Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local Sports

January 10, 2009

Detroit dream comes true

BLUEFIELD — Christmas Day. I was nervous as always. But this was different. This time, my gift would hopefully be a gift to someone else.

The recipient, my mother Nora. Even though she does not classify herself as such, she is a fighter and a survivor. Hodgkins Disease could not stop her in 1976. Neither could a failed marriage in the early 80s, heart disease in 1992 or breast cancer in 1994.

She overcame it all, then rose to the top of her profession as the director of Easley Library at Bluefield College. Yet she was depressed. She had not taken a vacation in literally decades, with the exception of a few sports trips that sowed the seeds for what I am doing now. She had a desire to see other places, but was always afraid to go.

She counts three things among her loves in life, English history, crafting and hockey. She became a hockey fan watching NBC’s telecasts during the early-1970s and picked a team — the Detroit Red Wings — in 1974. But hockey soon left the air and she would not be able to watch again until ESPN began televising it in the 1980s and ’90s.

I fell in love with the game in 1994, and witnessed the rebirth of the Red Wings and their dominating all-Russian line.

But I did not rediscover my joy for hockey until Jan. 1, 2008. The Penguins and the Sabres played an outdoor game dubbed the Winter Classic at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Buffalo.

During the game, Penguins star Sidney Crosby took the starring role, first with a puck-juggling exhibition in the first period, then by scoring the game-winner in a shootout.

My mom watched with me and we talked about how much fun everyone there was having and how great it would be to go to the next one.

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