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Off-Centered Leadership by Sam Calagione

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Chapter 2Laid Up in Zero Gravity

I grew up in western Massachusetts in the bucolically named town of Greenfield, at the cusp of the Berkshire mountains and the gateway to the Mohawk Trail. Our house was across from a big pond that froze in winter. Pretty much as soon as I could walk, I was playing hockey on that pond.

My dad gave me my first stick. He had gone to Canada on a business trip and brought it back, super proud of the gift. His sport as a kid had been football, which meant that he didn't know hockey sticks come in left-handed and right-handed models. He had unknowingly purchased a left-handed stick. “Don't worry,” he responded when I protested that I was a righty. “You'll learn how to play with it.” And he was right. Throughout my career, in middle and high school and then on the team at Muhlenberg College, I played left wing as a right-handed person with a left-handed stick. Just one of the many reasons I never turned pro and went into the brewing game instead.

When my younger sister, Christa, started skating, she inherited that first stick, which I had outgrown. I'd take her along with me to the pond, where she'd be able to play “up” against me and other guys my age. I was pretty good, but Christa became world class; she starred on her college team at Harvard and made it all the way to tryouts in Colorado Springs for the Olympics. Like me, she played left wing with a lefty stick and does everything else in life right-handed.

The thrill I get in growing a business ...

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