The above photo was posted to the Detroit Red Wings Facebook page. I may be a sap, but I love seeing gestures like this.
We’ve seen this a few times — in baseball especially for whatever reason — Roy Halladay’s farewell letter to Torontonians struck a chord and even Rick Ankiel thanked St. Louis fans for his rocky tenure with the Cardinals. I’m not one to romanticize sports because it is, at the end of the day, a job, but there is something about this type of goodbye that makes me think all is not lost.
Looking back at sports history there are plenty of examples of guys who bled their team’s colors — I’ve been fortunate enough to interview a handful of them — and there’s a connection there that goes beyond what happens on the ice, the pitch, the court, etc. You identify with that logo and those colors, there is a genuine bond and it isn’t severed by a departure.
It’s very odd, but perhaps something as simple as a letter can restore the faith that maybe that bond still exists even though the sporting culture has become deliberately commercial. I’m not one to proclaim that everything was better in the past and the world is burning slowly, but there is a tendency to commit to that rationale. A small gesture can do a lot for reversing it.
Lidstrom will be forever tied to the Red and White of the Wings, and it’s only a matter of time before he’s back in Detroit for a hockey game. They need to put that jersey up in the rafters, after all.
We’ll all feel better when it happens.