Sunday, June 12, 2011

Boston Globe Picture of Cam Neely (3/29/93)

I have a lot of people in my life I call my heroes. Some of them are family and friends, and some of them are celebrities and athletes.

Everyone in my immediate family is a hero of mine. My parents are my heroes because they have shown me nothing but unconditional love and support my whole life. They provided me with an education, both in and out of a classroom, including putting me through college. They are also the two biggest hockey and Bruins fans that I know, and have taken me to countless games. My older brother is my hero because he was a great role model growing up, is a great role model now, is a great writer, and an awesome father to my nephews and niece. My older sister is my hero because of her amazing artistic talent, unbelievable support, and courage with Diabetes. My younger brother is my hero because he minimizes the technology in his life, has a job that makes a difference, and is a person I often call for trivia answers (he knows a lot about a lot of things!). My younger sister is my hero because of her awesome acting, great sense of humor, and views on social justice. Each and every time I have struggled with life, my family has been right by my side. They, along with the rest of my relatives, are a constant source of inspiration and make me want to do whatever I can to make the most out of my life.

I also have friends that are my heroes. My girlfriend is my hero because she’s always making fun of me, inspires me to read and write, supports everything I do, and is a person I can talk to about anything. I have friends that have been there for my through all of my life challenges. I have a friend that gave me his iPhone, MacBook, snowboard, and other things when he moved away. I have a friend that has provided me with countless legal advice and help when I needed it. I had a lot of friends help me make it to 365 t-shirts last year. Every night at work, I get to see the heroic courage of the Hope Lodge guests.

Outside of my personal life, I have celebrity and athlete heroes that I aspire to be more like. My top 5 right now are Cam Neely, Eddie Vedder, Denis Leary, Jon Stewart, and Tim Thomas.

I mentioned Eddie Vedder a bit yesterday, and his music and lyrics really speak for themselves. Not only does his work in Pearl Jam amaze and inspire me, his two solo albums have shown why he is such an important part of the band.

Denis Leary has been making me laugh for over twenty years, starting when I saw him on MTV’s half hour comedy shows and Remote Control. I memorized his No Cure for Cancer album and won a lip sync contest my freshman year of college by performing “Asshole”. I watched his movies, went to his live shows, bought his CDs and DVDs, met him a few times, and followed his TV shows and appearances (I have a VHS of Monument Ave, do you?). Denis sealed his lifelong hero status for me by his response to the tragic fire in Worcester in 1999 that resulted in the passing of his cousin, Jerry Lucy and childhood friend Tommy Spencer. In face of this huge loss to the city and to himself personally, he started the Leary Firefighters Foundation and has since raised over $10 million to help firefighters in Worcester, Boston, and New York.

Every Monday through Thursday at 11:00, you will find me watching The Daily Show. Even though it’s a “fake news” show, Jon Stewart and his staff uncover the hypocrisy of everyone – Republicans, Democrats, and other newscasters. They show what other news shows don’t and make fun of everyone, including themselves. The world sucks, but Jon makes me laugh and keeps me up to date on what’s going on in it. Hearing his speech live at the Rally to Restore Sanity was one of the most inspiring moments of my life.

Tim Thomas’ story is enough for him to be anyone’s hero. His path the NHL, the way he plays the game, how he’s smiling no matter what the score is – “Timmy” is just a regular guy who happens to be the best goalie in the world. I keep having these visions of him hoisting The Cup over his head, wearing that huge smile. A few weeks ago, my girlfriend confessed to me that, “I’m in love with Timmy!” My response was, “Yeah, me too.” Seriously, how can you not love this guy? I’m pretty sure he’s already getting the Conn Smyth trophy, but that’s not the one he wants. Go get The Cup for him, B’s!

Speaking if B’s that deserve a Cup on their resume, Bruins president Cam Neely typified what it was to “Be a Bruin”. He played tough, with heart, and could get a “Gordie Howe hat trick” better than anyone I’ve ever watched play the game. I wrote about Cam and my “friend” Ulf Sameulsson back in January here. Much like Denis Leary, it wasn’t what Cam did on the ice that made him one of my biggest heroes. In 1986, both of Cam’s parents were diagnosed with cancer in a six-month period. They both passed from cancer (in 1987 and 1993 – his dad had a brain tumor), and what was Cam’s response? He started the Neely Foundation and opened up the Neely House. Cam played hockey the way everyone should, and responded to a personal tragedy the way a hero does. If the spirit of Cam is in every Bruins player this week, they will have no problem taking The Cup back to Boston…GO B’S!!!!!

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