Friday, May 1, 2009

No Doubting Thomas

Whether you are a sports fan or not, certain sports movies have a way of speaking to universal, human themes.

These are the type of films that capture the spirit of the struggle; overcoming impossible odds before eventual triumph or redemption. Classics such as “Rocky”, “The Rookie”, "Miracle” and “Rudy”, often leave many of us feeling "Invincible".

Tim's story is the stuff Hollywood movies are made of.

He has emerged as the Rocky Balboa, Rudy Ruettiger, Jim Morris and Vince Papale of today's NHL. An otherwise ordinary kid from Flint, Michigan who started living the American Dream when Herb Brooks inspired a bunch of U.S. College kids to capture Olympic glory at Lake Placid.

His path to the NHL has been a nomadic one. Since being drafted 217th overall by the Quebec Nordiques in 1994, Tim made minor league stops with teams like the Detroit Vipers, Birmingham Bulls, Houston Aeros, Hamilton Bulldogs as well as elite clubs in Finland with exotic names such as Karpat, AIK, HIFK and Jokerit. He became accustomed to packing bags and collecting new jerseys.

But, in 2004, Tim caught a break with the Boston Bruins and after a few false starts, took over the #1 job three seasons ago. After appearing in the last two NHL All-Star games, Tim's career hit another milestone Monday when the 35-year old was named a finalist for the Vezina Trophy as the league's top netminder. This one-time back-up journeyman is considered one of the main reasons the Boston Bruins are top contenders to win the Stanley Cup for the first time since 1972.

No matter what unfolds through the course of these Stanley Cup playoffs, Tim Thomas of the Boston Bruins has given Hollywood screenwriters plenty to work with.

"I'd rather look ugly making a save than look pretty being scored on"

When it comes to puckstopping, Tim has his own "style". He is not what people in the hockey business would call a conventionally trained goal keeper. For example, part of his off season training program is focused on learning about the downward dog and warrior positions to enhance his "modified" butterfly. Twice a week, for about 75 minutes each day, Tim immerses himself in the centuries-old study of yoga, with workouts so vigorous they leave him covered in sweat after 5 minutes.

His work ethic has been contagious in the locker room and tonight Tim will be called upon to "bring it" once again as the Bruins host the Carolina Hurricanes in Round Two of the Stanley Cup playoffs tonite in Boston. The last time a Bruin won the Vezina Trophy was 26 years ago, when Pete Peeters took it back to Boston, but now Tim is considered the odds-on favorite to bring home that hardware when the winner is announced June 18th at the NHL awards gala. Meanwhile, Boston's management has no doubt any longer about Tim's ability, rewarding him in early April with a four-year extension worth an estimated $20 million dollars.

Tim Thomas experienced his share of hard knocks on the way to the top of his profession, but never lost faith in himself or his ability.

His story is an inspiration to underdogs everywhere. It's about anybody who had a dream and a goal; anybody who was told they weren't good enough, that they didn't have the right resume, that they didn't come from the right neighbourhood, that they were too young, they were too old or that it's never been done before.

Tim Thomas and his ride to the top of the NHL is about anybody that was told that they "couldn't".

The stuff great lives, careers and movies are made of.

"There's no such word as can't"
JEAN MAXWELL (1937-1998)

1 comment:

felixthecoolestcat said...

I'm sure this guy has swalowed the bitter tast of overtime defeat...(reminds me of a familiar event), learnt from his part of his unique style, worthy of notice on the TSB!
The Coolest Cat (felix)