Hockey & Serving ©

For those of you sports aficionados, you probably think I’ve gotten my sports confused; after all, “Serving” goes with tennis, right?. Yes, but I’m thinking about a different kind of serving. Let me explain.

Last night three of my sons and some of our grandchildren went to see our own Macon Mayhem hockey team win the season championship cup against the Peoria (Illinois) Rivermen in a hard fought 2-1 victory. It was probably the largest crowd they’ve had all season in the Macon Centreplex Coliseum and at times the noise was deafening but that’s part of what makes it fun, right?

It was very exciting, especially being there with my grandson Luke, who may be the Mayhem’s most loyal fan. The whole experience took me back to the eight wonderful years we spent in Brantford, Ontario, home of Wayne Gretzky , arguably Canada’s most famous sports celebrity of all time . For those of you not familiar with him, here’s a short bio: Wayne Gretzky, born January 26, 1961 is a Canadian former professional ice hockey player and former head coach. He played twenty seasons in the National Hockey League (NHL) for four teams from 1979 to 1999. Nicknamed “The Great One”, he has been called “the greatest hockey player ever” by many sportswriters, players, and the league itself.

Brantford , about 60 miles west of Toronto, was a wonderful place to raise a family partly because of the wonderful Gretzky center that provided year round indoor hockey and swimming facilities for the entire city which is about the size of Macon. For you southerners, it’s important to note that Hockey is to Canada as football is to USA; even SEC football in Georgia!

While I never got to meet Wayne Gretzky personally I did get to know his dad, Walter, a little. I’d like to tell you how that came about. Walter was one of Brantford’s most famous citizens as you might imagine. He could have had or lived any lifestyle he wanted. But what he wanted was to use his high profile to serve others, particularly underprivileged kids from the city.

One of the ways he did that was to take challenged kids (Physically, mentally, socially, you name it) to the local minor league baseball games of The Branford Red Sox. Their home park was within easy bicycling distance of our home and it was one our favorite summer pastimes while we lived there. Often I’d get to sit near Walter and “His kids” as they were known. He always seemed to get more pleasure out of buying them peanuts, popcorn and Crackerjacks ® than the game itself. It was always humbling to me to watch him in action. To me Walter’s service to “His kids” was as impressive as Wayne’s accomplishments as an NHL star. Actually, they seemed to meld together.

The truth is that each of us has been given certain gifts by our creator. These gifts were meant to be shared with others. In reality, that’s the only time they’re worthwhile.

So, the moral of today’s column is to ask yourself “What are my gifts and am I using them to serve others the best I can”? I believe Walter Gretzky was able to answer that in the affirmative.

Thanks for reading All About Seniors…..see you next week!

Bill Milby, CSA, is a Certified Senior Advisor and a Director of Visiting Angels® of Macon, a non-medical, living assistance service for seniors. If you have questions or comments about this column you can reach him at or search for us at

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