Shootout host Kevin Sylvester is a veteran journalist in radio, television and print media. From time to time, Sylvester will be taking time out of his busy schedule to post entries in his blog or answer fans submitted questions.Click here to send Sylvester a question.
I just received some great news about a friend of mine from my hometown; he’s in remission. I had to share that with somebody, and I thought Sabres fans would be a good start since the Sabres are the reason Tony and I became friends. Actually, I’ve never met Tony face to face. We’ve only talked on the phone and exchanged the occasional e-mail.
Here’s the story.
Tony’s mother sent an e-mail to the post-game show email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) telling me about her 18 year old son who attended the same high school as me.
She said he was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer and that he was a huge Sabres fan. In her email, she asked if there was anyway we could wish Tony well on the broadcast to lift his spirits.
What really struck me was that he was 18 years old and what must he be thinking knowing all the possibilities that lay in front of him. I called Tony the next day, talked to him briefly and wished him luck. I also told Ryan Miller about him. Ryan signed a photo and we sent it to Tony. As it turns out, Ryan is Tony’s favorite player, so it was just the right pick me up for a kid facing the battle of his life.
And that’s one of the great things about pro sports and why I wanted to share Tony’s story. Forget all the money and negative headlines you read on any given day about any sport. A story like Tony’s happens everyday and we don’t hear about it often enough. I know how much a Miller-signed photo meant to Tony and how looking forward to a Sabres game at night helped him get through some of the grueling treatments he had to endure.
That happens with many players in all sports. They give on and off the field to the benefit of many, particularly those that need it most.
Hockey gave me something too, a new friend.
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