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A Memory

 

 

CTV covered the Olympics this year but didn't bother to put together any cutesy touristy features as networks have done in the past. I guess they felt London is just too well known.

 

All the features were on the athletes and their relationship with their coaches, community and especially their parents.

 

Now, I've raised kids and I know there's a negative side to this super-involved-parent phenomena, and that most child-athletes never make it to the Big Time, let alone win medals in an Olympic Games.

 

I've seen it first hand as I raised my kids,  but watching these Olympic portraits brought me way back to the summer of 1977, a year after the Olympics were held in Montreal.

 

I was 22, a nice age.

 

 I was still in university and living with my mother in a small apartment building on top of the Mountain in Montreal.

 

I didn't have much to do in the summer (I was working at the Westmount Pool, janitor in the clubhouse, an easy job.) The year before I had spent my spare  time watching events at Montreal's Olympics with freebie tickets.

 

This 1977 summer, I noticed that there was a nice young man living in the same small apartment building , and he had this huge shiny automobile, a Cadillac or something, in bright green, with plates that were from Oklahoma.

 

So of course I was intrigued. (Most of my friends, all academic types, didn't have drivers licenses, let alone rust buckets let alone big shiny cars.) Not that that made any difference. I was a shy kind of girl.

 

Anyway, during the summer of 77, I think it was 77, I saw this young man with his girlfriend, who was  tiny, I remember, unlike me. With long wavy blond hair.

 

I was tall and brunette. Almost as tall as the young man. So that was that.

 

There was an election that summer and, in those days, they posted the electoral list on a electricity post nearby. The boy was named Scott Garland and he was a hockey player. Now that was extra intriguing. (I had been a huge hockey fan in high school, but had given it up at college. I didn't even own a TV during the school year.)

 

Later on in the summer I saw the young man  downstairs at the curb at his car with parents, who seemed 'old'  and sweet. You could tell they just doted on him. They were sending him off. He put his hockey stick and a duffle bag in the back of his flashy auto and bid them goodbye.

 

And that was that, the summer ended, and I went back to school to finish my degree. But a year or two later, can't recall which, I thought of the young man again. I read a report in the Montreal Gazette. This hockey player had been killed in a car accident.

 

I had never talked to him, but it made me sad to read of his death.  Life was so ..fragile. I felt particularly sad for his parents, who I had seen but once.

 

There was no Internet back then. They just got video tape recorders,  small silver boxes that loaded from the top. Beta of course. A professor of mine used one in class to play Star Trek episodes and use them to explain "The Repression of Eros."

 

Today, I can look up the name of said Hockey Player. Scott Garland, who played a bit in the NHL for the Leafs and Kings - and who died from head injuries sustained in a car accident in 79. He was 27. Two years older than me.

 

Today I have my own boys around that age. They come and go, mostly go. So, my husband and I now are the doting old couple sending off their sons  at the curb.