I have a sort of personal post for you all today. It’s not about the IceCaps, and to be honest it is only marginally about hockey.
His name is Joshua King. He was a 12-year-old Corner Brook native who was born with cystic fibrosis, a genetic disease that causes a buildup of fluid in the lungs and impacts many other organ systems as well. From the day he was born, Joshua struggled with his disease, enduring procedures and pain that could bring a man twice his age to the point of despair.
The most compelling aspect of Josh’s personality however, was his ability to take it all in stride. Never one to make excuses, Josh would never be found with anything other than a smile on his face and a story on his lips. Joshua was my girlfriend’s cousin. Over my 9 years with her, I have met him several times and heard countless stories about his endless enthusiasm for life. He was aware of the effects that his condition would have on the length of his life and seemed to relish in it by making the best of every single day. I have never been around a more intelligent, thoughtful, and respectful young man. I only wish I had the opportunity to get to know him even better.
Josh was an enormous hockey fan. In particular, he loved the Leafs. He got the chance to meet many of the players over the past few years at the Air Canada Centre with the Sick Kids program and it was thrilled to do so, regardless of why he was in that position in the first place. Josh loved to play hockey as well. When his condition deteriorated to the point where skating became difficult, Josh, who wanted nothing more than to continue playing the game he loved, switched to playing between the pipes. This is what hockey is about, folks.
Late last year, after years of waiting, Josh received a double-lung transplant. By the middle of this week, his young and fragile body could take the strain no longer.
With all of the talk these past few week about the Montreal Canadiens language disputes and All-Star snubs, it’s easy to lose sight of what hockey is all about. As Josh showed throughout his life, hockey is about heart. Hockey is about the determination to fight through the toughest battles life can put in front of you, and keeping your head high when the going gets tough. It’s not about media scuffles, politics, or managerial decisions – it’s about doing what you have to do to play the game you love to play. This is how he played the game, this is how he lived his life.
Joshua King lived by these standards, and so should the rest of us.
For more information on cystic fibrosis and to make a donation for research, please click here.
To leave a message on Joshua’s Facebook page, please click here.