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Reflections on The Hip

Last Saturday I spent over 6 hours walking on the Bruce Trail making progress on my end-to-end goal.

Murphy's Pinnacle, Photo Credit: Bonni Titgemeyer

Murphy’s Pinnacle, Photo Credit: Bonni Titgemeyer

It was a hot, sunny and humid day on the trail. We’re getting into an area where the terrain is more taxing and hot days don’t help.  The trip included climbing to two lookouts, Murphy’s Pinnacle in the Boyne Provincial Park and Mulmur Lookout located about 4 miles away on private land.

Lookouts are a godsend on a long hike that is largely in the woods because they give you an opportunity to see progress, and give you a sense of satisfaction to know that you made it to the top of a big hill.

So I started this blog about reflecting on The Hip with talking about my trail walking because the two are interrelated.  After the hike we were planning to drive to Brampton to watch the concert on the Jumbotron in the Square, but by the time we finished, I was too tired and sweaty to think about being out any longer.  Instead, I went home, took a bath, ordered a pizza and turned on the tube. That was a smart move on my part since once the concert started, I pretty much devolved into a tear-laden puddle of pride, sadness and reverence.

I am unabashedly a Hip fan.  Little Bones was the #1 song the summer of the year I moved to Canada, and the expression “two fifty for a high ball and a buck and a half for a beer” has meaning to me.  After all, I had just moved from Iowa, where you could get a pint of beer for a dime, that’s right, ten cents, so $1.50 for a beer was expensive and a reminder that I wasn’t in Kansas anymore.  Or Iowa for that matter.  And they helped me learn about Canadiana.  They don’t call Gord Downie Canada’s unofficial poet laureate for nothing.

My husband and I don’t talk much on our hikes.  Mostly I like to let my mind get lost in the beauty of the natural surroundings.  But Saturday I purposely attempted to sing as many Hip lyrics as I could remember; hoping to connect my emotions with the experience. I was amazed at how many songs did fit the circumstances but Ahead by a Century fit best.

The concert didn’t disappoint. What I took away though was something unexpected though. The Hip isn’t Gord; it is a group of guys, real Canadians, who play well together. Watching them is like watching a hockey game, players looking for cues to make the right moves to win together.  At several points in the concert, Gord slipped; give him a break, the dude has brain cancer.  What was remarkable is how the rest of the band helped to mask it, by replaying a riff so he could catch it a second time, or filling in words he might’ve missed. And they held nothing back.

In human resources, we like to say that we contribute to building teamwork in the workplace.  The truth is that many great teams start that way, naturally.

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