It’s been an interesting week for the whole hockey as a metaphor for life. Now first might I say I’m a real cynic when it comes to the small town, feel good, Hockey Night in Canada type of Canadian vignettes that show how hockey binds us together as a nation. I often feel like the nation’s obsession with the game gets in the way of other very important social activities and mis allocates public spending into building or improving expensive hockey rinks when more people in the community would use a pool or a theatre or a tennis court or a dog park. However, my cynicism was put aside this week with the retirement of Daniel Alfredsson and then the death of Jean Beliveau.
First Alfie. Since moving to the Ottawa area, he has been the captain of our NHL hockey team. The team has been up and down over the years providing its share of excitement and disappointment but no matter what, we knew that our captain was working as hard as he could to win. When speaking to the media he was always thoughtful, eloquent and showed pride in his team and community. He went above and beyond in his charity work providing a public face for mental health; a disease which has a tough time being “cool” when it’s fundraising time. Plus, Toronto hated him which just made Ottawa love him more. His return was joyous for all, the team seemed to enjoy it and then fans were given one last time to show their appreciation for a man who did a great job of representing the community for years.
Then Beliveau. I am not french and don’t claim to understand the culture of Quebec; I just know that their connection with both hockey and the Montreal Canadiens is way more than the rest of the country. I do know that Beliveau was a great, great player who always came across as classy and graceful. Not just that, hearing stories of the way he treated fans made me feel pretty bad in some ways about my own relationship with fans of the Arrogant Worms. He was very conscious of his signature, telling younger players how important it was that the signature be legible so that years down the road, someone could look at it and know who it was. My own signature … sucks. My handwriting sucks. In my defense, I have had issues with my ulnar nerve (briefly had to write with the other hand post surgery) but I can’t say I ever practised a signature that I could be proud of. My signature is repeatable and has a very obvious “M”. That’s about it.
Therefore. From now on I shall do my best to make my signature as legible as possible. It means that it’s going to take me a lot longer to write it and anyone who has a past signature will find they don’t match. However, this is pretty much the least I can do. Thank you M. Beliveau. Thank you Alfie.