Most of you have probably never heard of my favourite hockey player before. He wore #15 for the Montreal Canadiens. He stood 5’8″ and weighed in at a spritely 180lbs. In his NHL career, he tallied 31 goals and 80 points over 192 games, before disappearing into the depths of international leagues.
His name was Paul DiPietro.
Moments of attention, frozen in time
I’ve written before about how autographs are nothing more than souvenirs from moments of individual attention. This is a story about how that single moment can shape a relationship forever. This is a story about remembering the little things, if you’re lucky enough to become a big thing.
Hearing the name Paul DiPietro, will invoke dusty memories of the early 1990′s for hockey fans. The kid blazed into the league and sparked the Canadiens to a Stanley Cup victory in 1993; scoring twice in the championship clinching game.
I was probably one of the first fans to send him a letter asking for an autograph.
I know this, because there was no hockey card to send; he hadn’t been around long enough to have one.
I know this, because the response came back in a matter of days; he obviously wasn’t getting a lot of mail.
I know this, because the response I got was real: a hand-written letter folded around a photograph. A 4×6 photograph, signed with ballpoint pen, printed on Kodak photo paper – as if freshly developed from a roll of film (I’m sure it was).
It was so fresh, so real, so exactly what a sports-crazed-kid wanted. As we grew up, my friends went through phases of sports heroes; jumping on bandwagons, following trends. Although he disappeared from the spotlight as soon as he entered it, my favourite hockey player was locked in.
That photo hung on my wall for the next 10 years.
We were all rookies, once upon a time
There’s more here than a romantic tale about boyhood heroes – a lot more.
Let’s take a trip down memory lane; back to your rookie season doing whatever it is you call your job.
Think about your first sale. Think about your first satisfied customer. Think about the first email you received; your first phone call; your first opportunity to make someone’s day.
Think about what it was like when you were hungry; when everything was new, and every single person mattered.
Are you still there? Or has the daily grind transformed you into a grizzled veteran, with shortcuts to get things done faster, content just knowing the cheque is coming at the end of the month?
We desperately need more rookies. Keep your eyes open for the next potential kodak moment. You could gain yourself or your organization a new fan for life.