A Brush With Fame

Gordie Howe

“You find that you have peace of mind and can enjoy yourself, get more sleep, and rest when you know that it was a 100% effort that you gave—win or lose.” – Gordie Howe

So Mr. Hockey has died at the age of 88. He broke many records in the NHL and was only outdone by The Great One years later. With a career that lasted into his 50s, including 26 years in the NHL, and a physical style of grit and determination, he is definitely one of the greatest players of all time. Even Gretzky thinks Howe is better than himself.

My personal story of this hockey legend will always involve one particular moment: an early, early version of the Ice Bucket Challenge involving a stick.

The details are a bit murky and I may over-exaggerate things a bit, but this is a short anecdote of my first experience with really anyone well-known.

The place: Optimist Ice Arena. The year: maybe 1995.

It was at an old-timers game for players as old as 70. Me, my mom, and uncle were sitting near the glass because it was either free admission or tickets were super cheap (five dollars likewise). This game featured some of the greats from the NHL of past though I had no conscience feeling of what was going on or who was there. I was about 3 or 4 here and looked down at the bench most of the time, not interested in the action on the ice. I’m not even sure it was a competitive game but just something for the players to reunite and laugh it up a bit.

The score of the game I cannot even theorize. Who was on what side is quite irrelevant.

The hockey old-timers were racing down the ice when one of them suddenly stopped near the glass where we were sitting. I was prompted to look up at the player and felt a sense of chill as he stared back at me. Something was up. Something was going to happen. A few seconds passed before he scooped up some ice shavings on the end of his blade, lifted the fiberglass stick, and shook it over the board. A shower of cold ice fell down on my head. Like being in a freezing shower but worse. I instantly cried and buried my hands in my arms. The player just stared at me and then said “Sorry, kid” before skating on. Little did I know that I had just met Detroit Red Wings great Gordie Howe.

I remember leaving the arena with my relatives and they chatting away about the moment. I’ve have a number of encounters with famous athletes, including getting NASCAR superstar Jimmie Johnson’s autograph and picture back in 2004 before he even won any of his championships. But this one with Mr. Hockey is really special because he seemed to connect with me personally during that short minute or two. I wonder if he ever had memories of that afterward or later on in life. It would be neat to have had a part of me stuck in a notable person’s mind. Maybe he mentioned this in his personal book – “I shook some ice on a fair haired, blue-eyed kid during a pick me up game with some of my old hockey friends and foes. He cried and whined and I just thought it was a bit funny. Not for him.”

So is an origin story of my brush with greatness.

Origin Stories, Ice Mountain

Long Live the Greatest

 photo muhammad-ali_zpsxjd9bphf.jpg

Another legend has passed this year.

That’s at least 3 now.

Bowie. Prince. And now Ali. Known as The Greatest. The People’s Champion. The Louisville Lip. “I want to float like a butterfly and sting like a bee”. The last true rags o riches warrior in the square.

Muhammad Ali was born Cassius Clay on  January 17, 1942. What followed was one of the true stories of heart and determination. From the age of 12, this boxing legend has a dream of being the best and he never let go of that dream. Fueled by his hatred toward segregation and black discrimination, he unleashed his anger in the form of a wavering, one-two punch knockout game.

George Foreman on Twitter: Ralph Ali, Frazier & Foreman we were 1 guy. A part of me slipped away, “The greatest … Ali dies but lives thru us! Thanks GOD for him!

Purple Rain in Heaven

The one and only Prince has died today. One of the true legends of rock. A testament to everything that music was meant to be. A very misunderstood character who rarely ever made appearances in public or did interviews. Much like I do on multiple occasions in the online world, he changed his stage name a couple of times including be known by “The Artist Formerly Known as Prince” and some weird unpronounceable symbol below:

Prince logo.svg
Looks like the combination of a french horn, cross, spear, and chameleon tail. I see a penguin in there as well

But I’m just being a hypocrite here. I never cared a lick about Prince or his music. I barely know anything about him. I’m too young to say I know everything about him. I’m only just watched the film “Purple Rain” and it was the final 20 minutes or so.

I was never a huge fan of his (the music was way too deep and ambiguous for me) but grew up hearing some of his big hits on oldies radio , such as “When Doves Cry” and that way outdated song “1999” that actually came out in 1982 unbeknownst to me, because it was an apocalyptic song relating to *strange events* that would take place in 2000 – nothing really happened except some f’ed up computer clock displays. Thank you dad for stocking up on hundreds of boxes of mac n’ cheese that just cluttered up our brand new Lazy Susan cabinet. Why are those things called “Lazy Susans”? Are similarly, why are those other things called “dumbwaiters”? What if we added some technological advancement like Wi-Fi to the devices usually only seen in expensive houses? Could we call them smartwaiters then?

Anyway, back on topic.

A #GoogleDoodle 4 Prince (1958-2016)

Sadly, Prince Rogers Nelson’s music can’t be heard on YouTube because he removed it (or muted the audio on some videos) because of being a copyright jerk but can be heard on Apple Music or Spotify, which is the meaning behind the word one word prompt “Locked” today. I seriously don’t see why Prince’s music can’t be released to YouTube now under some monetizing deal for the publisher. He’s passed away now so the owner of his music should be able to do whatever they want now. Prince isn’t getting paid anymore for his music. Let it be free and wild on the Internet like it should be.

Oh, but look, I found a song on YouTube that has the original audio. This was just uploaded today:

The music to this awesome song will likely be muted eventually, but for now enjoy a lasting tribute to a guy probably best known as the other half of Michael Jackson.

Update: Yup, it’s gone.

A to Z Challenge 2016