Hi Jeff: I wanted to write a funny story to you.
Jack has been a camper of yours for many sessions: Marlboro vacations, Milton summer, Kents Hill summer and so on. We always talk about the skills competitions at the end of each session. Last year, up at Kents Hill, when I went to see him after the first of his two weeks, he announced that he was runner up in the handshake contest. Forget fastest skater or anything else…handshake contest.
Fast forward to this past fall and winter when he was applying to prep schools and visiting campuses and so on. I don’t think one person shook his hand without commenting “Wow, what a great hand shake!” I kid you not. He looks everyone in the eye, offers a nice firm shake and speaks right up. While I worked with him on this for years, I think you had the largest influence on this skill!
Just to complete the story, he will be attending St Paul’s as a freshman this fall. While there wasn’t room on the application to make note of Runner-up, Pro Ambitions Handshake Contest, Summer 2011, I remain convinced that a kid who has the confidence to step up with a firm handshake and an engaging smile and voice creates a great first impression and has an impact on how others view him. Obviously, you do too. So, if parents ever say “what does this have to do with hockey?”, I will say “nothing, but handshakes and hockey help shape boys into young men.”