One of my best friends, Sully, is quite possibly the biggest Detroit Red Wings fan on the planet. He'll tell you with a straight face that Steve Yzerman was the greatest player to ever lace 'em up, he'll talk himself into Chris Osgood being able to backstop a team to a Stanley Cup final, and come playoff time, he'll still don the #19 jersey he's had since he was a kid, despite the fact that it's about seven sizes too small. Through good times and bad, he's always been there for the Wings.
Yesterday afternoon, Sully lost his father after a long and heroic battle with Leukemia.
I get a lot of flack for writing about sports. People tell me that I devote too much of my time to sports, that I care too much about these meaningless games, and that the teams I immerse myself in are altogether too important to me. I'm often told that I shouldn't care about these teams or these games because sports isn't real life, and these teams and these games don't give a damn about me one way or the other. And that may or may not be the case. In fact, it probably is the case. But that isn't the point.
Because sometimes you need a break from real life. Sometimes you need an escape from the reality of the way things are. And sometimes you need the hope that allows you to believe that things will one day be better than they are today.
And sometimes you just need something to take your mind off the fact that you just lost your best friend.
I know there were few things in this world Sully and his dad enjoyed more than watching the hockey game on Hockey Night in Canada in the Sullivan family basement; Sully as a Wings fan, Lornie as a Habs fan, but the two of them always understanding the unspoken bond that can only exist between a father and a son, somehow manifesting itself in the game of hockey.
That bond is evident in the clip below. Almost without exception, each of these guys wants to share this moment; the pinnacle of their professional lives; with their dad.
And despite the fact that in a million years, the outcome of a sporting event could never begin to make up for the loss of Lornie Sullivan, I'm just glad that for one fleeting moment, Sully's team could be there for him.