the net minutes prior, turned around, looked for Aubrey and finding her in the stands, handed her the fruits of his promise saying, “This is yours.”
That day, this teenager demonstrated the meaning behind the words that little known 20th century author Madeline Bridges once wrote; “Give to the world the best you have and the best will come back to you.” A motto not just for Paddy to embrace now, but an ethos I am certain he will practice in the future; a lesson that kindness and charity towards others, well, is the real goal.
Footnote: If you are wondering who had the winning bid for Paddy’s jersey and helmet, it was his Godfather. It will serve as a memento, and as a reminder of a great goal, and a lesson to practice.