Eisbären can still be Kings

Crosscontinental sister cities Berlin and LA share the same owner with regard to their pro hockey teams.

I was lucky to have spent two semesters at USC, where I practiced with the Trojan’s hockey team and met a pivotal friend who now lives in Berlin; the City of Angels is part of my life experience’s DNA.

So it was harder for me to accept the Kings sweeping loss to the Golden Knights, who are already writing history, on and off the ice, with the world’s most entertaining pre-game show and rows of local fans who are embracing the first major sports team in Sin City.

Tonight, record champion Eisbären Berlin, who are down 2-1 in the finals against Munich’s caffeine water branded team, need a win to keep the series balanced. I can’t help to see David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest corporate subsidies analogy when I see the jersey.

The Ice Bears are big in Berlin, tickets for both final home games sold out in a few hours, fans showed up in yesterday’s local night show and even the LA King’s Bailey is game. It won’t be easy against Munich though, they have a strong defense and plenty of offensive depth.

German miracle on ice, to be continued

After beating Canada as olympic pioneers, the front pages of German newspapers actually took notice for the first time in history

I first hit the ice as a five year old kid in Highland Park, Illinois, where I learned how to skate and shoot. I made my rounds in the rink and was immediatly hooked to the world’s fastest team sport.

Back in Germany as an eight year old, I picked up the nuances of the game’s team spirit, as well as the ability to quickly read scoring opportunities. I played in one of Germany’s best youth programs for three years, and still is, in Mannheim.

One of the most influential ideas on how to play the game was my experience at a hockey camp, Huron Hockey School, in Canada. It was the read and react concept that stayed, to get a grip on it’s speed, grace and grit in the motherland of hockey.

Being a hockey player or fan in Germany is akin to rugby’s visibility in the United States. Finding a public place to watch international tournaments, forget about it, let alone find someone to watch with besides your hockey buddies; the media pretty much ignores it.

 A small black, red and gold flag sits in balcony plants of an unrenovated apartment building in Berlin, on the day of the olympic final between OAR and Germany

Despite that, the national league, DEL, fills more seats than any other sport in Germany, only second to soccer, aka football. For some reason that never transferred into any other sphere of media, higher number of active players or boosted local fan fare, yet the times are changing.

Thanks to Germany’s record NHL player and head coach, Marco Sturm, who has a major stake in decision making from the bottom up, he’s planted the strongest seeds we’ve ever seen grow. This miracle run to the finals is not a fly by night, Sturm, which means forward by the way, it’s the beginning of a new era in German hockey.

Now it’s time to work harder at Powerplay 26, a program from the national hockey federation, to improve competitiveness on multiple levels. From building new rinks to improved cooperation between all leagues and sound investments in better youth programs.

Most importantly, it’ll be hockey moms and dads who are the baseline of Powerplay 26 and can carry the legacy of Pyeongchang, they’ll bring the kids to the rinks, cheer in the bleechers and influence other parents to follow suit. Hopefully by then, we’ll see more cover stories in German media about how to score with style and efficiency, our world class goalies and the strongest team spirit on ice.

Boundaries of Compassion

I’m happy to be alive in this time of age. I can live to be over 80 as a man, I can easily access one of the last frontier countries on planet earth, New Zealand, if I want to. I have access to affordable health care and can take paid parental leave for twelve months for my new born child, if I want to. I can choose from an array of media sources on the interwebs to attain the closest account of the truth possible.

I’m impressed about refugees, who arrived in masses last year, getting their first pay checks in their new jobs, which makes me proud, especially as a German. I’m also content about Berlin’s reaction to the fear machine, been there, done that, it’s so 1933.

Even though 2016 has been a mighty dirty dust in the wind, unity is more common than division and those who understand our misperception of being stuck inside our skin, where we outsource happiness to us versus others, are those who hold the light for others.

What we need is more compassion and a whole lotta less fear to fix our problems on planet earth. Yet, we still need clear boundaries of compassion as inspiration for those who are strongly attached to their ego, simply lost in the universe, sleepwalk in daylight with their headphones or pray to superficial signifiers.