Goodbye, Blackhawks; 'from now on, you're only someone that I used to love'

The Stanley Cup, the emblem of the championship of the National Hockey League, is one of the more beautiful things I have ever seen. I was sent to bed in 1971 when the Chicago Blackhawks were leading the Montreal Canadiens in the deciding seventh game of the Stanley Cup Finals. I woke up in the morning to watch the celebration… by Montreal.

I thought that was healed when Patrick Kane scored his famous overtime goal in Philadelphia in 2010 and went running — that’s how it looked — down the ice into the arms of Antti Niemi, the Blackhawks goaltender. The Blackhawks had won the Stanley Cup!

I thought nothing could spoil my joy.

It has turned to nausea now.

Since the report came out this week of Jenner & Block’s investigation into the sexual abuse charges, I have read with disgust of how the video coach abused a young prospect, a “Black ace” — a player from the minors who was called up to be with the Blackhawks just in case anything went wrong. The reports of managers saying they would take care of things, but they didn’t want to interfere with team chemistry… I feel sick even typing that. “Taking care of things” should never have meant “covering it up for 11 years.”

It all is said to have happened when the Hawks finished winning the semifinals and qualified for the finals, their first chance at the championship since 1992. I thought the horrible stuff happening at the time was Duncan Keith’s famous dental work, the result of taking a puck to the mouth that was said at the time to cost him seven teeth. I have heard him since give the total as ten.

But more terrible things were happening, and being covered up by those who should have reported them and stopped the perpetrator in his tracks. (Instead, he was allowed to join the celebrations and resign, then commit similar offenses that landed him in jail.)

After the report came out, I listened to one game, but it did not make me feel any better. The absorbing quality of hockey — anything can happen anytime, so pay attention and forget other things — no longer feels like an advantage.

Forget other things, as I think of it, has echoes of the slogan from the three Stanley Cup-winning seasons: ONE GOAL.

I’m not going to get rid of the souvenirs I collected, from a “baseball” (ha) cap to T-shirts to photos and news clippings, chronicling all of the adventures of the championship teams. They made some difficult years into happy ones. Even though the sparkle is tarnished, I’m not going to rewrite history.

But when I was in high school, with so little romantic experience that I had little idea what it meant, I often heard a song by Natalie Cole, “Someone That I Used to Love.” Here are some of the lyrics, with a little help from bing.com:

“When I wake up each morning trying to find myself
And if I’m ever the least unsure
I always remind myself
Though you’re someone in this world that I’ll always choose to love
From now on you’re only someone that I used to love.

“As for me it’s getting down to the last unspoken part
When you must begin to ease the pain of a broken heart
Tell me why should I even care if I have to lose your love
From now on you’re only someone that I used to love.”

So I’ll ease the pain of a broken heart with my reading and writing, and probably a lot of emotional cello-playing (look out, neighbors).

But if I watch or listen to any more hockey games, it won’t be the present-day Blackhawks. It’ll be games I recorded for my own happy memories, back in the days when I could trust and enjoy them.

I’ll follow the present players in the news as if they’ve been traded away. For all intents and purposes, they have.

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Tags: Chicago Blackhawks

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  • Aside from a reply I made to someone who was complaining about Aroldis Chapman "what would you have said if Kane had actually done something to that girl in Buffalo," I note that the Catholic Church, Joe Paterno, Michigan State, and the Blackhawks all followed the same pattern: have a molester, and then, despite it having been reported, cover it up. Looks like Q really stuck his foot into this pile of dung. At least they had the "independent investigation."

  • In reply to jack:

    Thanks, Jack. Following pro sports as a Protestant, it's all been theory for me until now.

  • In reply to Margaret H. Laing:

    I take it you are saying that you do not have a reason to forswear Penn State football, but I remember Kevin O'Neil of the CTA Tattler (it must have been on a prior platform) supporting a rally at Penn State, his alma mater, in support of Paterno, and I replied that no such rally would have been held if the assault had happened in a shower in the nuclear sciences building.

    I suppose that an analogy to your point would be that I quit watching David Letterman once it came out that he was an old perv.

  • In reply to jack:

    Yes, Jack -- I never had a reason to give up on Penn State football because I never enjoyed it in the first place. However, I have not watched a moment of David Letterman's work since his on-air confession. In this case, my nausea at the whole matter is worse.

  • Dear Margaret--I am so sorry. This is such a betrayal of trust. As Jack points out, it seems to be widespread. At least, people are talking about it now.
    Please treasure your memories with your dad. They can't take that away.

  • In reply to Weather Girl:

    Thank you so much. Indeed, the other song running through my mind's ear in "They can't take that away from me:'
    Where Dad and I sat,
    Cheering the champions, three --
    the mem'ry of all that,
    no, no, they can't take that away from me!

    "

  • In reply to Margaret H. Laing:

    Yes--that's what really matters.

  • The other song is, not in. I knew there would be a typo somewhere.

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