Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wade Belak, A Day to Mourn

Wade Belak, my fave photo cuz of the tatts.
Photo Copyright Nashville Examiner
Today Twitter brought me horrid news.  Wade Belak, on again-off again hockey player, was found dead in Toronto.  Wade was many things over the years, not limited to his transition between teams, ending his career and retiring a Nashville Predator.  Wade was a constant source of discussion, whether the discussion surrounded his 'healthy scratch' status or his amazing public persona. From game to game Wade talk ranged from impassioned talk over ice time to, occasionally, him being a fan whipping post for on-ice mishaps.   Regardless what lovers of ice hockey thought about Wade's play, there was one thing that we could arguably all agree on: Wade was a Good Guy.  He was funny.  He always had a smile for anyone and everyone.  He loved the game he invested his life in but, moreover, he loved what makes the game what it is: the Fans.  Very few professional athletes had time for fans like Wade.

I had the pleasure of being on what I call the 'fringe' of Wade's life.  I knew his name, he knew mine.  He never failed to have a smile and some anecdote to relay, often at his own expense, just to make those near him grin.  He had a zest for life and his jovial attitude was virtually contagious.

Today was devastating, not only at the news that we have lost Wade, but that we have lost so many so soon!  What a shame it is, what a loss... as we the fans mourn and feel loss, I can only imagine the loss that the families of these public personalities must now face.  First it was Derek Booggard (27) then Rick Rypien (28)... and now it hits so close to home with Wade (35).

If any of the deaths mentioned here were accidental overdoses, what is going on?  Where is the strict control surrounding limits of such high-powered meds?  I go through surgery and it's an act of congress to get more than a few weeks supply of pain meds... so what gives?  I understand chronic pain (I mean, I did break my back in three spots and have arthritis in my hip from hockey) but there has to be something we can do.  Education?  Limitations?  I don't know what the answer may be - if there is an answer at all - but this needs to be looked at.  Our players are valuable to us and indispensable to their families...

...but mostly I have to 'blame' something and I naturally gravitate to over-willing prescribers.

Wade, your infectious smile will be missed, regardless of ice.

Wade Belak, 7/3/1976 - 8/31/2011

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