The Blackhawks are one of the coolest stories in Chicago sports this year. They are a young team with dizzying speed, great enthusiasm and genuine humility. Even though it looks as though they might soon be hitting the end of a good run, you can see the tea leaves. They're going to win it soon. Part of the credit goes to a guy named Stan Bowman.
Stan isn't a player but he is as close to coming from a hockey-royalty family as there is, outside of having a last name of Orr or Howe. He was even named after the ultimate hockey prize, the Stanley Cup. That's serious hockey. Stan is the son of one of the sport's all-time great coaches Scott Bowman. True Hawks fans have seen Scott Bowman in their nightmares for years as he was the head coach of many punishing Detroit Red Wing teams. Stan, the son, has been working for the Hawks as an assistant to the GM for a number of years.
Stan is a fellow Hodge Dodger. He was first diagnosed with the disease while with the Hawks when he was 33. A couple of years later, it came back. Not knowing what to do or where to go next, Stan one day received a call from Wayne Gretzky of all people. The Great One had a friend at the Mayo Clinic who might be able to help with something called a Stem Cell Transplant. But it would be tough. He would need to depend on a lot of people just to get through it.
And as you can imagine, Stan's dad visited often as Stan was fighting his way through it. Once Stan came out the other side, he asked his dad to stay permanently. He offered Scott a job as a consultant to the team. Now hockey guys aren't exactly an emotional, sappy sort. But I'll bet that at one point Stan thought that he wanted to know everything his dad knew. He wanted to be around his dad more. He wanted to know him because one day he won't be able to call his dad up.
It was too bad it took a tragedy to get to this. But as a producer once told me, "Problems are just opportunities." By the way, that in itself was a problem because the whole rest of the shoot we had to say, "Ah, we have an opportunity." We had a lot of opportunities.
It is with this story that I get ready for a visit from my own dad on Thursday. He's staying for the weekend. Recently I wrote about a bottom. But looking back on it now, there was a deeper bottom that only my dad and I know about. It was during my third chemo treatment. So far, the other treatments weren't working at all and this new stuff didn't seem to either. One night I was having pains that would start in my chest and shoot down to my belly. It literally felt like the cancer was migrating down to a new set of lymph nodes, the set that you don't want to go to since it gets you in real deep. Not wanting to wake my wife up, I thought I'd email my dad. It was midnight. He called within five seconds. I then let loose. Everything crashed. It's very, very frustrating when your mind is willing to do whatever it takes but your body isn't. Your body just can't.
This weekend, I'm going to try to forget about what's trying to corral me inside and enjoy my time with my dad. He doesn't know much about hockey but he knows about a lot of other things like building a fence, picking stocks and how to be a genuine person. I'm still not feeling the greatest and my mind is occupied with "watching and waiting". But my dad is coming.
Enclosed is a picture of one of the greatest movies ever made, Slap Shot. Featured are the Hansen Brothers who were known to play the game the old fashioned way, like Eddie Shore.