Learn from the best about the road to success


Thomas Lassiter, Co-Sports Editor

Success. What does it take to be successful? As a struggling teenager going through all the drama and stress of high school, how do we plan for the future? We are constantly bombarded with what’s expected of us. Do this. Pick that. Try this. How do we stay focused on the path to success?

This is a question that cannot be answered with a one word response. Countless factors go into this end goal. At the 2015 Detroit Red Wings High School Journalism Day, many examples of success were on display.

As a group of approximately 30-40 young, eager students gathered into Joe Louis, one could feel the anticipation in the room. Then, with cameras flashing, strolled in a montage of accomplished journalists, Stanley Cup coaches and players, and a genius General Manager.


Kevin Allen is perhaps one of the most renowned journalist in the business today. His position as President of the Professional Hockey Writers Association, helps to elevate his status as one of the most respectable and accomplished sports writers of our era. But he did not get there overnight.

“I love crafting a story. I love to do my job. I love every aspect of this business,” Allen says.

It helps to have an idea of what you want to do when you are young. In Allen’s case, he knew he wanted to be involved in sports journalism at a young age. Combine your talents and your interests to find the perfect job.

“This just combined two of my favorite things, sports and writing. And I love to do both,” Allen says.


Here in Michigan, we are all familiar with the name Mike Babcock. The Detroit Red Wings head coach has not only lead the Wings to a Stanley Cup Championship, but multiple Stanley Cup appearances as well. If there is anyone to know success, it is him.

“I have a sign on my fridge at home. It says, Let your ups be longer than your downs,” Babcock says.

During the time of the interview, Detroit had been on a tough losing streak and had just lost a close game to their rivals, the Pittsburgh Penguins. A sure fire way to be successful is to give it your all and live life with a positive attitude. We will all hit obstacles on our path of life. We must get up and push forward. No matter how challenging it is, no matter how impossible it seems, it is all within us. We just need to believe we can do it.

As human nature has proven over the years, we as a people can be very focused on our own selves at times. It is uncommon to see a person who is always looking out for other people’s best interest, instead of their own.

“If you love someone, you help them grow their crop,” Babcock says.

Life is about helping others. A real winner always takes care of his companion next to him, whether this benefits him or not. You never know. When you are in need, that same person will be the one to help carry you through.

“Be solution based. Wake up every morning to be the best person you can,”  Babcock says.


The dream of many young boys and girls is to be a professional athlete when they grow up. That hard and dangerous road is one not many have traveled, but Dan Cleary, Luke Glendening, and Stephen Weiss are ones who have made it to their destination. Each of these individuals are professional hockey players for the Detroit Red Wings. But how did they get there?

“We got here by hard work and dedication. I love what I do and I gave 100% of myself to get and stay here. I eat, sleep, and breathe hockey,” Weiss says.

Hard work is a said attribute of many, but a true attribute of few. To get to where you want to be, it won’t be easy. It will take every ounce of grit and determination to make your dreams a reality. People who are willing to put it all on the line are the ones who will make it big.

“To whom much is given, much is expected. Don’t take anything for granted, you are not guaranteed tomorrow,” Cleary and Glendening say.


When success is finally achieved, it is almost harder to keep that success going. One must work even harder to maintain that high level, or else all of it was for naught. The General Manager of the Red Wings, Ken Holland, knows a thing or two about how to maintain ascendancy. He has lead Detroit to 24 consecutive playoff appearances. That is the longest active record of any professional sport and second longest in NHL history.

“If you do things right, you have a chance to succeed. We are proud of the fact that we do it over the long haul,” Holland says.

Life is a competition and we are all trying to get ahead. For some, that push to be the best includes bending the rules. Integrity is one of the most important traits of a successful person. Doing things the correct way is always the path to trod and this path leads to victory in the long run. As the saying goes, cheaters never win and winners never cheat.


When it comes down to it, being successful is doing what you love and doing things right. Its not the number of zeros on the paycheck, or the glory that people give, or the position one holds. Pursue what you love and success is yours. Enjoy the ride.

“Find Your Passion. Be so good at it that someone pays you to do it. You will never work a day in your life. I guarantee it,” Babcock says