The announcement came this week that Rogie Vachon had been elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame.
I had tears in my eyes as I joyously posted the news on social media.
It drew the expected yawn from most, but it was a big deal to me.
You see, Vachon taught me something very important.
I was 15 and I had never been more than 50 miles from home, had never crossed the state border.
The tallest building I had ever seen was the five story whorehouse/hotel in downtown Medford.
(I had never been inside, though it was also acclaimed as a steakhouse…)
Now, I was standing outside the Fabulous Forum in Inglewood, California waiting for my hero, Vachon to appear.
Standing next to me was the radio voice of the Los Angeles Kings, Bob Miller.
A week before I would have considered such a scene improbable at best, and virtually impossible except in a young mans dreams.
I had “met” Miller as we were at the common urinal at the Forum…when I realized who it was I stammered out a request for an autograph.
“Perhaps when we’re finished”, he graciously answered.
When we finished, he signed my game program and asked where I was from.
He could tell I wasn’t from LA…
He told me where to go after the game to wait for the players…I didn’t know he would wait there with me.
As each King came out he would introduce me…” this is Michael from Oregon…Michael, meet Dan Corrigan…and Whitey Widing…and Danny Maloney”…and on and on.
Finally, the one we all had been waiting for came out… “Rogie…Michael came here from Oregon”…I went deaf after that.
I handed the program to Vachon to sign and my pen ran out of ink half way through…he saw me panic, smiled, and took from his suit pocket the most elegant silver pen I had ever seen.
He finished signing the program, autographed a puck for me, then handed me the pen.
“They may be someone else you want to sign…you’ll need this”.
He then moved on to the rest and was still signing when we finally left.
I told you all that to tell you this…
My friends asked me what I thought of this magical night…and what I thought I had learned was that all things are possible…
I lived from that moment on believing that no matter how improbable something was, all things are possible.
I learned later in life that God agreed with me…
What I should say is that I lived that way, believing that truth…until I turned about 50.
Then the belief changed to all things were possible.
Back then…back before age and affliction started robbing my vitality of body and spirit…back then, all things were possible.
Those days are gone.
The possibilities are limited now.
That is a lie from the pit of hell.
If you belong to God, then as long as you’re breathing, all things are possible in Him and through Him.
The dreams will be different, the goals more fluid…but if He’s called you to do or be something, then you will be and do those things.
The enemy wants you to believe it’s over.
The Lord may say we’re just getting started.
The end of things may be greater than the beginning…
I wrote this for me, more than for you.
Congratulations and God bless you, Rogie.
Make your own application…
Rock on, Michael. I will never again look at my puck signed by Ryan Miller and not think of this story again. 🙂
Wonderful story of the past.
I have a hard time believing that there are any possibilities now or in the future.
Thank you, BD, Laura…Papias…dream something and do it. 🙂
Love this one!
Michael, this is wonderful!!! And in the Providence of God, you DID write it for me…maybe for a few others too. Happy Friday!!
I am standing here, outside of heaven; waiting for Jesus to write my new name upon my heart as the angels carry me into His presence forever. (I am bawling as I write this)
God bless you, JD…
CK… may it be true for us all…
good post, good comments and a good reminder to take stock of things now passed that we have to be grateful for
but, i do have to ask a question that came to mind as i read of the autographs… how does one sign a hockey puck? aren’t they coal black?
Em, they have a paper team label on top…
Michael, thank you…
This is something I have been struggling with for the past 3 years now. Heart-related health challenges have greatly altered what I can and can’t do, and I have found that, unfortunately, my past identity was mostly wrapped up in what I could do. Now most of that has been stripped away.
Thank you for the reminder that all things ARE possible…..
I’m going through the same things.
What I discovered is that I can still do a lot …just not the same.
Within my limits there is still a lot of life to be lived.
Hang in there …
Thanks, Michael.. 🙂
It’s the limits that I struggle with. Actually, when I think about it, what I struggle with more is listening to where God is taking this. It’s been very difficult to let go of what I used to be. I feel like I’m disappointing my family. Of course, they reaffirm constantly that I am not.
But I am my own worst critic.
Being open to how God wants me to live now is the challenge.
And it’s awesome to hear that Vichon finally got hall of fame. Seriously, it’s about time.
A guy who starts his career with a save on Gordie Howe? And they wait that long to induct him?
But then I have a love for goaltenders anyway… I lived in Edmonton AB during the Gretzky years, and really enjoyed watching Billy Ranford stand on his head making saves… 😉
In 1972 I went to the Fabulous Forum in Inglewood and saw Gordie Howe play in an All-Star game.
It was spectacular!
I love hockey skates.
Here in southern CA we don’t get much snow or rain.
But I am real good on those skates, lots of practice.
This is a truly beautiful post…. inspiring, encouraging and a reality check for us all.
I loved reading of your boyhood experience.
Seems like when there is more years behind us that potential years ahead, we do savor those influential memories.
While the outer man is perishing, the inner man is being renewed, day by day… some days more ….or less….than others. Renewal seems to look and feel different than it used to.
Our shared destiny and destination is to put off this earthly tent… This mortal must put on immortality…. That is my hope.
Beautiful post, Michael. It’s humbling to think of how a bit a patience and some kind and encouraging words can impact a young person’s life. God help us remember this.
Thank you, Nonnie!
Just when I think your writing can’t touch my heart any deeper you go and get to the crevices! I sure needed to be reminded of this today!