| Losing a giant
Robert 'Evel' Knievel is no more
- By Steve Flores
As a kid I admired the daredevil. As a matter
of fact many men - both young and old - held a fascination with Knievel. The
guy was charismatic and larger than life. Opinions on personality and politics
aside the guy was something special. As sports fans we all love that 'special'
brand of athlete. Knievel was full of IT and I mean IT in a special and
positive way. IT cannot be taught or learned. Someone is born with IT.
Knievel was an icon and as he passed many of us took time to reflect on that
which we had witnessed during his lifetime.
Don't worry I am not
getting all pious about a guy that, despite all his accolades also was flawed.
I realize that. But his passing also gave me a little nudge and reminded me of
how important it is to live in the moment.
San Jose Sharks fans have
the rare ability to currently grab hold of a piece of history themselves.
History in the making is Joe Thornton folks and although we all know and
appreciate Super Joe I am not sure everyone realizes just how special he is.
The 2007-08 version of the Sharks has had a lot of ups and downs. Of
course the opinion on the team's results thus far has been based on a
combination of expectation and performance based on their prior season. The one
constant on this team this year has been the efforts of Thornton.
team has been criticized from all angles for pretty much everything they have
done and not done on the ice this season - most, if not all, deserved. I have
even seen some criticism of Big Joe. That, however, is ridiculous. I have had
Sharks season tickets since season one and I have never seen a Shark go as full
boar from his initial shift till game end quite like this guy.
always do the right thing? No. Does he always end up with the intended goal or
result? No. But more times than not the lack of a goal scored isn't for lack of
effort or ingenuity on Thornton's part. First of all he sees a game far
different than anyone else on the team. The guy is light years ahead of the
rest of the roster. That statement is not intended to nor does it minimize the
abilities of the other Sharks as they are all NHL quality players - Thornton is
just a witch.
The guy makes passes like no one since Gretzky. His pass
to Patrick Marleau against Dallas on Wednesday was so mind-blowing that
Michelangelo may have painted it on a ceiling somewhere had he been alive and
kicking in our current hockey world. Each and every night with Thornton on the
ice the viewer is aware of the fact that something amazing and or exciting is
not only possible, but quite likely.
Everything that can be said or can be written has
pretty much already been done about Thornton. The guy makes everyone better.
The man is a pro's pro. The guy is the game's best passer - all of this and
much, much more.
Thornton is Merlin and we are all part of his
Joe Thornton has already won an NHL Hart (MVP) Trophy.
With Sidney Crosby in the league many feel that it will be difficult for anyone
to pry that hardware from the Pittsburgh Centerman. I am not part of that
thought process however. I have the luxury of watching Thornton night in and
night out. That which I see is Hart-worthy and that is undeniable. The Sharks
are Stanley Cup contenders largely because of big number nineteen's presence on
the ice. He makes the Sharks better and he makes the games worth watching. In
an era that is once again becoming more and more defensive that is no small
So Shark fans during this holiday season please try to keep in
mind all that you have both in real life and in your hockey world. The next
time you see Big Joe on the ice take a moment to smell the roses and appreciate
the fact that you are watching one of the games greatest ever players, in his
prime, on your team. He may never attempt to jump the Snake River Canyon but he
is every bit full of IT.
Contact Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org
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