Over the past two weeks, two well-known Canadians passed away. One was a politician, the other a hockey player. And even though their professions were very much different (besides the aspect of immense competition involved), they both shared in common something more important – they were stand-up & exceptional human beings.
Much has been said about Jack Layton, and to be honest I don’t really have that much of an informed knowledge of the man, beyond what has been told to us since his death. But what I do know is that he seemed like a nice guy, regardless of his views on life. Even though I probably would’ve disagreed with much of what he believed in, it would be inhuman of me to belittle a man who can no longer defend himself, and who certainly doesn’t deserved to posthumously attacked. And although I identify myself as politically Conservative (at least in this country… don’t get me started on American Conservatives), it really bothers me how too many conservative individuals, including some of my own contemporaries can become so bitter and antagonistic towards the expressions of grief (in whatever form they may be) of those mourning Layton. Sure it might some people’s job (i.e. columnists and reporters) to deliver these types of analytic point of views, which some are quite intriguing (like Raymond J. De Souza’s editorial in the National Post)… But nonetheless it still bothers me that people can be almost malicious towards the undeserving dead.
This is partially why I’ve chosen the following video as my favourite Layton moment. It’s light-hearted, but it always stands out in mind, and of course makes me laugh. And I can’t think of anyone who would have something mean to say about this moment.
Obviously Jack will be remembered (and should be) for so much more…
As for Wade Belak, I was absolutely heartbroken to hear of his passing. Even though he played the role of enforcer, he was so much more than that…
Belak played parts of seven seasons with my Toronto Maple Leafs, and during that time fans grew to appreciate what he had to offer. Toronto is a kind of city that supports athletes that exhibit hard work, effort, and the willingness to take beatings but still be able to dish it back in return. Everyone loves skill, talent and points, but even though Belak lacked much of the latter, he was the epiphany of the former. And to add-on to that, he just seemed like an honest and happy dude. And who doesn’t like that?
Because Belak was so well-known for his enforcing duties and family man mentality, it shouldn’t surprise you that I’ve chosen a moment outside of the box. The following clip highlights a goal Belak scored in a game, after having not scored in 143 games. And you can even see how happy he and his teammates were for him. It just shows the kind of way how people thought of him
One of my favourite blogs – Toronto Mike – published a very touching article about Belak, highlighting what kind of person he was as well as a refocusing on the impact of clinical depression and mental illness, specifically when it’s suffered from in silence. Please check it out, it’s a really great link.
May they both rest in peace.