My “Encounter” With Mario LemieuxShareThis
Sorry on the late post today folks. The good news is, my latest column is up on The Hockey News, about “the numbers game”, and how trying to figure it out in the off-season makes you crazy.
Friend of the blog Hooks Orpik was headed out to meet Mario Lemieux the other day, so I wanted to tell my Lemieux story, but um, twitter only tolerates 140 characters. So…. here. we. go.
Mario attends the Clark Gillies Charity Classic, which if we’re being honest, is a yearly golf tournament in which everyone gets “tipsy”, then gives fistfuls of money to sick and dying kids. The program is this: it’s an absolute blast, then Clark cries (and means it), then there’s an auction, then it’s a blast again. Essentially, you can re-create the experience if you just drink a bunch of red wine and send the foundation a blank cheque. (www.clarkgillies.org).
Well, as you probably know, Mr. Lemieux has a bit of an aura about him. And, I was never a crazy hockey fanboy or anything (cough*Sean Leahy*cough), but 66 was my favourite player, so that kind of adds to it. (Honorable mention to Joe Sakic and Steve Yzerman.)
So, he had won the long drive contest at Clark’s event for three or four years running. This particular year, our group was the last one through the LD hole (and had consumed a few barleyhops sandwiches by then), so I teed one up high, took a Jason Zuback swing at it, and caught it on the screws – it passed the marker by a few feet. Which, yet again, had Lemieux’s name on it.
Now, to back up a little bit, it’s like $1500 a group (or maybe a guy? I think per guy, yeah) to enter the tourney. I was dating Bri and the time, and had promised to hang out with her and watch a par three for an ace or whatever it was volunteers did to help the charity then. But when there was a spot open…. why, yes, I do have a collared shirt, golf shoes, socks, clubs, balls, tees and an interest in playing.
So, Freebie Mooch Bourne was hesitant to write his name on the long drive marker. My drunken group however, thought it was an awesome idea.
Sooo, when they announced the winner of the long drive contest, and most people had seen Mario’s name on the marker while golfing, they started to clap during the introduction. Before even hearing the name.
Well, my name killed the buzz, and quick. I awkwardly sauntered up to the podium, took the driver I won, and sat down. I then immediately saw said driver get re-shafted and put in Clark Gilles golf bag. But hey, he more-than-deserves it for all he’s done for me.
….Back on track here….
Mario was waiting at the bar for a drink, so I decided to go say hello since I finally had a good topic to BS on at that point. I stood beside him while he talked to someone else, and I ordered a drink. As I did, I turned to talk to Bri (or whoever it was) and planned my intro. Always good to incorporate Dad in there at these things, I figured. “Hey, I’m Justin Bourne, you played against my Dad in blah blah blah.” Yep, that was it.
I turned back around to go for it and *poof* ninja dust, he’s gone.
Not even just like, walking away, but he Houdini’d his way right out of the building somehow. To this day, I have no idea what his escape route was. He had gone home for the night, and that was the last time I saw him (I missed Clark’s event this year with brokebloggeritis).
Still never met the guy. Eff me.