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10-06-2003, 05:31 AM
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Sin City
I wanted this to be an article but a change of plans, this is going to be on the boards instead. Just a few thoughts.
The summer of 2003 has taught each of us a valuable lesson about life. Recent events have only highlighted what has been a difficult time for hockey fans, a difficult time as people. I would like to take the time in the article to reflect on hockey in life and life as its own entity. There is no blame or arguments in this article, and perhaps that is why I’m writing it. Some of you I’ve known for 5 years now, while some of you might be new to the site. To all of you I write this, my heartfelt feelings.
Hockey is a child’s game. No more, no less. It is 12 men standing on a patch of ice trying to score, save and sometimes slap each other silly. It takes us back to our most tribal of instincts, loyalty. Whether our team wins or loses, we form a bond with them and love them. Their players become our players, their experiences our memories.
We watch some 18-year old draftee become a 42-year old center with more championship rings than hair left on his head. We watch these men bleed, cry, celebrate, grow up and grow old. During that time we yell at them, cheer them and argue amongst ourselves of their greatness. At times we wish we could become them.
I’ve had the privilege of playing hockey and eventually working within it. I’ve had the privilege of meeting stars of every league imaginable and I’ve had the privilege of writing about some of them on this site.
Somewhere along the line something occurred to me, and it struck a chord. There are more important things than hockey in this world. There is love, there is concern and there are certain qualities that make us distinctly human in world that is ever pressing forward. As we begin to enter the holiday season we’ve seen sadness in our sport from New York to Western Canada and from Russia to Atlanta. If nothing else these events are a reminder to each of us. To love, to live and to never forget the importance of the life we have been given.
There are times when we fight with each other, our bosses, our clients, even our editors, but these things are often so petty when we look back on them. Remember that person is someone’s son or someone’s daughter, possibly a father or mother.
Each of the lives we’ve lost this summer are someone’s son or daughter. Someone loved them and cared for them and someone has lost them. They had a favorite song and favorite memory and they each had dreams and plans. As I’ve looked at these boards I’ve looked within myself and found that these things bring a lump to my throat. I’d like to believe they bring a lump to your throats as well. Right now I want to believe that each of us, in our own ways, has taken something from these past few months.
We are entering a time of the year that regardless of religious views represents the idea that each person can be better. It reminds us of the great hope that every culture has held through the centuries, that humankind can be better than itself.
Whether we’re in a busy European train station, a building in mid-town Manhattan or a ranch in Western Alberta, I believe we all need to take this time to appreciate things just a little longer.
To not fight over wrong or right or to get angry at one another but to come together as a community. As human beings to be just a little better to each other then we were before. This hope is for you as well as for myself.
Instead of getting bent out of shape on the message boards or in line for a holiday gift, think about someone you love. Whether it is a parent, a spouse, a child, or even a pet, keep that thought close to your heart. Hockey is a just a game, it will always be just a game. Life is real and so are the people in it. Try to remember that, though it can often be hard. My belief is that we can all take a look at this year and be better for it. We can be a little more thankful of our blessings.
Dan Snyder, Roman Lyashenko, Herb Brooks, Roger Neilson and Duncan MacPherson were people. They were flesh, blood and feeling just like us. Their families will miss them for a long time, and this time of year is never easy for a feeling like that. Never forget how important life is and never forget the truly beautiful things about it. Do it for those who have loved and lost and do it for the sake of love and humanity itself. I believe each of these stories from 2003 has a silver lining for everyone. We’ve been blessed with an opportunity to find it. Tonight I hope and pray that everyone does. Life is a very beautiful and fragile gift, that each of us has had the opportunity to receive.
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