Monday, September 12, 2011

Death, destruction, depression and hockey

Last weekend's tenth anniversary of the September 11 attacks had a local hockey connection: two members of the Los Angeles Kings scouting department were among the those who unexpectedly lost their lives that day.  Garnet "Ace" Bailey and Mark Bavis were passengers on United Airlines Flight 175, which was hijacked and flown into the South Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City.

Ace Bailey/Mark Bavis memorial patch

Bailey, the Kings Director of Pro Scouting, had a lengthy NHL career that included winning two Stanley Cups with the Boston Bruins.  The Kings rowdy mascot, Bailey, is named for him.  Bavis was a young amateur scout who had displayed a gift for spotting talent.  Both made their homes in Boston and were headed to Los Angeles for the start of the 2001-2002 season.

The Kings annual Hockey Fest on Sunday included tributes to Ace and Mark, and an auction that raised funds for the Widows, Orphans and Disabled Firefighters Fund.

Ace Bailey Children's Foundation - Mark Bavis Leadership Foundation - 10 Years Later: Memories of Kings Scouts Still Strong - Los Angeles Times: Families persevere 10 years after 9/11 took L.A. Kings scouts - As part of Project 2,996: Ace Bailey remembered by Scatterbrained and Mishigas Central - Mark Bavis remembered by Shock and Blog


Hockey's summer from hell reached its zenith last week when the Russian league KHL suffered the catastrophic loss of the hockey team Lokomotiv Yaroslavl in a plane crash.  My weekend spent reliving the horror of 9/11 and watching Ace and Mark's plane repeatedly flying into Tower Two was capped off by the news that Alexander Galimov, one of only two survivors of the Lokomotiv disaster, had succumbed to his horrific injuries.  Just after the crash his condition was being described by doctors as "beyond critical" and they gave the impression that they believed his death to be imminent.  Galimov had suffered burns over 80 percent of his body, along with significant damage to his respiratory system (had he survived, he would have required a trachea transplant).  But for a few hopeful days he defied expectations and the hockey world was really pulling for him; "FIGHT KID!" littered my Twitter hockey list in his honor.  Galimov was a veteran of Lokomotiv and scored the team's last goal.

In rare good news, the only other survivor, flight attendant Alexander Sizov, is expected to recover.

A few days ago the KHL announced that although Yaroslavl is done for the season, the team will live on.  The plan is for Lokomotiv to be rebuilt and return to the league next year.

 Lokomotiv Yaroslavl memorial patch


As to why I decided to write such a depressing post, well, first, on a personal level my Dad died earlier this year and I'm still trying to wrap up his estate, a trying experience that has forced me to put my life (and a chance to properly mourn him) on hold and has kept me from home for most of the summer and now going into fall, so I've been depressed about that for a while.  On top of that, reliving 9/11 all weekend after summer's hit parade of hockey tragedies just left me feeling so sad last night, especially when capped with the late night news of Alexander Galimov's passing.  With the exception of my Dad, who was 70 and had cancer when he died, every person mentioned and/or linked to in this post died young and tragically.  It almost seems like somewhere along the way there was a swap and now it's the norm to die young and the exception to make it to a ripe old age.

I'm just ready for bad things to stop happening to good people.  I'm tired of good people losing their lives and their loved ones, tired of bad guys trying to destroy us for no good reason whatsoever and tired of tragic news breaking our hearts.  I want everyone to be able to live and thrive.  I'm ready for some good news for a change, for myself and everyone else. 

I just want something to cheer about.  And that's where the greatest game on earth comes in.  Hockey is like being at a party with your favorite team, an open bar and 20,000 of your closest fellow fans and it is fun.  I just hope I get back to L.A. before the NHL's annual party starts next month without me.  At the rate I'm going that may or may not happen.  But either way it gives me something to look forward to instead of something to dread, and I could really use that right now, even if I end up being a bit late to the party. 

I guess what all this means is that I'm tired of being sad, I just want things to feel normal again, and that I'm really grateful that having this blog gives me a rambling outlet to say so, however awkwardly.

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