Why My Daughter’s Goal Was to Skate With Hockey Player Duncan Keith
In preparation for the 2008-2009 hockey season, the Chicago Blackhawks created a marketing campaign called “One Goal.” Players and staff members stated their personal goals for the year to showcase the individuality of each team member.
In 2015, the Blackhawks organization extended the campaign to fans, inviting them to share their goals on social media using the hashtag #WhatsYourGoal.
My daughter Cammy, 12, has been an enormous Blackhawks fan ever since she attended her first game in 2013, where she grinned the entire time. So when the #WhatsYourGoal campaign was introduced, I asked Cammy if she wanted to post a reply. Because Rett syndrome robbed her of speech, her eyes lit up with a smile to tell me, “Yes!”
First, I asked her what her goal was. Through a series of yes-or-no questions, Cammy indicated that she wanted to skate on the ice with a player and score a goal.
Next, she had to decide on a Blackhawks player. Selfishly, I tried to influence her decision by asking excitedly if she wanted to skate with Patrick Sharp. To my dismay, she looked away to indicate “No.” I named several other Blackhawks hotshots, including Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, but Cammy continued to look away.
Then she smiled at me, and a lightbulb went off in my head when I saw her missing tooth. “Do you want to skate with Duncan Keith?” She gave me a dreamy fangirl look.
I had forgotten, though obviously Cammy hadn’t, that when she lost her first tooth, her dad and I explained that it’s normal to lose baby teeth. Trying to make her laugh, we pulled up clips of Keith getting hit in the mouth with a puck during the Stanley Cup playoffs in 2010, causing him to lose multiple teeth. I never realized how much of an impact it had on her.
That day, Cammy saw Keith as more than a hockey player. She saw his physical and mental toughness. She recognized that he didn’t have the most glorious position, as defensive players often don’t get as much public attention, but his grit, work ethic, and pride contributed to the team’s success. He represented all of the characteristics we see in Cammy.
When Cammy named Keith as the player she wanted to skate with, I immediately thought of a photo in which she’s posing with her orthotics, which featured Blackhawks decals. I uploaded it to social media and wrote, “Cammy’s goal is to score a goal with an assist from her favorite player, Duncan Keith.”
A couple days later, I received a message from a production agency saying that the Blackhawks wanted to make Cammy’s goal a reality.
A week later, we filmed Cammy’s #WhatsYourGoal video with Keith. It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
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