When we think about Father's Day, we typically conjure up ideas of hitting the links with Dad or catching a few innings with him or cooking him breakfast in the morning or... you know, happy things. For three hockey people this year, however, Father's Day takes on a much different meaning.
Derek Zona at our Edmonton Oilers blog, The Copper & Blue, tells the story of these three men -- Kurtis Foster, Jose Theodore and Brian Burke, on this Father's Day.
Imagine a man who just completed a wildly successful year back at work after taking a year off due to a brutal injury. He had one chance and one year to prove himself, and he did just that. Though his company wasn't successful, he was a bright spot for the guys this year. During the year, his wife told him that she was pregnant with their first child, news that made his comeback that much more special. As he put the wraps on the year and headed off for some rest and relaxation, his employer gave him some great news - he'd been nominated for a man-of-the-year award at work. It really was shaping up to be the best year of his life. His child came into this world on May 5th, and the couple named her Lila. She was beautiful, the culmination of everything that he'd dreamt of, worked for... lived for. At that moment, his world was, for lack of a more descriptive word, perfect.
Five days later, his world came crashing down -- Lila passed away.
In a flash, his world was thrown upside down. Far from being perfect, it was now the opposite. A day before, he was filled with joy for a variety of reasons, but now there was pain. Condolences and well-wishes poured in from his colleagues and those who read of Lila's death in the papers.
This is father's day for Kurtis Foster. His day is one of remembrance. His off-season is going to be filled with workouts to stay in shape, on-ice drills to stay sharp, contract negotiations with a new team and maybe a Masterton Award. Through it all, he's going to have to battle constant thoughts of the daughter that he'll never get to know and find a way to focus on the task at hand, else he risks losing everything he's worked so hard to recover.
If you read one thing on this holiday, you should head over to C&B and read the entire piece. It's an important bit of perspective today.