"A person is smart. People are dumb"
I am quoting Men in Black because it seems an appropriate way to introduce my dealings with Don Cherry.
How many of us have been less-than-courteous to anonymous people, especially when driving? We don't know the person in the next car--he's anonymous. We can attribute the worst traits of the human race to him without having those preconceptions challenged. Try getting into a conversation with him, and the picture changes.
I had a very interesting Christmas. Two months ago, I received this:
Please Note: I used photoshop to blur my name. The physical originals are very much intact and unedited.
My mom sent him a letter saying that I was a big fan, and when I was in college I had gotten my two roommates into hockey, and had always enjoyed watching his segment. And that's all true. While in recent years I've been dismayed by some of his opinions (especially when it comes to PK Subban), I still watch Coach's Corner religiously, and agree wholeheartedly with what he has to say about Gary Bettman.
I watched Hockey Day in Canada this past weekend, and saw Don sign a kid's poster as he made his way to center ice. During a break they ran a segment of him going to a kid's house, giving him gifts, and then signing his wall. Let's be clear about this: Don is aware of his celebrity status, and knows that his autograph goes a long way towards making someone's day a whole lot brighter.
Michael Vick just spent the weekend in Atlanta where he was signing autographs for $100 each.
One Hundred Dollars.
Meanwhile, Don got a a letter from some lady in Pennsylvania asking for an autograph for her post-college-age son. And he sent three personalized messages. (And his little dog too!)
So I want to say: Thank you, Don. You had no idea who I was, except that I was an anonymous adult who lives in the US. And you made the effort to give me something you had no obligation to give.
I got to know a lot about the kind of person Don Cherry is this Christmas. So, while the Christmas season may be over, it's always a good time to reflect on the lessons we learn from it.
As Fred Hollywell put it,
"I’ve always thought of Christmastime as a good time, a kindly, forgiving, charitable time; a time when men and women seem, by one consent, to open their shut-up hearts freely to their fellow creatures."
Once again, Thank you Don. From now on, I intend to be more charitable too.