Gary Roberts, was a warrior in his own right. I remember running into a former Maple Leafs Scout in Halifax during the last real Maple Leafs cup run. Apparently Gary’s shoulders were shot and was in a lot of pain. Soon after the Leafs were eliminated, it was reported that Gary needed to have surgery on both shoulders. I can’t imagine trying to play through that much pain. But I can understand the honor of doing so. We often kid ourselves that we would love to be an NHL pro and life would be so grand. Remember that in our daily lives, we have the luxury of having a sick day, or taking a vacation when we want to. Not true for the pros. A sick day means that someone could replace you at any moment. You are even more expendable than us normal folks down on the working world plane of existence. Gary had a lot of pressure on him at that moment in his career. He chose to play through it, and true Leafs fan’s won’t forget that.
I am sure it is well documented, that Gary had to leave the game due to a serious neck injury. However that didn’t last long. He changed his life, changed the way he ate, the way he thought and approached the game with a new sense of passion and drive. Not everyone is so lucky to have the inner strength to tell themselves they have to really change their game plan so much later in life. I am one of those people who have struggled with trying to be healthy and maintaining it. Just recently, I hurt my knee and haven’t been to the gym in a few weeks. In the back of my mind, I am devastated because I really want to resume a normal life. A normal healthier life and hitting the gym. Gary was part of my inspiration for getting off the pot and going back to the gym. I kept thinking, if he can reinvent himself, why can’t I?
Every time I am sorting cards, I find there are times I stop to think and stare at the player depicted on the card and how much of an inspiration they are to me in my life. It is odd that he wouldn’t know who I am if he ran over me with his truck, but yet he has so much influence in how I perceive things. My parents were influential in raising me to be a good man, a good honorable citizen of the world. I now use athletes to give me the motivation edge to do the things I wouldn’t have the courage to do otherwise. Be brave, Be bold, Be healthier. Every now and then, I will relapse and eat junk food, or be lazy. But I talk to myself and make sure I am being better than I can me. Every day is a new lease on life. Every day is a chance to make a change, be a better person.
I may never meet Gary and give him my thanks for helping me realize my goals. But that suits me fine. You never have to meet your role models, you just have to take the positive vibes and influence they speak of and add them to your repertoire of life skills. That in of itself is worth more to me than actually meeting my heroes.
No matter how tough my goals may be, they are there and I want to achieve them. I am only 38 years old but I am still very much a young man. I still very much a child of the world looking for tidbits of information to better my life.
Thanks Gary, you have proved that you can never be too old to retool, revamp and resume your life the way you envision it to be. Thanks for your years of service with the blue and white. You would never be easily replaced.