“Can I Still Play?”

Murray Pratt Blog, Business Insights, Freight Broker, Life, Trucking

Youth Hockey Player

This is the scariest line you hear as a minor hockey coach.

It’s asked by one of the young hockey players in the dressing room before the game.

It comes right after this line.

“Oh no… I forgot my supporter cup.”

A little while ago I learned that the company that supplies the majority of hockey equipment to the world – Bauer/ Easton – is now under court protection as it tries to restructure its finances. That’s a nice way of saying that the company and its vendor ‘dropped their gloves’ and a judge administered the penalties. Essentially the vendors all go to the penalty box and scream like Snoopy did in the Peanuts cartoons.

As a hockey coach I can never ever let a child on the ice without their supporter cup. No compromise on that one.

But it appears judges are a bit more lenient than I am. Perhaps they are missed the irony that the company that affords so much protection to hockey players… is actually seeking protection for itself! There is a rumor that they wore their jocks when they presented their legal briefs to the judge…

But it’s a sad thing really. It affects people’s lives, as the company agreed to reduce their workforce by 19% as part of the protection agreement. All too often great ambition can be followed by great failure, which is disappointing and stressful. I am engaging in Schadenfreude here. I take no joy in that. Just pointing out the irony.

On the weekend I heard from one of my in-laws, a story about one of her colleagues at work. She was struggling as she faced retirement. She was 63 and her 45 year old son had moved back home as they both struggled with financial and health issues. Her husband had passed. They had divorced many years earlier when she found it too much for her to run the household AND administrate their trucking business at the same time. Both the father and son worked together driving trucks. After she left the marriage, and the family business, the trucking company fell upon bad times. Eventually her Ex had to declare bankruptcy. He sunk into a deep depression and medicated with illegal drugs. He eventually killed himself.

It’s a very sad story. I can imagine that variations of it play out in households and businesses across the nation. Though the trucking industry has its own unique set of challenges that exacerbates the challenge for sure.

First of all, there is the toll that driving long-haul places on relationships. lt can be a lonely existence. Isolation and long periods away from loved ones can be challenging. I can only imagine how nice it is for a father or mother coming home after a long trip to re-connect with their spouse and children.

I can also appreciate the financial stress that must come with running both a household and a business at the same time. Owning a trucking operation is not like having a nice 9-5 day job. If you run your own company then it’s always on your mind; there is no break – even on weekends. Your trucks and your paperwork – always in motion.

The tough part of ‘keeping it together’ is the problem of ‘keeping it together’.

‘It’ being your happiness AND your paperwork.

I was told the sad story while I enjoyed my son’s soccer game in the warmth and dryness of a car while a monsoon was enveloped the field of play. It gave me pause to reflect on some of the beneficial outcomes that I wish for Tailwind’s customers with our trucking and freight brokerage software.

I hope that our trucking software brings all the disparate pieces of information together. The orders and invoices for customers. The checks and payroll summaries for drivers. The quotes for customers, and the rates from carriers. And of course the maintenance records and mileage tracking for regulators. I hope that it does it in a way that simplifies a person’s life. Takes away some of the worry and stress of running and administrating a business.

It is my sincere hope that at the very least our trucking software gives some families in distress at least a fighting chance to survive, hopefully thrive, in a fast-moving and fast-changing world.

It is my sincere hope that they can get their business and personal lives in place where they too can enjoy watching their children play soccer, or coach a minor sports team.

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