Lessons Learned From The San Jose Sharks

The crowd, the fans, the player—no one could believe it. On Wednesday night, May 25, SAP Center erupted into complete and utter pandemonium as history was made. For the first time in 25 years, the San Jose Sharks were moving on to the Stanley Cup Finals. As tears rolled down the fans’ faces and players hugged each other, Dan Rusanowsky, the Shark’s game-day radio commentator since 1991, kept screaming the four words: “They can’t believe it!”

I’ve been a Sharks fan since 2011. All it took was one game at “The Tank” during my freshman year of high school, and I fell in love with the team. However, the Sharks were not known to be a team of success.

As some said, they would “choke” in the playoffs, often making it past the regular season but never, in 24 years, advancing to the final round. Sharks players and fans, including myself, would get their hopes up, only to be let down year after year. So when the Sharks finally punched their ticket into the Stanley Cup Finals May 25, it was a monumental victory. The Sharks broke through more than just a “playoff curse”, they broke past everyone’s expectations.

Even though they lost it this past week, it was a victory in itself that they got to Game 6 in the finals.

How did the Sharks make it to the finals? Resilience, teamwork and faith—three ingredients it took to beat the odds. This doesn’t just apply for the Sharks; those three things are needed to overcome any challenge. Aside from hockey, I’ve seen this happen countless times at a program called E-Soccer. Being a volunteer coach for eight years now, I have seen kids with special needs break past expectations. By pushing themselves and learning to play soccer with others, kids with special needs start taking bigger risks and end up believing in greater goals.

These goals are athletic, but also social. At the end of the day, I go to bed with a victory knowing that the kids exceeded their own and other people’s expectations.

Knowing the Sharks are experiencing that same feeling, I become more and more excited to help at E-Soccer. It’s one thing to see change happen. It’s a completely different thing to make it happen!