Saturday, May 22, 2010

le Rocket

No comments on my last entry, eh? hmm..

I just finished a really cool book. It's called "The Rocket: A Cultural History of Maurice Richard" by Benoit Melancon. I have read lots of books about hockey. I try to read books about players from before my time so I can have a better understanding of what they were like. It is good in that it gives me a sense of the history of hockey, but bad in the sense that it makes me wish I had been alive to see them play.

Actually, I had a really interesting sequence of things happen around Christmas. I got a movie and a book for Christmas- the book was Ken Dryden's "The Game" and the movie was "The Rocket"- produced by Charles Biname, starring Roy Dupuis, and released in 2005. I also was reading "Searching for Bobby Orr". The 3 combined to present me with a great picture of hockey from 1942-1979. I'd highly recommend both of the books and the movie to anyone.

But back to the topic at hand. In this book I just read, Melancon breaks down the appearance of Richard as a cultural icon, a man, a myth, a legend. He uses many examples from all over the spectrum and it is just fascinating. I loved the movie "The Rocket" because it really showed a lot of what was going on in Quebec and for Maurice personally. This book delves even deeper into all of it.

It's a good read. A bit technical at times, but mostly just an interesting look at the creating of a national legend who became so not because of his hockey prowess (he did score MANY MANY goal) but because of his sheer tenacity and utter determination to SCORE goals, no matter what. He did not give up on playing hockey (even when told he was too fragile), he did not give up on scoring goals (as his 626 will attest-- and the many overtime goals in there), he did not give up on being a decent human being (as far as we know.. there have been no sordid tales of Maurice after his death or during his life) even though he lived much of his life in a very public (and often unwanted and uncomfortable) spotlight.

It's been nearly 10 years since his death. (May 27, 2000) We will never have heroes as pure as they used to be or as untainted as Maurice was. I just wish I had seen him play. Guess I'll have to stick with my books and movies. And now I have a fountain of information for finding out more about Maurice. And you know I shall. :)

No comments: