As a Catholic and a husband, I have spent a great chunk of my life asking forgiveness for goofs. Having turned 33 last month and nearing one year as a father, I expect to have to explain away a ton of other matters quite soon. One such issue has troubled me lately, yet I cannot run to a priest or to my wife for this one. No, I need to go to Jaromir Jágr for absolution.
When the Flyers signed the 1999 Hart Trophy winner July 1, I had not even a goosegump (http://southphillysports.wordpress.com/2011/07/10/jaromir-youre-a-mere-shadow/). I had expected the once-brilliant playmaker to be an archaeologist’s dream come true, foreseeing achy bones’ attempts to reclaim glory. Hopes for a great year from his mates evolved quickly, but the Czech seemed like a liability and simply another example of his new franchise’s old habit of acquiring AARP members. Adam Oates, anyone?
Then I watched him intently. Wow! The moves still dazzled, the decisions still teamed with brilliance, and the goals still accumulated. When the Flyers sealed the fifth seed, worry stayed dormant, as I believed good old #68 would find even more magic against Pittsburgh, his first team.
I cannot say I had absolute certainty the local boys would come back Wednesday after falling behind 3-0 after 20 minutes, but I predicted last night’s rally with such ease that I did not mind going food shopping after the first period. I thought, “They have this!”
I returned just in time to catch rookie Sean Couturier’s first goal in the second session’s waning seconds. Tying the game at 4-4, the timely contribution hatched thoughts that Jágr would win the game.
After falling behind again, the Flyers evened the tally immediately, again thanks to Couturier. I rushed to Facebook to do what months ago might have seemed crazy, as I noted “Jágr will win this game.” Only three minutes later, he deposited the decisive goal and led me to declare myself a modern-day prophet. Eat your hearts out, Ezekiel and Jeremiah. I cannot help anyone to win the lottery, but I just had a feeling that Jágr would show he is a fine wine and make my earlier whine that of a pessimist.
Bless me, Jágr, for I have sinned. I doubted your grit but never again. I read that you became an Orthodox Christian in 2001, so I ask you what sort of penance will you be handing me? I can manage most matters easily, but I would be inconsolable if you departed. Please continue to make me and arrogant defenders look foolish.