Line change for Wolves blog

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Hello! My name is Grant Lewis and I am a defenseman for the Chicago Wolves. I am your replacement blogger for the time being as my teammate Jamie Rivers recently had his fourth child and has been quite busy to say the least; so I want to start off my congratulating him and wishing him the best. Four children? At my age I don't know much about parenting or trying to keep an eye on four children, but I can imagine that is quite the job. So again, congratulations to Jamie and his wife.



First a little about myself; I was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. My parents still reside there and I try to make it back to see them as much as I can. I spent all of my childhood and was lucky enough to finish high school there as well. In my profession, that is unusual as many of my teammates were forced to move and leave their hometown in order to pursue their dreams of becoming a professional hockey player. Growing up, I spent most of my time on the ice playing for the Pittsburgh Hornets and my senior year of high school I played "Juniors" for the Pittsburgh Forge. After high school, I continued my education and hockey experiences playing for Dartmouth College. Dartmouth is located in Hanover, NH, so similar to many of you Chicagoans, I know what it is like to hibernate indoors throughout these cold winters. During my college career, I was drafted by the Atlanta Thrashers in 2004, and am currently playing for the Wolves, Atlanta's minor league affiliate.

Well, on Wednesday night, as many of you may or may not know, against the Toronto Marlies, we broke a seven game losing streak. We ended up beating them in a shootout so it was a little closer than we would have liked, but we were very happy to get those two points. Our conference and more specifically our division is always such a tight race, so although we are only half way through the season, these points are very important.

Playing for the Wolves has been a great experience for me so far. While most AHL affiliates are in existence to show young and developing players the ropes of professional hockey, the Wolves are much different. With the Wolves, you learn less about the differences between amateur and professional hockey, but more about "winning." For as long as the Wolves have been in existence, I know that we pride ourselves on "winning", not only individual games, but championships as well. We are coming off of a championship season and similar to every other season, the expectations are high, and with a solid returning core from last season, a few very skilled additions, and a highly touted new coaching staff, our expectations for this season should be nothing but the highest. Returning with our new coaches, Don Granato and Jason Christie, and our other assistant coach, Chicago's finest, Wendell Young. Wendell was a huge part in our success last year and has been a huge part of the Wolves success for years dating back to when he was a player himself.

With the expectations set high, our recent losing streak was not a very pleasant time, not only for us as players, coaches and management, but also for our fans. But just like most Chicago fans, our fans have stayed extremely loyal through these rougher times, which we are all very thankful for.

Being a professional athlete is an interesting occupation to pursue. While most people look at professional athletes on a whole and think how lucky they have it to be playing a sport or game that they love for their living, it is not as easy as it sounds. Professional athletes are often considered living their lives "in the spotlight." This is true in many cases as you often hear and read about athletes in the newspaper, whether it be about performances on or off the rink, arena or field. So as an athlete I can tell you, life is good and I personally would not have it any other way, but at the same time, there are many ups and downs and I would like to spend a moment to talk about this. Adversity...a very touchy subject in this profession, but it is something that is very influential to every team. We have faced a lot of adversity over the last few weeks considering our losing streak. It has not been the most pleasant environment coming to the rink everyday with a locker room filled with negative energy and changing personnel. I guess this is the nature of professional sports along with life and businesses on a whole. I will touch on this more in a little. But adversity, all sports teams at every level face it. I believe that great teams are not defined by adversity or lack there of, but are defined in the team's response. With this being said, this next few games and continuing throughout the season, we will see how our team responds. Will we dwell on the lack of success which we have been having or will bounce back and continue the "winning" tradition of the Wolves? I guess only time will tell....

I think we all face adversity within our own individual careers and before I go, I want to touch quickly on my statement from before when I said, "I guess this is the nature of professional sports along with life and businesses on a whole." If you, or your teammate or fellow employee is not performing to his/her potential, they are replaced with someone who is. As uneasy as that may sound, it's the truth. When it comes to our jobs, everyone is replaceable. So my advice to you is work hard, whether it be a simple or complex task, do it to the best of your ability, but don't get caught up in it to the point where you can't enjoy other aspects of your life.

I want to leave you with this story. My sister sent this story to me a long time ago, but it has stuck with me and I want to now pass it along to you. I am not sure who wrote it or where it came from, but it is titled "Two Glasses of Wine". It speaks a lot about adversity and the tough times we all experience throughout a lifetime. I hope you enjoy it.

TWO GLASSES OF WINE

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the 2 glasses of wine...

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls.

He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous "yes."

The professor then produced two glasses of wine from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

"Now," said the professor, as the laughter subsided, "I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things; your family, your children, your health, your friends, and your favorite passions; things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full."

The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, and your car. The sand is everything else; the small stuff.

"If you put the sand into the jar first," he continued, "There is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you."

"Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out to dinner. Play another 18. Do one more run down the ski slope. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls first; the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand."

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the wine represented.

The professor smiled. "I'm glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of glasses of wine with a friend."

