Why I love John Scott

John Scott is a hockey player. He made it to the NHL by working hard and adapting his play. He’s worked with what he’s been given (which is a lot, admittedly), and accepted who he is and how he’s been treated throughout his bumpy career. He didn’t get mad (at least in public) about what was happening to him – when he was bounced from team-to-team; when people voted him an All-Star as a joke; when he won that vote and was promptly traded; when he was demoted to the minor leagues; when the NHL told him to not accept the nomination and just go away. He rolled with the punches the whole time – ironic, given his reputation as a fighter in the NHL – took it one step at a time, not knowing how it all would end.

No one could have predicted this end.

His whole hockey career was a risk and a dream. He took a gamble trying to be in the NHL in the first place. He was never one of the better players trying to make it, considered too big and slow to go far. An engineering grad from Michigan Tech, Scott always felt that he would simply be “sitting in an office at GM back in sleepy Ontario, in my suit, and happy as hell about it” when he was done with school. But one day he had the chance to try to become a professional athlete, and he took it. Put the security of a cubicle aside, and gave it his all.

Scott worked hard in the minors before getting the call to be in the NHL. He changed his style of play from stay-at-home defenseman to goon (“I embraced [the role], because it was my way forward, not because it was my nature”). This role both helped him carve out a niche in the NHL and position himself as a player never to be taken seriously. So people didn’t, and it was because of this that fans decided to mock the popular vote and choose him to play in the All-Star game. Fans chose Scott to be an All-Star because, well, he wasn’t one. He was a guy who, since 2009, moved from Minnesota to Chicago to New York (NYC, then Buffalo) to San Jose to Phoenix so he could play the game. He’s scored five goals in six seasons. On the ice, he was a fighter, not a lover, and not a scorer.  Throughout the All-Star voting process, Scott knew who he was. He knew he wasn’t an All-Star – at least not in the commonly thought of sense of the word.

Then John Scott became an All-Star. He won the popular vote, which meant he was to become the Captain of the Pacific Division team. Then he wasn’t an All-Star, because he was traded to Montreal, then demoted to the minors, and thus to Newfoundland. John Scott was an All-Star with no team – not even a place in the NHL. The League Commissioner even said he didn’t belong.

But John Scott is an All-Star. He continued to capture the hearts of the public not by asking for pity, but by simply not giving up. He took each day as it came, seeing each moment and taking every breath. He reverted back to his original self – the gentle giant – and eventually the NHL let him go to Nashville to lead his team.

Then John Scott became an All Star. He scored two goals in the elimination game, contributing to the upset of the Central Division. The public behind him once again, voted him the MVP of the tournament. His teammates carried his 6’8” self on their shoulders to celebrate (photo credit).

John Scott

Now, Scott has reported to Newfoundland. He may never play another game in the NHL. Soon, he may take an engineering job where he sits in a cubicle and be “happy as hell about it.” His fifteen minutes of fame has come and gone.

John Scott is still an All-Star.

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