April Fools

Blog#18

I listen to a lot of Canadian radio, namely CBC radio broadcast from Windsor, Ontario, across the Detroit river…’eh’. There is a female vocalist, Kathleen Edwards, with a beautiful voice and I have featured one of her songs on my Playlist for the day (I urge you to listen to it). It’s not the best song but it’s kind of a catchy tune and it has a great line that all Canadians can relate to:

“I’m a Ford Tempo, you’re a Maserati; /
You’re the “Great One”, I’m Marty McSorley; /
You’re the Concord, I’m Economy; /
I make the dough but you get the glory…”

Of course, the “Great One” is Wayne Gretzky and Marty McSorley was his Edmonton Oilers teammate and “enforcer”. McSorley was a pretty good player and had a solid career with six NHL teams before exiting the league on the heals of a suspension for what Wikipedia calls “an on ice assault of Donald Brashear with his stick”. This all comes to mind because today I was having a great conversation with my buddy Nick. We were discussing the impact of the Covid-19 on his business, my business and our futures on the “other side” of the virus- will we have a job, what will our industries look like, etc — all kinds of uplifting stuff. Nick’s a smart guy and he made the comment of staying nimble and “going to where the puck will be”. That made me think of Gretzky and Nick confirmed that is where that saying comes from. I explained I had watched an interview with Gretzky where he spoke of watching, as a 4 or 5 year boy, Hockey Night in Canada. He would get a pad of paper and after drawing an oval rink he would begin mimicking the puck’s movement around the ice as he watched on TV, simultaneously drawing a line on the page, creating a ‘birds eye view’ of wherever the puck would go. Young Wayne did not know “why” he did his, he just thought it was fun. He said he would do it for the entire game and when the game was over he had a page filled with scribbled lines within the oval rink outline. Years later, those scribbled lines would play out on the ice as Gretzky’s subconscious mind told him where to go on the ice in anticipation of where the puck would be. He had an uncanny knack for being in the right place at the right time, ready to receive the puck via pass or deflection. In the professional ranks everyone is a superstar. You have to be a superstar to make it to that level. But players like Gretzky are The Superstar of superstars. He wasn’t the fastest skater and while he had a great shot and accuracy from thousands of hours of practice he was not overpowering. He wasn’t physical. He was smart, creative and he had “instincts” that allowed him to move a millisecond faster than others to get into position and “go to where the puck will be.” The other interesting part of the interview related to Gretzky playing multiple sports as a kid. He explained that he played hockey in the winter but when spring came he was the first to be out playing baseball and he wouldn’t be out on skates until the next winter. That’s a lot different from kids today who focus on only one sport starting at an early age. Gretzky lamented that these kids are missing out on so much and he is convinced that playing other sports helped make him a better hockey player. I wish I had followed hockey when Gretzky was playing but I was not much of a hockey fan and I must admit that back then I probably would have been more interested in watching McSorley plough some unsuspecting winger into the boards. But I did get to see him play once and it was live. As his career was winding down he signed with the St. Louis Blues and coincidentally his first game as a Blue was the night Meegan I had bought 2 tickets to attend a Blues game with Scott and Alex. The place went wild when Gretzky came out and it was pretty cool to see #99 on the ice with Brett Hull and playing with his former Edmonton teammate Grant Fuhr. That was many years ago and there have been many great players since: Ovechkin, Sid the Kid, Super Mario, but Wayne is and always will be “The Great One” ….going to where the puck will be.

Quote of the Day: “Always do right- it will please some people and astonish the rest.”- Mark Twain

Playlist:

1) I make the Dough, You get the Glory- Kathleen Edwards
2) “99”- Barnes Courtney
3) I’ve Got Your Fire”- Jenn Grant
4) Hey Man- Liz Cooper and the Stampede
5) High School Lover- Cayucas

Books to Read:
1) Coasting by Jonathan Raban
2) David Ogilvy, an Autobiograpghy

Binge Watchable:
1) In Search of Greatness- sport documentary by Gabe Polsky
2) The Romanovs

Yesterday’s Trivia Question: Vince Lombardi played offensive line along with six others who became known as “The Seven Blocks of Granite”. What college team did Lombardi play for? ANSWER: The Fordham Rams

Today’s Trivia Question: Wayne Gretzky married actress Janet Jones from St. Louis. What movie did she star in as a gymnast?

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