Saturday, December 17, 2005

Heart and Lungs: What Really Matters ?

A long time ago, people told stories of extra-special people and extolled their virtues throughout their respective cultures. The hero's endeavors began to grow with each telling of the story and a myth formed around them. Soon, those people began to take on super-human qualities. 2,000 years later, humans behave the same way. We build up a special select people and hail them as "great", "super", or "heroic".

Such is the case of today with hockey athletes Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux. They're both champions of their sport with memories and stories that will live forever. Lest we normal humans forget, those that the society has chosen to place with the hallowed persona, these are real people of flesh and blood.

With Mario Lemieux, we (especially those of us in Pittsburgh) have come to believe in some of the lauded acclimates and believe that Mario can do just about anything. He's defeated cancer, rescued the franchise at least 3 times, and done enormous amounts of work. We forget that Mario Lemieux is just a flesh and blood human being like the rest of us. He has a heart. Unfortunately, that heart hasn't been working all that well. It's tough to see that Mario must once again sit out while his skills have been taken from him because of an irregular heartbeat. The team he poured so much of his heart into left him at home as they went to Buffalo this weekend.

Perhaps this is the final chapter in Lemieux's public and athletic life. But that's only up to him to decide. After all, he's just a human being paid to entertain us with his unique abilities.

Wayne Gretzky certainly had the magic touch in his career. He's sat on top of the world befriending Lord Stanly's Cup many times. He's headed up a couple of dynasty franchises and he's even taken the challenge to give a non-traditional hockey team's city the chance to feel that same success he did. He unites an entire country with his creative process in building Olympic teams. There is nothing on this earth that Gretzky can not fail at. But sometimes, even the best has to feel helpless sometimes. Poor Wayne has now gone home to Ontario to be with his parents this holiday season.

Wayne's mother, Phyllis, is dying of lung cancer. It's very sad to see someone you love in pain and hurting and not be able to do something about it. He's taken an indefinite leave of absence from the team he owns and coaches. Gretzky is just a human being like you and me.

The game we call hockey will long survive Gretzky and Lemieux. This holiday season, we regular humans do extraordinary things with a little hope, with a little sharing, and a little love. Please remember that those people who need the care most during this time by following the lead of our heroes we look up to for so very long. Maybe you can do something superhuman for someone else who needs it.

[Via: Yahoo! Sports & Yahoo! Sports]
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