Monday, December 12, 2011

Never Meet Your Hero...

...unless it's Bernie Parent.

My middle son is an unlikely goalie.

As some of you might remember, at 2 he was diagnosed with Apraxia and we were told he would never speak. He muscled through years of intensive speech therapy 2-3 times a week and, miraculously, by first grade he had caught up to most of his peers.

He is an academic. A self-proclaimed nerd. And he had no interest in playing sports or hanging out with the "sports kids." He was content with his books, his legos and researching the finer legalities of the citizens' arrest.

Everything changed when he was 9 and his older brother stuffed him with pillows and cushions from the couch and made him stand in the street for all his friends to shoot pucks at. I told him he was just say no to them...but he became obsessed with the physics of the game of hockey and relished the solitary yet protected role of the goalie.

He has watched hours of video featuring the world's finest goalies, best saves, AHL and college goalies, etc. and has many YouTube mentors...but since he is also a Flyers fan, it's no surprise that Bernie Parent is his hero.

Mason had the opportunity to meet the Hall of Famer this past weekend and I almost didn't take him. Meeting someone you idolize is always an iffy proposition.

Not only is Bernie Parent the most magnanimous and positive person I have met in a long time, he took the time to talk with Mason one on one about being a goalie, he let him touch the Stanley Cup ring AND told him that when he was younger people constantly told him he would never make it --that he was too small, not strong enough and didn't have enough natural athletic ability.

People have said the same to Mason. You're not athletic enough. You can't play hockey with asthma. You don't skate fast enough. But he's done it for two seasons now, including a six game Iron Man Tournament and having the lowest goals against in his league this past season. It was great for him to hear that even Bernie Parent had faced an uphill battle.

My favorite piece of advice that he imparted to my aspiring goalie:

"If you're not living on the edge, you're taking up too much room."

I LOVE that. What a great way to live your life.

And what a pivotal moment for my son --to have a two time Stanley Cup winner and personal hero take the time from his day to encourage an 11 year old with a seemingly impossible dream. Mason has already overcome so many obstacles in his 11 years, and to have someone like Bernie Parent validate his dreams means the world to him...and to me.

Just put this one in the 'I just had to share' file.

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