Hey everybody. Training camp's starting, everyone of us is ecstatic, hockey's back! This time around, I'll be talking about missions, how they vary from big to small, how they apply to everyone, everywhere. Specifically, I'll be talking about the Wild's mission when it comes to the season, the Wild's mission when it comes to rookies, and a hell of a twist in the lives of my family members and I.
Join me, I've gots lots to say this time around.
Opening panel: Tis' the new season.
The NHL season is starting in less than 3 weeks (I can't say ''already'' because it was the loooooongest summer ever), and everyone is anxious to see what exactly the new Wild roster will be, and we can't wait to see them on the ice. I, for one, can't wait to see them prove naysayers wrong, because everyone but us Wild fans are counting them out of the playoffs. Sure, we're biased, but we're also reasonable: The Wild CLEARLY improved this off-season. Our defensive game was sorely lacking, so we got many great two-way players, which means less goals against and also 4 complete lines on the ice. Also, we were pretty damn unlucky with injuries. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, a healthy PMB last season would have made us damn close to the playoffs. You can't argue that 50-60 wouldn't have made at least a bit of difference right? Also, having a true 2nd line center to put between Havlatendresse will clearly help, because (assuming it's Cullen on the 2nd line) Havlatendresse will have more offensive freedom while Cullen feed them and play solid behind his blue line. So many factors put us in playoff range and I can only think of injuries to stop them, and we can't POSSIBLY be as unlucky as last season, right? Of course, these are all things we've repeated at least a bajillion times this summer, so let's just add that it's year X. YEAR X. I think there may be a bit more motivation this year for this little franchise milestone.
So, the Wild's mission this year will be, quite simply, to make the playoffs. This is the year they climb the mountain and they'll keep climbing for a couple of years. Think about the promising rookies we have coming up soon. Speaking of which...
Second panel: Young champs
The Wild's prospects were crowned champions at Traverse City this week, as you should've all heard already. This may be meaningless to most, but I guarantee you that I am very pleased with this. First of all, it was mostly acquistions made between January and today that made the most damage in Traverse City, namely Casey Wellman, Nate Prosser, Jarod Palmer and Joel Broda. These guys were (apparently) extremely hard to play against night in and night out. Also, many of the tryout players made a great impression, like Josh Caron for instance. This alone points out the undeniably excellent job CF's done in his short time with the Wild. Second, this tournament built chemistry, character and confidence. Knowing that they never gave up, despite having to play 4 games in 5 nights, that they kept on fighting and their efforts paid off speaks very highly of how good a job they did, and also knowing that they did this against their future rivals in the NHL builds their confidence. They knew they weren't playing against run-of-the-mill juniors: these were pro-caliber rookies, and they prevailed. Many of them made an early case for spots on the Wild roster, and we know the future's bright. It also permitted us to get a small taste of our new players and we may have found some new players in the try-out group. Palmer was a try-out last year wasn't he?
These young men's mission? Build on this win like crazy. Work hard to improve themselves so that the Wild can FINALLY have at least a semblance of a home-grown roster. Seriously, we don't have many good players that we drafted and/or brought up. But now, with guys like Cuma, Scandella, Wellman, Prosser and the like, the Wild management's mission is also quite simple: Don't screw these kids up. Stories like A.J. Thelen, Benoit Pouliot, James Sheppard shouldn't be repeated. Bring these guys up the right way, PLEASE!!! I do have a feeling CF's going to do the right choices when it comes to bringing up our rookies. He's just really smart.
Final panel: A tumultuous week.
WARNING: This is mostly personal stuff rather than Wild stuff, but I just need to talk about this. Plus, it goes well with the theme, and I have a point at the end. Feel free to skip if you're not interested in my personal life, which wouldn't surprise me since you're not here for that, but if you're curious, go right ahead.
