Monday, November 23, 2009

Kevin Westgarth: write more or be sent to the penalty box!

As much as I respect Rich Hammond's coverage of the Kings, I get frustrated reading it sometimes because a lot of the players and coaches really don't say much. Quotes tend to be heavy on cliches or just not that revealing about what it's like being out there in a pro game with a bunch of people trying to maim you. And the endless chatter about the different lines is mind-numbing after a while.

Hammond recently linked to a blog occasionally written by Kevin Westgarth, the winger who spent some time with the Kings last season and is now playing in their minor league system in Manchester. Here's an excerpt from Westgarth's recent column:
God, do I love hockey. Even on one of the worst days a hockey player can have, when you’re getting sent down and flying away from the NHL, it’s not a bad job to have.
We get to play a kid’s game for a living. Granted, I know I did not feel this way on the flight home and this perspective comes weeks after being sent down and getting back to playing here in the American League. When you’re told you have a meeting on the day before the season some pretty loud warning bells start ringing and you know where you’re going.
Now I'm not saying Westgarth is Hemingway. But he's pretty good compared to most of his bretheren and I like his book selections. Someone should be goading him into writing more, particularly about what it's like to be an Ivy Leaguer (he went to Princeton) and a guy who is likely going to have to serve as an enforcer to stick in the NHL. Here's a link to a YouTube video of one of Westgarth's more violent fights from last season.

On the extreme off-chance that Mr. Westgarth is reading this, here's my message to him: write, write, write. Write about the beauty of the sport, the difficulty of the sport and what it's like to be in a hockey fight. You're playing in a sport that desperately needs good writing. It's not only good for the soul, but it may be your ticket to something good career-wise after hockey ends.

--Steve Hymon

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