Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Greatest Number Twos of all Time

Okay, this is random and maybe a little odd.

This question popped into my head this morning as I was getting ready for work.

If we could go anywhere in history at any time and insert yourself into a famous scene or event what would it be?
It could be a good event or a tragic one.

There is a twist here.
You can't become the main character or hero but one of the secondary people (or animal if you prefer) in the scene.

I was imagining something like an event that has been immortalized in time by a photo or a painting but that doesn't have to be.

I know many of my friends and associates will be thinking of such things as being the police officer in the photo beside Lee Harvey Oswald when Jack Ruby shot him in the stomach, or one of the background guys at the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

Personally, my choices would be much lighter.

My first choice would be to put myself in Boston Gardens on Mother's Day, Sunday May 10, 1970 in place of Derek Sanderson of the Boston Bruins. This was the Stanley Cup final game between Boston and the St. Louis Blues.

The score was tied. The moment was 40 seconds into overtime.
The puck was in the Blues zone. Bobby Orr blocked a clearing pass at the blue line, zipped the puck over to Derek Sanderson and raced toward the St. Louis net.
Derek Sanderson placed a perfect pass back onto Bobby's stick and Bobby popped it into the Blues net for the winning goal. The Bruins had their first Stanley Cup victory in 29 years.
An instant before Bobby made that shot he was sent airborne courtesy of St. Louis defenceman Noel Picard.
That moment is hockey history and the image of Bobby celebrating as he flies through the air is the stuff of legends. One of my favourite photos of all time.

I would like to be Derek Sanderson in that moment.

If I was to turn it around and be on the other side of that moment I would be Noel Picard at the center of the shot. It's not the glory aspect of the moment but is immortal regardless.

My second choice would be another legendary hockey moment.
It's September 28, 1972. Game 8. The final game in the "Series of the Century" between Canada and the Soviet Union.
The series was tied at 3 wins for each team and one tie. Game 8 was the deciding game.
In the final minute of play the score was tied 5-5 with Phil Esposito, Yvan Cournoyer and Peter Mahovlich on the ice.
Paul Henderson stood up at the bench and called Mahovlich off the ice as he was skating by.
Henderson then jumped onto the ice and rushed straight for the Soviet net.
Yvan Cournoyer sent Henderson a pass but it went behind him and he missed it.
Henderson was tripped up and crashed into the boards behind the net.
He leapt up and moved in front of the Soviet goal just in time to see Phil Esposito take a shot at Soviet goalie Vladislav Tretiak from inside the faceoff circle.
The rebound came to his stick and he tried to slide the puck past Tretiak without success.
But a second rebound came to Henderson who flipped the puck over Tretiak and into the net.
If you want to hear the way Foster Hewitt announced it go here;
I never get tired of hearing that.
I want to be Phil Esposito at that moment.
Now I know that the most famous image of the moment shows Mr. Esposito's back but any Canadian knows who that back belongs to.

To many this is the ultimate moment in sport's history. I agree.
I was only 9 years old at the time but I remember it clearly.
Every student and teacher at McNicoll Public School was gathered in the school gym to watch the game on one black and white television.

Every Canadian kid on skates that remembers that game has rushed into the other zone to the net and visualized himself as Paul Henderson at that moment.
But for this exercise I will be Phil Esposito.

In this unforgettable scene if I was to be on the other side of it I would either be Vladislav Tretiak sprawled helplessly on the ground or that Soviet guy skating away looking pretty ticked at the whole affair.

These are moments that come to my mind that would make me happy. I can think of a hundred others but these are my favourites at this moment.

I would be interested to know other people's choices.

Being number two isn't always glorious but it is often important and still unforgettable.

Stay well,

1 comment:

Train Geek said...

I would want to be one of the guys in that famous photo at Craigellachie, watching as Donald Smith drove the last spike to complete the Canadian Pacific Railway.

Sorry, nothing about hockey! ;)