Playing at centre ice
The best position in hockey surely is the centre.
The centre player not only needs to be a fast skater, but a fast thinker capable of quickly grasping and assimilating the thinking of both left and right wingers.
Hockey centres often are team leaders. Almost half of the 31 National Hockey League teams have captains that are centres, a high proportion considering each team carries only four centres against eight wingers and six defence.
Outside of hockey, centre has become an almost forgotten position. Too few of us consider the centre these days, preferring to lock ourselves into the right or the left wings. And too often, tight against the boards on the very extreme sides of those wings.
It wasn’t always that way. Politicians, and the folks that put them into power, used to listen to the views of the other wings, consider them and sometimes work them into their own positions. That’s the way things got done – bipartisan thinking building consensus to do the things needed.
The concept of left and right wings in politics is relatively new. The terms were coined during the French Revolution of 1789. Since then they have morphed into the nightmarish chaos we now see in the United States, and to a lesser extent in Canada.
In recent times the wings have taken on distinct colours. Red, the colour of Communists, social democrats and generally liberal thinkers in many countries, now is associated with the right-wing Republicans in the U.S. Blue is the colour of the left and so we have red states and blue states.
It’s the opposite in Canada where Liberal-leaning areas are red and Conservative areas are blue.
Sadly absent in my opinion is white, the colour of centre ice before the logos are painted on.
Why people and their politicians have moved from centre ice thinking off to the wings is difficult to explain. Perhaps they fear being labelled wishy-washy for sitting in the middle considering all sides of a position or argument. Or maybe it is because solid white, certainly in the case of a flag, is the symbol of giving up and we don’t want to be seen as weak.
Whatever, no one should assume that taking a position at centre, thoughtfully weighing facts and considering all sides of an issue, should be taken as a synonym for weakness.
White is a positive colour associated with illumination, understanding and clearing away clutter. It also is a colour known to aid mental clarity.
Mental clarity certainly is needed in these raucous and confused times. It simply is not good enough to yap something unintelligent on a complicated issue presented by a person you do not like.
For example, I am no fan of Premier Doug Ford’s style. But I understand his government’s spending cuts.
Ontario simply cannot afford to go on spending the way it has. The provincial debt is projected to hit $325 billion for the 2019-2020 fiscal year, depending on whose figures you choose to believe.
Whatever the figure, we all know the provincial debt is far too large. If we don’t get it under control, we all are going to suffer greatly in the future.
So, we can criticize Ford but cuts are necessary. Where he is making them is another matter – a question that should be open to calm and rational debate.
Government program cuts always hurt someone. No one wants cuts where it will affect them. That’s why someone needs to initiate some centre ice discussions to build a consensus on how to cut back with the least impact on fewest people, and the most vulnerable.
Similarly, I am not a fan of Justin Trudeau, particularly his judgment. However, I understand his dilemma of allowing more pipelines that will help worsen global warming, or not allowing them and risking more western uprising and possible separation.
There are many such problems that will not be solved with only wild right- or left-wing play. We voters need to get our sticks on the ice and spend more time at the thoughtful centre.
You score more goals by keeping your head up and considering all the play than by skating about wildly, shouting polarized and radical opinions.