Writing about death sucks.
Does anyone else lose any ability they had with words as soon as it actually matters? Because as soon as I want to write about something personal and important, I've got nothing. I mean, honestly, what do you say? What can you say?
There's no deep, meaningful lesson here. I'm not trying to make anyone laugh or impart any wisdom. I'm just sad.
I'm always wishing that the Miracle on Ice and the people involved were in the news more. But when I was on Twitter on Tuesday and saw "Bob Suter" and "RIP" in the same sentence... well, suffice it to say that this was NOT how I wanted it to happen. And suffice it to say that I now know what utter shock feels like, and had a whole lot of trouble getting any work done the rest of the afternoon.
It sounds kind of morbid to say, but I'd sort of vaguely wondered about members of this team dying. I mean, learning that Steve Janaszak worked at the World Trade Center until just a few months before 9/11 kind of made me realize "...well, crap, one of them is going to be the first to die at some point." And just the other day, on Twitter, I saw "Pav" and "RIP" in the same sentence and legitimately panicked for a second. (But it was about someone who'd passed away several years ago, and was not the Pav I was thinking of.) So the fact that this is happening (for real) right after that brief moment of terror... well, it sucks. It's weird, and it sucks.
I'm not going to claim to be an expert on Bob (and his Miracle Monday post is still several weeks away... so the research I'm about to do for that just took a decidedly somber turn). But I do know that he was an absolutely great person; he was the guy you wanted on your team because he'd go to war for you, the guy who decided to help grow the game from the ground up instead of pursuing an NHL career, the guy who was too humble to even show his son his tape of the Miracle on Ice.
It's strange how you can be so affected by the life and death of someone you've never met. But Bob was a part of something that meant so much to so many people, myself included. And I'm really stuck on the fact that this "eternal team" is no longer whole. That lineup of 20 is now no longer 20, coincidentally through the loss of #20. Herb built that team to be one solid unit, no individual names or faces; if you cared about one of his players, you were going to care about all of his players, because each of them played a role that was exactly as important as anyone else's. And now there's a hole in the middle of that roster. There's a hole in a lot of places.
I have to imagine that wherever he is, Herb is proud to have that jersey hanging in the rafters of his arena.
Rest in peace, Bob. Thanks for helping to make a miracle.