Archive for the 'Things of Actual Importance' Category

Rick Martin

One of the strange aspects of embracing a city and a sports team by choice rather than by birthright is trying to figure out where Buffalo’s history becomes my history.  Because I’m not a native WNYer, it can be a odd feeling to realize I’m attached to, or saddened by, things that happened in Buffalo before I got here.  The longer I’ve been here, and the more I’ve come to love Buffalonians, the more I’ve wanted to learn about this wonderful place and it’s history.  Lately I’ve realized that through my attachment to specific Buffalonians, my attachment to Buffalo has somehow begun to stretch back to a time before I lived here.

In light of the death of Rick Martin, I’m moved, as always, by the depth of emotion of my fellow Buffalonians.  I’m so sorry for your loss, longtime Sabres fans.  I look forward to learning more about Rick Martin in the coming days.

One thing I already know about him is that he helped build the Sabres community that I love so much today.  For that, I feel joyously indebted to Rick Martin.

Thank you for being such a great Sabre.

Sorrow

What a terrible day.

So many people in our relatively small community have been effected by this tragedy, but on behalf of the musicians of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, I would like to offer my sincerest condolences to the families and friends of Coleman Mellett and Gerry Niewood.  Mr Mellet, and Mr. Niewood were musicians and members of the Chuck Mangione Band.  They were traveling to Buffalo to perform with the BPO.

I think it goes without saying that Buffalo will watch the hockey game tonight from a very different perspective.  It’s just a meaningless distraction, but I’ll admit, it’s a welcome distraction after a long day of incredibly sad news.

Happy Father’s Day!

Here’s something I wrote a few months ago about my father.

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads, and the future dads, young and old!

Sad News

I just found out via WGR that Tim Russert died today. I don’t watch a lot of Meet the Press, and I haven’t read his books, but like all Buffalonians I have a soft spot for Tim Russert. He was possibly Buffalo’s greatest ambassador.

After the October Storm in 2006, when so many of our trees were damaged, a local artist started an organization called “Carvings For a Cause” which turned the trunks of fallen trees into mammoth wooden sculptures. The sculptures started popping up all over the Elmwood strip last summer. The damage that our trees sustained during the storm effected me deeply, and this project really helped me feel better.

The Tim Russert sculpture lived outside of Globe Market on Elmwood for many months. I have to admit that at first, the fact that there even was a Tim Russert sculpture kind of made me giggle. Most of the other sculptures are of statelier, more historic figures. I certainly never disliked the Tim Russert statue, but it really grew on me over time. There is something incredibly friendly about his statue, and over the many months that I walked past it every day, I just…. started to notice the sculpture every time. It became a focal part of my walks, and after awhile, the Tim Russert statue came to represent, for me, the sense of regeneration I was feeling in my own life. It made me genuinely happy.

And that’s my Tim Russert story. I hope it doesn’t seem disrespectful to tell a story about a statue on the day a real man died. I certainly tell this story from a place of respect. Tim Russert, his success, and his obvious Buffalo pride, positively effected many lives in this area. I’m sure many Buffalonians will be telling Tim Russert stories tonight.

He will be missed.

Karen’s Crusade

I’m going to take a minute to depart from TWC’s usual frivolity to tell you about a candlelight vigil on March 8th in honor of Karen Kwaitkowski who was killed ten years ago by a drunk driver. Information about the vigil can be found on the Karen’s Crusade tab at the top of this page, or by visiting karenscrusade.org. Please have a look, and give some thought to this important issue. Thanks guys!

Hey Look!

luckymanrichard

Richard Zednik was released from the hospital!  Of all the horrible things about that horrible accident, the thing that will probably stick in my mind the longest was the terrible look on Zednik’s face as he skated off the ice. I think the news agencies thought that by panning away from the blood they were sparing us the worst of the scene, but I was really spooked by Zednik’s expression.  It’s great to see a picture of him looking robust and smiley, posing confidently with his foxy wife and his foxy surgeon.

He actually looks amazingly robust.  He looks like nothing even happened.  Shouldn’t he have a crazy scar, or at least a band-aid on his neck?

