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There’s Always Something More Important Than The Game

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We all got a reminder of how we sometimes forget that athletes are people too.

NHL: San Jose Sharks at Calgary Flames Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Hockey. It’s a game we all love for one reason or another. Some of us played it as kids on ponds or in organized leagues, some of us look like a baby deer trying to walk on ice when we put on skates (that’s me). Whatever the attraction or reason was for falling in love with the sport, we are passionate about hockey. We go to games. We buy TV packages. We have a ridiculous collection of jerseys. We write about it.

I’m a fan of 3 of the “big four” sports, but there’s something about hockey that just makes it better than football and baseball. And if you’re reading this you too are probably nuts about hockey in turn, probably nuts about the Calgary Flames. We talk on Twitter during the games and we interact on Facebook as we discuss the short comings and exciting moments during the hockey season. Sometimes it’s cordial and sometimes people say things that aren’t all that kind. But it’s the passion you have for the team that makes you a fan and positive or negative comments aside, we’re all here for one reason: we love the Calgary Flames. Warts and all.

This brings me to the news today that came out Calgary. Johnny Gaudreau left the team prior to the Flames game against the Sharks for a “family reason.” Calgary initially didn’t say anything more than that and because it’s a personal family issue, it wouldn’t have bothered me one bit if they didn’t elaborate beyond that. Of course, as fans and people who cover the team, our curiosity always gets the best of us and we want to know, we speculate, we think the best, we think the worst.

Well, the worst is what Johnny Gaudreau is dealing with. Johnny Gaudreau’s father suffered a cardiac event and the Flames star winger flew home to be with his father and family. The team is behind him 100% and so should the fan base. Playoffs or no playoffs, family always wins out and Gaudreau and the organization made the ABSOLUTE right call.

Sometimes we forget that these athletes are actual people. They have feelings. They have ups, they have downs. We forget that under that Flames sweater lies a person who has stuff going on in their lives just like you and I. We get so wrapped up in making the playoffs, who’s Corsi is better, why this guy does this and why this guy doesn’t do that that we lose sight of the fact that these guys that we root for and who’s names we wear on our backs are just like us. They have joyous times, they have sad times. The only thing that separates them from us is their super star athlete status. To totally sound cliche, we all put our pants on one leg at a time.

That’s why when I heard the news today about Johnny Gaudreau’s father it reminded me that athletes aren’t super heroes. They have issues on and off the ice that we sometimes never know about. Guy Gaudreau’s cardiac event was a reminder to all of us sometimes we need to step back and remember that despite expectations and contracts and what WE as fans want, all these guys playing for the Flames are human beings too. Maybe we should treat them as such more than we actually do.

The Matchsticks and Gasoline Family sends it’s thoughts to the Gaudreau Family as they work through this tough time in their lives.