At best, I consider myself a casual hockey fan. I don’t follow all the games, only occasionally glance at the standings as the season goes on. As a sport, it is full of action and excitement, although sometimes I have trouble following the speeding puck. I was watching a game on a slow, lazy Sunday, and a small act of kindness caught my eye.
One of the players on the Washington Capitals, who were visiting the New York Rangers, was speaking and gesturing to someone behind the bench. At first I thought it was some trash talking between the player and a fan. As is the case in professional and even college sports, some fans feel as though they can spout off anything that comes to mind since they purchased a ticket, and sometimes players will respond. At the end of the exchange, the player tossed one of the game pucks to a child in the stands. He was proudly wearing a New York Rangers jersey, as was his parents, but it didn’t seem to mind for the Capital player. There were smiles all around and the camera quickly went back to the game action.
For the visiting player, he gave a puck to a child, and soon was back in the game, trying to win. It was a small gesture, and for hockey players, or players of any team, tossing a puck or ball to a fan may not stand out during the length of the season. For the child in the game today, he interacted with a member of the opposing team in a positive manner, and has a game puck to bring home. Years from now, I guarantee this child will remember this day. This young Ranger fan may not actively root for the Capitals, but I guarantee he will have a long lasting, positive memory.
These small acts of kindness add up over time. People often think that change is daunting. They feel that their actions may not make a difference, and may not act as a result. They may say “why should I recycle, my effort is like a drop in the ocean,” or “why should I vote, it doesn’t matter,” or maybe “why should I try because so many are actively working against me.” I’ve heard people say these things so many times, but any time you can act to make a difference, it adds up. Positive actions will always return positive results.
I had a friend commit suicide many years ago. There were some problems that he felt he could not overcome. I often wonder if someone had acted in some way to make him feel appreciated or valued more, would it have been the difference? It may have been just a quick greeting or asking how he was doing, or an offer to go do something together. I didn’t know he was in a depressed state of mind, and much to my dismay, even after all these years later, I’ll never know if I could have done something that would have made a difference.
As we go through each day of life, seek out the little things that you can do to make a difference. Smile at someone. Thank a military service member for their dedication. Thank someone for being there for you. Inquire about someone’s well-being. Or give a child a puck when on the bench waiting for your next shift on the ice. In order to make a difference, you don’t have to undertake a Herculean effort, but can perform these small acts of kindness. If everyone did just a little more, things would change.
Small acts of kindness will change the world, so go out and make a difference.