Blue Men: Tough Enough to Be Gentle

With the start of the NHL season this week, here’s a flashback hockey story: George Laroque was one of the toughest guys playing in the National Hockey League. He retired in 2010, but is best known as the tough guy and Gretzky protector of the Edmonton Oilers.

If you ever hear Laroque on a talk show, it isn’t hard to tell his soft voice, eternal optimism, positive nature, and passion. In spite of being one of the toughest fighters in the game, he is known as “gentleman George.”

Laroque was never confused as to what his role was. Yet, he had a strong code of behavior in his fights. He didn’t take cheap shots, he allowed guys who had fallen to get up, and wouldn’t fight someone who was hurt. He also wouldn’t get into fights just for the sake of fighting or to prove his toughness. It was something that drove fans and coaches crazy.

This high Blue’s contribution to his teammates was to protect them, create some open ice, and make people think twice before messing with one of his teams’ stars. Would he rather have been a much better skater or goal scorer, and contribute in a different way? Possibly. Did he like hitting people and getting into fights? Nope.

But that’s why he drove coaches nuts: He would fight when there was someone to protect, or a reason to do so. And it needs to be HIS judgment, and HIS criteria, in order to feel justified in doing so. It is certainly the decision making process for all Blues. Off the ice it wasn’t (and still isn’t) hard to tell that Laroque is a Blue. Many reporters have commented that: The kid within him comes out more than with others, plus many comments about his big heart, deep feelings, strong compassion, and good deeds.

To this day, large numbers of charities benefit from his time and money. Plus, unlike many (largely Orange) athletes, it’s done when the cameras and media are not around. When an Edmonton sports reporter’s wife was in the hospital with complications during the birth of their son, Laroque paid an unannounced visit. He didn’t tell her husband, nor anyone else, but just felt the need to visit.

For many years, he was also the spokesman for a Shaken Baby Syndrome campaign with the tag line: Are you tough enough to be gentle? Blue men are the smallest group in the population. If you have a Blue male friend, partner, boss or co-worker, treasure them. But it’ll take a little work and time to see their “real” primary Color. From an early age they’ve wondered “what’s wrong with me?” because they’re so much gentler, more caring, emotional, and compassionate.

As a result, almost all Blue men wear a mask to hide who they really are. That mask is their second Color. Take the time to get to know the REAL person, and when their intuition trust you, the guard will come down, and you’ll see them for who they really are: Tough enough to be gentle.