It was early in the third period when that kid let that slap shot go from about 6 feet away. I remember sliding over for it but I was out of position and had to stretch a leg out to block it. I will never forget that sound when that damn puck hit me square in the cup at about 70 MPH – THWOCK! 

It’s a word (defined by the Urban Dictionary as: “The sound that accompanies the act of kicking an individual squarely in the Jimmy.”) that I only ever use when telling this story. It is exactly the sound that echoed around that rink, followed closely by the loudest collective “ooooh” you have ever heard and the sound of 60 parents in corduroy pants crossing their legs in unified discomfort.

I can’t feel my legs!

I recall lying on my back with the referees and my coach standing over me asking me how I was. All I could do was croak out that I couldn’t feel my damn legs! A lady beside my father in the stands turned to him and asked if he was going to go down to see if his son was OK. My dad calmly turned to her and commented that his son knew how to stand up on his own. It was about that time the stretcher came out.

But I did waive off the stretcher and I did get up and finish that game – with my legs crossed the whole period. You try doing that in goalie pads! The worst part for a 16 year old Canadian boy though was that he couldn’t brag about being wounded in hockey the next day in school because of the location of said injury! One marvels at the priorities of teenagers.

From that day on my goalie nickname would forever be “The Pylon.”

Don’t be a social pylon!

My point, of course, is that it doesn’t matter how one might fall or be knocked down. What matters is how one gets back up. I realize this isn’t likely something you’ve never heard before but, it bears repeating in our brave new digital world.

In my years in social and digital marketing, I’ve always preached that the most important thing about dealing with negativity or obstacles is your reaction to them. It’s hard not to take negative comments online about your business personally. If you care about what you do, then you’ll naturally want to respond and defend. However, that kind of response could simply ratchet up the situation into a bench clearing brawl.

Don’t drop those social gloves!

You’re going to screw up and you’re going to get hit in social media. How you react will set call the tune. As an example consider British TV anchor, Dan Walker, he recently said a very bad word on live TV. It was an honest mistake but, it was really his good natured responses on Twitter which set the tone.

Listen and engage the person who has an issue with your brand. Own the interaction and do your best to get them a reasonable solution. Being passionate about your brand and your work doesn’t mean you have to take it personally.

Just keep this one fact in mind: A lot of other people both current and potential customers are watching how you respond. How you deal with a problem or even a disaster will say a lot more about your brand now and echo long into the future.

To put it in simple hockey terms…

When someone online slashes you, don’t retaliate! That’s the best way to stay out of the brand penalty box.