I love the Montreal Canadiens. They are just a sports franchise, I know that, but they mean so much more to me than just shots on goal and championships. I read a lot about the men who played for Montreal, the men who helped build a dynasty. I think a great deal about the discrimination of the early days between les anglais and the French populous. Not a day goes by I don't think about my hero, Maurice Richard and his battles, his faults and his importance to Quebec and all of Canada.
I also love poetry, love the rush of reading or writing a really good poem, finding the perfect words to capture the perfect scene. John Mcrae's 1915 poem, In Flanders Fields, is a lovely and sad piece capturing feelings of loss, of the ruin of war and ending in the tightest description of legacy I can imagine. The same phrase that has hung in the Habs locker room since 1940:
To you from failing hands we throw the torch; be yours to hold it high.
As a father, as a man in the middle of life, I also think a lot about legacy. What I will mean to my children, what they will mean to their children, what we will all mean to the world. Not an unnatural thought, but a powerful one.
So, combining my love for the Canadiens, the joy I find in poetry like Mcrae's and the importance of legacy, I got myself a new tattoo. My fifth tattoo and easily my favorite. Not just because it is new, but because it is the closest to who I am and what matters to me.
Be yours to hold it high, kids. Always hold it high.