1980 Over My Shoulder

I’ve been looking for a bit of writing inspiration lately — blogging has been slow, I haven’t had the energy or creativity to devote to working on the hockey book, and work has been, well, more than a job. Perhaps it was the rainy day today, or perhaps it was the fact that I got the urge to clean up my office (it happens, usually once every 3 or 4 months). About two years ago I managed to find an autographed 1980 Olympic Men’s Hockey Team jersey, with silver autographs of gold medal winners, all save the late Herb Brooks. There was a fairly large set of them released around the 25th anniversary of the Miracle on Ice, and one ended up in my jersey collection. I finally had it framed for my birthday this year (thanks to my mother in law) and it quite simply looks nicer than the motley collection of Devils swag on my “jersey wall.” As much as I like my BC jersey with Gionta’s handwriting, the Jay Pandolfo jersey I won in a raffle, the Patrik Elias jersey with a really funny autograph (before he got serious about signing his name) and a Scott Gomez/Jamie Langenbrunner dueling penmanship sample, they just didn’t “feel” right.

The Talking Heads’ David Byrne once said that art is something you should rotate, something you should like, not permanently mount on your wall as if it’s part of the building. I think jerseys fit that profile even more tightly than paintings or posters; jerseys each tell a story, have a life or a background, give you a snapshot of time and space. Give or take a few years, the Miracle on Ice marked the first third of my life; becoming a father to a son who would later help me rekindle my passion for hockey marked the second third. There’s a nice symmetry in that, and perhaps the backwards looking perspective will get me motivated to work on the next big forward looking projects.

Sometimes you need to change your focus, and that’s what I did in hanging the 1980 sweater over my left shoulder.