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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Ryan O'Reilly Out for Two Weeks; Why Leaders Gotta Lead

I was out on Friday night celebrating a co-workers time spent at our company while he kicked off what will surely be a successful business venture on his own. The beers were flowing, the stories sailing and the food was plentiful (and delicious). But given our modern age, there was no way I was going to spend the whole night without following the Avalanche-Wild game.

I could have streamed the game to my Desire via GameCenter Online - and did so briefly just to prove I could - but that wouldn't have been very social. So to Twitter I turned as I relied on all the Avs fans to provide their usual great and spirited updates as the game went on.

Following a visual medium via a text-based medium requires a bit of interpretation. You see the words and then replace them with a flow of photoes to fill in the gaps. It can actually be a fun exercise in creativity. But when tragedy steps in, creativity needs to be dialed back a notch and facts need to take over.

When I saw Dater's first two tweets following the O'Reilly injury, my heart dropped into my stomach. In a selfish way, my first thought went to myself as I recalled being driven head first into the boards as a teenager. But it's easy to see why that might be my first recall based on the description.

Anytime a player goes head first into the boards your #1 thought is some form of "I hope he isn't paralyzed." And when you see a tweet like this:

OReilly not moving. Say your prayers

you start to freak out a little bit. And when Dater put up a quick blog post which reiterated that O'Reilly was not moving at all, I was extermely concerned. Perhaps somewhat morbidly, I hoped someone would post a video so I could check the play out for myself.

Over the next hour, better and better news began to leak out. It turned out that O'Reilly was moving and communicating as he was brought to the hospital, accompanied by Greg Sherman. Then it turned out there was more concern over a shoulder injury than the head or neck. Potentially season ending. And finally it has now come out that O'Reilly will be gone for a brief two weeks.

The end result is a winning outcome. The in-between period was an exercise in FUD.

After watching the video of the hit, it was clear that not only did O'Reilly move after the hit but he was also conscious. Likely in a lot of pain but conscious. They brought a stretcher out not because O'Reilly couldn't move but because it's standard procedure in a situation like that. The whole situation was much more composed than it appeared to be.

Now, I'm not the kind of person to sit back with 20/20 hindsight and tell a person what to do...but I'm going to do it anyway.

This tweet:

OReilly not moving. Say your prayers

should have said something more along the lines of:

I didn't see O'Reilly move after hitting the boards. Going to check out replay to get a better view.

The tweets about the stretcher? Maybe something like:

Stretcher coming out. Standard procedure. Paramedics and doctors doing a great job.

When tragedy strikes, people look to a leader to take control of the situation. I think Dater had the chance to step up but instead he joined in the emotional fray and made the situation worse.

Clearly Dater was very concerned about what happened to O'Reilly and I'm certainly not suggesting he amped up the drama merely for the sake of drama. But I do think he could have done more to lead the situation for all the fans - and family - who would be extremly concerned and fearful about what happened.

I hope that if AD does see this post, he'll take it as constructive and not an attack. And maybe next time there will be less speculation, even if the fanbase is actively clamoring for it.


R.Boulding said...

Nice. I'm with you on that one.

Shane Giroux said...

Thanks, Ryan!

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