It’s Just a Game

I only saw two periods of the game tonight before I left my house to go to a party.  I’m not sorry I missed those terrifying fifteen minutes after the accident, but before anyone knew he would survive.  Get well, Richard Zednik.

Dad

Kevin over at BfloBlog wrote a very nice post today about the happiness he felt watching his young son engaged in a hockey game. I don’t have any kids, so naturally my thoughts drifted towards my own father; in particular the memories I have about him surrounding sports.

Some of you may be surprised to hear that I was a rabid Minnesota Twins fan growing up. I slept with a baseball under my pillow for the duration of the 1987 post season. I know how to keep a baseball score sheet. I cried when Tom Brunansky was traded to the Cardinals in 1988. I can rattle off the names, numbers and positions of long ago forgotten Twins (Steve Lombardozzi #4, or Randy Bush #25, anyone?). Although my sports fandom has been dormant for the better part of a decade now, I do have a history of this, and I believe it’s in my blood to enjoy sports. Sports, particularly baseball were lovingly bred into me by my father.

I had the quintessential American baseball experience with my father. Some of my best memories of him are of the nights we rode our bikes downtown to the Metrodome (I know, the Dome. So wrong.) and sat in the cheap seats in the upper deck behind center field. Once as a young child, when I asked if he thought someone would hit a homerun to us, my father replied, “If someone hits a homerun into this section, I’ll take you to Disney Land tomorrow.” I, of course, spent the remainder of the game willing someone to hit me a homerun, to no avail.

My very favorite memory of a baseball game with my father was a game in which the Twins scored 6 runs to come from behind in the ninth inning. The game was at night, I don’t remember the opponent or the year, but I couldn’t have been more than nine-years-old. Just the fact that we stayed in crappy seats through the ninth inning when the Twins were down by five runs, says a lot about our devotion. We rode our bikes to the game, (which is weird considering we had to bike home in the dark), and rather than getting me home and into bed, my Dad took me to Bridgeman’s where we ate a full meal and rehashed the game. It must have been far past my normal bedtime, but I don’t remember being even slightly tired, and I distinctly remember happily humming to myself on the bike ride home. I also remember standing next to my mother (who was sleeping) in their dark bedroom, and telling her all about the game when we got home.

We didn’t just watch the Twins. Many a weekend afternoon were spent with my Dad and my sister watching the Golden Gophers at the University of Minnesota, which is where I learned about baseball played outdoors, with wind, and sunshine, and rain. The Gopher field is also where I first got to sit close enough to learn the hard way to watch out for line drive foul balls. (No, I didn’t get hit, but pretty. damn. close.)

My father died in 1993 when I was 17-years-old. I think a large part of why I lost interest in sports is because it just wasn’t the same without him. I have thought about him so often over the last few months as I have meticulously studied hockey. I swear, one of the most comforting things in the world is the sound of televised sports in the background as I putter around my apartment. My return to the world of sports fandom is probably one more step in the relationship I have with my father; a relationship that did not end when he died.

I’m not sure if he ever watched hockey. I kind of suspect that he didn’t, because I don’t ever remember hockey being on our television. It would have been so fun to reverse the roles, and to teach him about a sport. One of the very best things about my father was his obvious interest in the things that Ellie and I loved. I’m sure I could have made a diehard hockey fan out of him.

Kevin Everett

Yesterday the punchline of my post was that, “Football is sad”. At the time, I was jokingly referring to the outcome of the game.

What a difference a day makes.

Buffalo Bill, Kevin Everett is under medical sedation after a surgery to correct a severe spinal injury he sustained during yesterday’s game. The prognosis does not look good. Although it will be several days before doctors can determine the extent of the damage, it is unlikely that Everett will ever walk again.

It’s so incredibly sad. I wish you the best, Kevin.


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In accordance with the Fair Use Copyright Law, The Willful Caboose uses logos and registered trademarks of the National Hockey League to convey my criticism and inform the public of the Sabres' suckitude/badassitude (whatever the case may be). Photos on The Willful Caboose are used without permission, but do not interfere with said owner's profit. If you own a specific image on this site and want it removed, please e-mail me (willfulcaboose [at] gmail [dot] com) and I will be more than happy willing to oblige. (Special thanks to The Pensblog for their help with this disclaimer.)

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