Remember, while you are replaceable when it comes to your job, you are nowhere near replaceable when it comes to your family and friends. Whatever your career may be, again, do it to the best of your ability, but as bad as your day of work may ever be, be thankful for the people who mean the most to you. When many of us face adversity in our life, we often want to crawl up into a ball and push everything and everyone else away, but we should be doing just the opposite. We must always embrace the people and things that matter most to us, especially during troubled times. For all of us, our time will eventually come to an end and I promise you that at that moment, when life seem to have passed us by, you will not reflect on those bad days at work, but more on the relationships you have made and the time spent with the people who you care about the most.

Well, I hope you enjoyed this first blog. I have never done this before and I know may have taken off on a bit of a tangent, but what can you do. Have a great weekend and if you have any questions or comments about anything, please feel free to write. I am interested in your perspective and your thoughts so that when I write my next blog, I will know in which direction I should head. Thank you very much for your time.

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20 Comments

Yeah Grant you did write a long blog next time not so much. Are you getting philosophical on us?

The losing streak was hard for us diehard fans to swallow. Some of us never gave up (Steph and her insprational posters). She always was there trying to inspire you guys. After the Rockford game 4 loss last year, some of the guys came out defeated, she was there trying to boost the confidence levels of the players. In your face to those who did not believe.

I give Kudos to the ownership to continuously give Chicago a winning team. The one year the Wolves did not make the playoffs management sent a letter of apology to the ticket holders. I don't know of any other team that has done that. Other than the Bulls I do not know of a Chicago team that has given us 4 championships within a 20 year span. I just wish the Wolves would get the recognition they deserve.

Enjoy your time off during the All-star break.

Great blog Grant!
I really enjoyed reading what you had to say. I was just "googling" around and found it. I read that "Two glasses of wine" email before and think of it from time to time, too.

Just want to say thank you for the "Read to Succeed" at the Crystal Lake Library Tuesday night. My daughter is still on cloud nine about wearing your uniform. We all had a great time.

Keep up the great work on and off the ice.

Go Wolves!!

Welcome to your blog Lewy. You've definitely outdone the other Wolves bloggers on word count LOL. As far as I'm concerned, it's your blog, write what you want, even if it's about tangents and cosines and hypotenuses. Funny and personal is always a hit though. Jamie's comments about Hoff's hotdog eating skills were very amusing. And don't worry about the slump. Somehow, this team always pulls itself up out of the muck. You guys are no different.

Why aren't the Wolves playing Jon Insana?

Tom

Hi Grant - I enjoyed being reminded of the Two Glasses of Wine story - we can all use that outlook in life and at work. I have been a season ticket holder since the Wolves began and always marveled at how gracious the players were when at public events. Not that I don't think you guys aren't nice people or anything, it just seems like an uneasy situation to put you in and you always handle it with professionalism and humor. It's a big reason why the team enjoys such loyal fans - we can relate to you personally. When my kids were little they loved coming to games and getting autographs after, now that they are young adults, they are loyal Wolves fans themselves and bring their friends to games. I guess the advice I would give you on blogging is what was said before - just be yourself. You've gotten off to a great start and I can't wait to read more. Send our congrats to the Rivers on their newest "Griswold". Don't worry about a few losses, your fans won't desert you. I know this team will turn it all around and in this division anything can happen (and usually does). Thanks for taking the time to do this.

The blog is great and not to long at all! I love the honesty, if a fan were to ask a player about playing professionaly they just respond with the classic "It's great!" Most people don't think about the buisness side of the team until the time comes to pay for their tickets. You talked about the team being down after the loosing streak and it was honestly weird to picture you being down! As a person you seem very upbeat, always smiling and very nice to the fans. Thank you for your hard work on and off the ice!

The blog is great and not to long at all! I love the honesty, if a fan were to ask a player about playing professionaly they just respond with the classic "It's great!" Most people don't think about the buisness side of the team until the time comes to pay for their tickets. You talked about the team being down after the loosing streak and it was honestly weird to picture you being down! As a person you seem very upbeat, always smiling and very nice to the fans. Thank you for your hard work on and off the ice!

Fantastic blog Grant! I really enjoyed this blog and the story. As for the streak, I think it did bring the team closer together and help open their eyes to getting back on the right streak. So again thanks for blogging and I can't wait for the next one. Good luck with these next 2 games and enjoy your well deserved all-star break. See ya back in Chicago.

p.s Happy Belated Birthday!

I have to say that Dartmouth education has paid off for you Grant LOL!
Must say I am very impressed and enjoyed what you wrote and being it was your first you get an A. The article about the mayo jar and the 2 glasses of wine was a great story and life is too short to take things too seriously. Also what you wrote about hard work is also true. The losing streak I know was not a fun time for you and the guys but as a fan of the Wolves I can say that I never gave up. But as a psychology major perhaps what you had learned could be passed on to your teammates. Of course you don't have to charge them for listening to you. One day I hope to see you play in the NHL and with your hard work and good attitude you will get there.

Good luck and LET'S GO STEELERS! #3 is the man!

