This archived article was written by: Nate Davis
Olympic gold medal gymnast Mary Lou Retton once said “trophies carry dust, memories last forever.”
Memories and sports are something intertwined. I remember getting my first hit in little league, I remember playing around the world with my dad while I waited for the school bus. I remember almost hitting a game-winning half court shot in YMCA basketball. I also remember what made me a hockey fan. Everyone has a great memory of making a shot, scoring a goal or watching a game with someone important in their life.
I haven’t always been a hockey fan, when I was in high school, one of my best friends was Andy Schoonmaker. He played hockey for our high school, and always talked about how great the game was, but I never listened. Until I watched a game. I was hooked. The speed of the game was amazing and the intensity was something I hadn’t experienced often while watching sports. After that I fell in love with hockey.
The NHL comes in fourth in popularity in the United States behind the NFL, NBA and MLB. The NHL has an average attendance of just over 17,000 fans per game, which pales in comparison to the 32,000 fans that the NFL pulls in.
Hockey is one of the fastest games played; with players flying up and down the ice at nearly 30 mph. It has hard hits, and fighting, amazing goals, and possibly the most exciting play in sports, the penalty shot. But the reason I love hockey is deeper than those things. I love the game because I have many memories linked to the game.
Some of my best memories with Andy involve sports. We used to have home-run derbies in the park behind my house. We would play golf together every week during the summers. We would play pool, and go bowling during the school year when it was too cold to golf, we would watch hockey games.
The reason that I’ve been thinking a lot lately about memories with Andy is because during the summer he was diagnosed with Leukemia. After undergoing chemotherapy in Boise, Idaho, he is now waiting to have a bone marrow transplant in the coming months. I just wanted to take some time and let you know I’m thinking of you, keep fighting and get better man.
Now I’m going to shift gears and talk about something else. On Monday Steve Yzerman, Brett Hull, Brian Leetch, Luc Robitaille were inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, Canada. They all deserve to be in the hall, they have contributed greatly to the sport of hockey. Thanks for making the game great and for making lasting memories for many fans.