I have twin 19 year old sisters. Earlier this week, we learned that one of them is pregnant, carrying the child of her boyfriend of 6 weeks. When I heard this, I froze. Then, once I picked my jaw up from off the floor, I proceeded to saying nothing for about an hour. It was such a big shock, I still can't believe it. She kept saying '' You're going to be an uncle!'', and I kept thinking ''Well is that supposed to be good? See, my sister studied for 2 years, very unsuccessfully, thanks in large part to her ex-boyfriend, who is a criminal and a bum, who stole things from all of us, spent time in prison, is an alcoholic who didn't treat my sister too well and is just a bad guy altogether. As you can imagine, my parents were worried sick about her. She was failing all her classes, she had debts everywhere, and was with a criminal. My mother cried herself to sleep every night and my father's been sick for about two and a half years, which coincides with when she started dating that sludge puddle. We think it may have been caused by stress, but maybe not. Anyway my father hasn't worked since, and he's got at the very least 6-9 months to go without a job, and it's killing him. Moving on...
She finally separated herself from that monster and found herself a new guy, and even though we don't know him too well yet, we already know he's the probably the best she's ever had. This guy has his own company as a carpenter at 20 years old, is a hell of a handy-man and comes from a good family. One week into their relationship, they conceived a child. They took all neccessary precautions, yet it still happened. Some will call this a miracle, others will call it an accident. I will call it my nephew or my niece. This child won't be lacking love. We're going to love this child like crazy, but what drove me crazy all week were the following: How is she going to raise this child as a 20 year old? (she'll be 20 when she pushes the baby out of her body) How will she be able to support it financially, with 2 years of student loans, and only her boyfriend's salary for a while? How the hell are my parents going to react? Well, I discovered the latter one today...
All three of us (my sisters and I) came home for the week-end, to see our parents, but mostly to break the news. I was hesistating heavily, because I really didn't want to see their reaction. I feared it would break my heart. My mother was as happy as could be to see her three children at home, which hasn't happened often in the last 4 years. Hell, my sister spent most of the holidays with her ex-bum-ass-boyfriend. So she was extremely happy and my father was kind of in a bad mood because today he discovered he has some form of arthritis. You can imagine that both of them didn't want to hear that their daughter, whose life had finally came back to normal, who was finally her old self again, who had tortured them for the better part of 3 years, was pregnant. The shock was comparable to a plane crashing into their faces. It was just horrible. My father barely spoke a word since, he barely even looked at her. My mother nearly fainted, she cried a lot. It broke my heart, because she was in such a good mood all week knowing we were coming and all day I kept thinking of how quickly that smile was going to disappear. Both of them are scared, mostly because of all the unknowns. Raising a baby is hard, we don't know her boyfriend very well yet. Hell, SHE doesn't know her boyfriend very well yet, but he said he wouldn't abandon her EVER, so that's good. We just thank God she's not carrying her demonic ex-boyfriend's spawn. I'm starting to make my peace with it: I'm going to be an uncle. My parents will become grand-parents. It's weird.
My mission as an uncle? Show this kid all I can to make his/her life a good one and love and care for him/her with every fiber of my body and soul. My mission as a brother? Show undying love and support in light of the rough times my sister is sure to encounter. Her twin and I have to be there for her for better or for worse. She has to know that she will not be alone. My mission as a son? Make it easier on my parents in anyway possible. Of course, how ever hard in it on my parents, it's likely to be tenfold for my sister. My mission as a Wild fan? Keep my nephew/niece away from the Habs! I have the advantage that my sister and her boyfriend don't watch hockey, but the disadvantage that the rest of my family are Habs nuts. I'll have to initiate the kid to the Wild very early and often.
So what's my overall mission? Love. Simply love.
Punchline: I know the last panel was a text-heavy non-Wild related portion of this post, but you have to understand this was eating me alive this past week, and now that my parents know, I can finally share this with my friends.
Missions are an important part of life. They're everywhere and come in many flavors: Big, small, meaningful, meaningless, numerous, simple, complex, ect. They can range from becoming an astronaut to not burning your toast in the morning. I think life is just a series of missions we try to complete to get through the day, the week, the month or the year. My family has had to give itself many new missions this week and the Wild will also have many missions to accomplish this year. As Wild fans, our mission will be to give them incentive to accomplish those missions. We have to show our undying support.
Thank you for reading. Again, sorry for treating HW like a diary.