Hey, Grant! Your Atlanta-Based Fan Club is thrilled to see your blog. Keep it up, please! We do our best to keep up with you. And whenever you want to share a glass of ultra-fine fruit of the vine, you know we are glad to provide it. Go Wolves!


Mr Lewis,

Welcome to your first blog experience. I remember when Brian was doing them last season. Nice to see a different perspective on things. You will do fine. Being straight forward and honest that's first and foremost. Everything else will just fall into place. The team will be fine as well.

Wow. I knew you were a great guy from talking to you on the concourse, but I never would have guessed that the fun loving smile came from thoughtful perspective and a choice to be happy. Excellent!

Grant,
That was a very impressive blog. I normally do not read blogs but my sister knows I am a huge fan of yours! You are quite intelligent & a very talented player on the ice. Thanks for all you do!
Dawny

Hey Grant,

Great first entry, if a little long! Good to meet you at the recent Season Ticket Holders Party, we enjoyed that evening and loved seeing all the players.
Too bad that the two recent games in Canada were losses, thought you played pretty good in Hamilton, but the Marlies were too strong for you last night.

See you at the next home game on Thursday.....

GO Wolves!!!! We howl for you in section 108...........Owwwwwwww!

That was a really good entry, maybe just a bit too long, but that is alright I tend to go over board on my English papers. But losing streaks are tough, the players get negative which makes the fans negative or vis versa. But the thing that every player needs to know is that, like my poster said, Winning attitudes (can) win games. I am making another poster for Thrusday's game, so be looking for it and make sure the players see it. I remember telling Matt, at a read to succeed, to tell you guys, though I doubt that he did, that it takes a single person to speak their mind, but it takes a team to inspire. Here I am writing away after telling you that you wrote too much, sorry, but i have just 1 more thing? Since I am taking Intro to Psychology, do you think that you can help me; seeing that you are a Psychology Major. See you on Sunday and don't forget to look for my poster.

So, you only have one sister?

I thought this blog was not too long at all. As a fan who has followed the wolves for quite sometime I think its great to hear from a young professional athlete who delivers such honesty. I have met Grant off the ice and I have watched him on the ice. He is a great guy and I look forward to reading more blogs and watching more games. You can tell he is a Dartmouth Grad!

Mr Lewis,

Within the last few games it has been refreshing to see that the team has begun to re-connect. For a while there it seemed as if the team wasn't working with each other. Now there is better communication, passing of the puck and more honest to goodness shots on goal that are made with some real effort. Granted the team was in a bit of a slump, but then you guys ALWAYS pull out of it. Sometimes I think the slumps are good n a way. They tend to be the kick in the hynie that the team needs in order to be made aware that something isn't working. A new direction if you will needs to be made or changes. Whatever. The point is that you guys have gotten back to the serious hockey that I know that each and every one of you are capable of executing with the skill and focus that is necessary to win games.

The loss to Milwaukee the other night did hurt I'm sure, but the 5-4 loss was not without serious effort. You all tried. You all fought and hung in there. Then when taking on Houston the fire was all there.

When you guys lose focus and not concentrating it shows. When you are up by a few points the team tends to get laxed and something gets missed. Then the opposing team is able to swoop in and re-gain control. Why? When they get one goal you just seem to give up. Then another and another. You can't get deflated and feel defeated when all it takes is for the team to re-group, relax and above all FOCUS!!!

The right formulas have been placed into play recently. More so than in the past month or so and that I can see is discouraging. Not just for the fans, but as you've mentioned in the blog, for the team as well. When you guys run into a slump that isn't the time to give up and say "oh well, maybe next time." That next time may be too late.

So it's good that obviously the team is back on the right track and is REALLY working together as a unit as opposed to the one-man show that was going on before. If the shot isn't really possible then pass the puck to the guy waiting in the wings. That person may be in better position to execute the shot. Once the team realized that and worked at that things got better.

Keep up the good work and again, have fun with the blog as well as on the ice.

GRANT!

Your blog rocked. It moved me to tears. Keep up the good work. And see you on the ice! Ciao!

Hey Scruffy,
I'm glad you have your own blog. It made me get a better feel for you. I've met you at numerous events as well as the night in Milwaukee when you were waiting outside the Bradley Center and you gave me a hug and you thanked me for coming out to support you guys. I think the world of you and the boys especially our bad boy poster child Hoffman!
It is wonderful to see that you have more playing time this season I think when the time is right you will make a wonderful addition to the NHL.
I do have a question that I keep forgetting to ask you probably because ole Hoff is around, but why did you change jersey numbers?
Finally, stop going in the pokey if you are not fighting. It upsets my nerves.... LOL

Your Divalicious One

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About the blogger


Chicago Wolves defenseman Grant Lewis is playing in his second professional season. The 23-year-old blueliner is a native of Pittsburgh and was a member of Chicago's 2008 Calder Cup Championship team. Prior to going pro, the Atlanta Thrashers' second choice, 20th overall, in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft spent four years playing for Dartmouth College (ECAC).

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This page contains a single entry by Roman Modrowski published on January 22, 2009 4:41 PM.

Giving thanks - for playing on the Wolves was the previous entry in this blog.

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