Tragedies like the one the hockey family suffered yesterday are the hardest to bear. In a sense, they resemble natural disasters, in that people have lost their lives, and yet there are no villains to blame and bring to justice. After the emotional hurt passed, I myself wanted to turn my ire on something or someone. But these are the stages of mourning, and to look for someone to blame would be immature of me. The IIHF called yesterday “The darkest day in the history of our sport”. I couldn’t agree more. But alas, human tragedy has been with us since time immemorial. It is simply a sad part of the human condition that we must accept and try to minimize as much as we can. Life itself is a wager. Just walking out your front door is an automatic roll of the dice. Yesterday was a jarring reminder of this.
Yesterday, I came across a poem by Alexander Pushkin, Russia’s most celebrated writer, that seemed relevant to this sad time.
It’s the last time, when I dare
To cradle your image in my mind,
To wake a dream by my heart, bare,
With exultation, shy and air,
To cue your love that’s left behind.
The years run promptly; their fire
Changes the world, and me, and you.
For me, you now are attired
In dark of vaults o’er them who died,
For you — your friend extinguished too.
My dear friend, so sweet and distant,
Take farewell from all my heart,
As takes a wid in a somber instant,
As takes a friend before a prison
Will split those dear friends apart.
I can’t say farewell to the lost as poetically as Pushkin does here. Those of us at Octopus Thrower will be sharing a moment of silence on Twitter at 9 am eastern time on Friday. I invite you all to join. All of the men lost on this flight will be remembered by us all. Let’s begin now to celebrate their contributions to the greatest sport in the world.