LOVE OF THE GAME

There are few things in life–kissing a beautiful girl, a really good scotch, hearing "I love you" from your child–that can match the simple pleasure of hearing skates cut through ice and the beginning of another hockey season. One thing I know–the love for the game has held constant and grown in my lifetime, and shows no signs of wavering.

I follow Wanye on twitter and he’s a gem. The pure joy he experienced at lunch yesterday is the stuff of legends–a chance meeting (or non-meeting) with a legendary Oiler that will remain in the inner sanctum of the memory banks forever.

I have a story like that. May I tell you? In the early 1980’s, I worked at CFRN Radio on Stony Plain Road. I was an announcer for the top 40 station during that era (Cynthia Charles and I hosted the afternoon show, I was out of my league but Cynthia guided me through perfectly) and we were followed by John Short and his Sports Talk show.

One day, I’m sitting in the lobby of the old CFRN building (waiting for my wife, who had the car, things haven’t changed) and in walks Mark Messier. He walks to the receptionist (Noreen Lodge, one of the finest people I’ve ever met) and asks for John. The producer is called, and Messier sits down beside me to wait for the producer.

I look outside the front door and notice a black Porsche and ask "is that yours?" to which Messier says "yes" and I smile. He says "I’ve only had it for about a half an hour" and I saw "bet you can’t wait to get it out on the highway and take it to the limit."

He says "oh, I’ve already done that."

Perfect. It’s my favorite memory as a fan. What a guy.

CHILD LIKE VISIONS COMING INTO VIEW

That happened in my 20’s, I’m in my 50’s now and at a different point in life. I don’t wait for my wife to bring our only car to the radio station, I wait for my teenagers to arrive home after midnight so I can rest easy that we’re all home and dry. The power of a hockey season remains, and the child like thrill of the opening of training camp and the pre-season remains like a long lost memory brought fully alive by some random song from that past or a long forgotten movie.

It is renewal, but it is also reminiscence.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

Take it from an old guy–when you feel the rush let that moment linger. Those moments don’t happen often, and they should be savoured. Training camp becomes opening night, becomes regular season becomes playoff hunt. Please baby Jesus let Oiler fans in the second season, it’s been way too long between kisses.

    • I tried it at home

      If memory serves me….Afterwards he did a little jog to the Bruin Inn, ordered a double and called the police to report it. He was lucky just getting fined.

  • John Chambers

    Memories but Ive got 20 years on you but won’t forget the lunches for ticket holders and all the players for both pre NHL & then THE NHL teams .About 8-10 years ago my sons (All 4 Oiler fans) found old lunch menus I had kept with basically all of the signatures from Gretz , Mess & Anderson to BJ ,Gregg & Lumley . Obviously they took them along with similar stuff from Eskimos functions . One of the funniest guys was cowboy Bill Flett and it was those kind of players that sold many long term ticket holders to stick with this team and indoctrinate our kids & grandkids as fans .Please get back to the playoffs so the next generation has memories .

  • Nightman

    “Please baby Jesus let Oiler fans in the second season, it’s been way too long between kisses”

    Lol. If I was a betting man, I would bet you really really want the Oil in the playoffs??

    LT, if the playoffs for the Oilers comes down to the last reg. season game and they need to win in regulation…and they end up losing by 1 goal, I am requesting you videotape and upload to youtube the goings on in your house in the TV room that night….could be quite entertaining (may have to rate it R for language… 😉 )

  • I tried it at home

    Well that story was special……….I too have a Mark Messier story. I was at Barry T’s one night, and some of the Oilers showe up like Coffee, Messier, Lowe, Lumley, and a few others.

    I was a HUGE Messier, Kurri, Gretzky fan and wanted his autograph ( this is before digital camersa) and no one had camera phones. I’m at a urinal and Messier comes and stands right next to me. Well I could not concentrate on the task at hand and how do you start a conversation standing next to a guy who just wants to wiz? Well all I could say was, ” good game” to which he replied with a death stare, “we lost”.

    I kind of blew the moment and felt like an idiot afterwards………..what to do?

  • Eulers

    I have to say I’m disappointed with all the hate thrown my way for sharing a piece of history that was a real teaching moment for myself personally.

    @I tried at home: I agree that the definition of sexual assault varies over time and across people. I hope we can agree that ‘consent’ is important in our interactions with others. Please understand that the dictionary definition of sexual assault is much broader than rape to include unwanted touching of a sexual nature. We may disagree about whether forced kissing constitutes sexual assault. However, I imagine that we agree that we’d be very uncomfortable if a male stranger forced us to kiss him.

    I’m especially disappointed by @wheelz use of the term `feminazi’. We all have mothers. Be better.

    I think the readers of the site should take a page from the site’s writers who wore high heels to ‘walk a mile in her shoes’. Let’s treat each other and the women in our lives with respect.

    End of sermon. Back to hockey.

    • Eulers

      It’s not up to you to decide who’s been sexually assaulted or not. It’s up to the woman in the photograph. If she says it isn’t, then back off and let it go. And are you ignorant? Being a feminazi has nothing to do with being a woman. It has everything to do with pushing your views on everyone when you’re acting like a little pest, usually said views revolving around whining about misogyny and whatnot. Think before you post. This isn’t your soapbox.