Fame and Fortune
Pain is Temporary and Glory is Forever. If you have not heard this slogan then you have now. It is used to entice people into risking ones own personal safety for one moment of glory. No one needed to explain this train of thought to Bobby Baun, the Maple Leafs defenceman who scored an overtime goal in the 1964 playoffs while playing with a fractured bone in his right leg. No one needed to explain it to Ronnie Lott either when he had the tip of his little finger cut off during half time so that he could play in a football game for the 49ers. These guys went over and above the call of duty and will be forever glorified for those acts of courage.
It is clear to athletes the inherit danger involved in full contact sports. Especially in hockey. I remember a game a couple years ago where Chris Pronger took a shot right in the chest and fell to the ice unconscious. I remember thinking wow his family has to be watching and must be horrified right now. Then I saw Pronger playing again and he was about the throw a check on Yzerman in the 2002 playoffs when Stevie Y ducked and Pronger took the worst of it and was out for quite sometime. Yzerman in 2002 was playing on basically one leg. last years playoffs With Steve Yzerman’s eye injury and the lockout this season, has the captain played his last game for the Red Wings? There are countless hockey injury stories such as the above mentioned stories to reflect on and a lot of what ifs. What if Bobby Orr’s knee would have lasted 10 more years of NHL hockey? What if Cam Neely’s hip would have endured a few more years? What if that limo crash never happended to Konstantinov?
Even if a player has an outstanding NHL career and makes it to retirement without a major catastrophic injury to the Head, Neck or Spine. They will most likely suffer some sort of hockey related hip or knee problems or at least some serious dental problems. The wear and tear the body goes through in an NHL career is incredible. Sure the medical attention available to pro athletes today is the best the medical industry has to offer. However once your body begins to suffer ailments you have compromised your health for fortune and fame so you better make sure it was worth it by getting as much of them both as you can while you can.
With players that have died at a young age like Steve Chiasson , Danny Snyder, and Sergei Zholtok . God rest their Souls and forgive me if anyone was left out. Point being you never know when your time comes. This is life’s X factor.
As a player not knowing your fate and not having a crystal ball to tell you your future. These players should not be criticized for simply taking what they can while they can . Hockey parent’s taking kids to youth hockey. The cost of ice time, lessons and playing gear over the years become quite an investment. As children these players learn sacrifice by missing so much of the activities the other youths enjoy because they were at practice, games or on the road with the travel team.
I don’t think we will be hearing any players come out and say what Ted Lindsey told the team owners in the movie NET WORTH which depicts the formation of the NHLPA. He said, “You know most of us players would play for free. But, not when you are charging our fans money to watch us play.” Ted Lindsey by making the necessary efforts to form the NHLPA became a Pioneer for all players who followed. I don’t think it was the intention at that time to earn more money then the owners and it certainly was their will to earn more then a team jacket as a signing bonus. Ted Lindsey and a lot of other players went through a lot to form the NHLPA. If this is an attempt by the owners to break up the union I hope the players stand tuff and fight the good fight. Any players who are considering other wise should have words with Ted Lindsey before seceding from the union.
I am wondering if any of you fans are starting to think that the players are not the ones being greedy?