Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Saying Goodbye to Youth...

Yesterday Mark Messier retired, ending his 25 year NHL career.

I imagine that there are 2 questions that many of you are asking:

1) Who is Mark Messier?


2) Why am I posting about him on this blog?

To answer the 1st question, I suggest reading the linked article above, or go to Google, and read a few of the articles that come up (ones from Canadian papers will be more interesting). In short, he was one of the greatest hockey players and leaders to ever play the game, and he helped end the New York Rangers 54 year championship drought by leading them to victory in the 1994 season.

As for the 2nd question, I grew up loving hockey, both watching and playing. Many of my fondest childhood memories revolve around hockey. I vividly remember the spring of 1994, watching each of the Rangers playoff games, cheering every goal, celebrating every victory, and getting caught up in the hockey fever that swept the city of New York that spring.

Since moving to Israel, I haven't watched much hockey (to be frank, NY Rangers hockey hasn't been much fun to watch the last 7 years), and I haven't played much of late either, as it's not easy to find a game to join in this part of the world.

I'm not 14 anymore. My high school days are long behind me. I no longer live in NY, but in Israel. I don't have the luxury of living in a carefree world as I did when I was only 14. I am now married, have a family, mortgage payments, a job. When I was 14, in the spring of 1994, my biggest concern was whether the NY Rangers would finally win, while today, at 26, living in Israel, my concerns are over the future of the Jewish State and Jewish People.

Part of me wouldn't mind being 14 again (at least for a little while), going back to the Spring of 1994, and just getting totally caught up in hockey, and feeling that nothing else mattered. I used to have a t-shirt that said something like: "Hockey is life, the rest is just details". I don't think I could wear that t-shirt today (even if it would still fit me). At 26, while I still follow sports, it's no longer as central to my life as they once were, and overall, I do feel that I am the better for it.

The spring of 1994, just over 11 years ago, seems both so close and yet so far away from where I stand today. I feel, with the retirement of one of my childhood icons, that I am retiring in a way as well. Retiring from my youth.

So, it's time to say farewell.

Goodbye, Mark, I'll miss you, but it looks like it's time for both of us to move on with our lives.

Thanks for the memories.


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