Sunday, February 10, 2002

Miracle on Ice

With the sieve that is my memory, I had completely forgotten in the past few years the most significant sports victory of my childhood: The USA hockey team in the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid.

With all the Olympics hoopla it came back to me, and I feel ashamed that I could have let this memory fade, while until the Patriots victory last Sunday, I've walked around pining that my teams never win.

Well, the 1980 USA hockey team won and they were certainly my team. And those games leading to the improbable gold medal were incredible.

I suspect,(no, I know) this memory got buried because it was right around 1980 that I stopped playing organized youth hockey, and while I voiced good, sound reasons why I didn't wish to play anymore, wrapped up in it all there was a bit of teenage rebellion and a desire on some level to disappoint my parents. And it worked. I now consistently feel that I let my parents, especially my dad, down for not continuing on with hockey as far as I could take it.

Unlike baseball, in which I was a very average player, I had a vibe for hockey that was special. I haven't done anything since has come as naturally. When I stopped playing, hockey had been a part of my life since my infancy. (I honestly cannot remember a time when I didn't know how to skate.) And the sport was a major part of my family and Franco-American cultural heritage. Combine all these ingredients and you can see why my choice to quit hockey has become one of those repercussive decisions that has stayed with me all these years.

It's under these auspices that I've pushed all things hockey-related to a nether region of my memory. Just writing about it makes me feel uneasy.

To this day, on those relatively few occasions when I watch a game, there is that little ache in my heart that I guess I'll never completely resolve.

Reasons for Rickey

More on the Rickey Henderson to Red Sox camp idea:

The Sox would like to bring Henderson to camp as a nonroster player, with no guarantees of a major league job, the idea being that if he made the club, it would be as an extra outfielder. Henderson could work with Johnny Damon on the nuances of leadoff hitting, play some left field when Manny Ramirez needed a break, and serve occasionally as a designated hitter.

Even at his age, Henderson would bring an element missing from the Boston offense last season. He stole 25 bases last season for the Padres - Carl Everett led the Red Sox with nine - and though he hit just .227 in 123 games, he walked 81 times, his .366 on-base percentage exceeded in Boston only by Ramirez (.405) and Trot Nixon (.376) (Edes, The Boston Globe).

As I said before, I like the sound of it.