Tarasenko a reason to have faith in athletes

Tarasenko a reason to have faith in athletes

6 29 17

By Eric Becker

Sports Extra

Athletes do not have as glamorous a life as one might think.

Yes, they are talented individuals in their respective sport, but having to perform at a high-octane level every game has to take its toll. Particularly on baseball players, who have a 162-game season.

NFL football has a 16-game schedule, but it’s a brutal contact sport. The NBA and NHL each have 82-game seasons. Again, there’s a lot of wear and tear put on the physical body in these sports as well.

Then they have to answer questions from the media, where some cities are much more critical on their athletes as others.

Lonzo Ball was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers last week. His father is one of those people who can’t have enough media coverage for his son. I think he’s too eccentric for my tastes, but, whatever.

While some athletes crave the media attention, there are others who do get it. They understand what matters most – the team over the individual.

One such athlete is the St. Louis Blues’ Vladimir Tarasenko. He’s quite a great hockey player, but now, I regard him highly as a person as well.

He recently wrote a first-person account of his story on a website called theplayerstribune.com.

In the article, Tarasenko describes his growth as a player from his early days in Siberia to his days as a star in the National Hockey League.

But he understands his job. He understands what’s expected of him, and when it doesn’t happen, he gets upset.

The Blues didn’t really have a complimentary scorer to Tarasenko during the playoffs this past year.

It was fine in round one as they beat Minnesota, but against Nashville, the Predators hounded Tarasenko. He didn’t have a good series scoring against the Predators. He owned up to it in the article.

“In playoffs, I didn’t score enough. I am sorry for St. Louis. I feel like I didn’t do as much as I should. I know we had World Cup in September, new coach, players injured – but are there excuses? No. Excuses – it’s for loser. And I am not loser. I am winner.”

Whoa, that’s a breath of fresh air to hear an athlete tell it like most of us casual fans feel.

Tarasenko’s grandfather taught him some valuable lessons growing up about competition. The hassles of having to take 30-hour bus rides to a tournament as a youth. Practicing until he got mentally strong.

The article is terrific. I highly recommend reading it. He thanks the city of St. Louis and teammates for helping him feel welcome when coming to a new country five years ago.

He’s become one of the leaders of the NHL on the ice, but possibly even more important, a leader off the ice.

I love reading stories such as this. Such an inspiration. Whenever you’re having a bad day, just find something good to read, something you enjoy to do – just make your day a little brighter.

***

Had my first experience of Ted Drewes frozen custard last week. It’s not really in my neighborhood, but I just happened to be a few miles away at the time and decided to stop by for some premier frozen custard. My wife has lived in St. Louis her whole life and still has never been to Ted Drewes.

It was pretty good stuff. Can’t go wrong for $2.50 for a medium sundae. The cherries were all chopped up and sprinkled around the sundae. The cherry juice added a nice touch to the treat.

While it was a pain in the rear trying to get home from the location due to various traffic construction snafus, it really was nice to try something different.

I encourage people once in a while to get out of your normal routine. I have more routines than everybody who reads this put together.

But sometimes, living life to the fullest means stepping out of your comfort zone. I wish I could travel to more places around the country, but financially its not possible. So, try new things close to where you live. Can’t be all that bad.