Saturday, 23 March 2013

Lionel Conacher

One of Canada's early athletic greats, Lionel Conacher (AKA the Big Train) could also be viewed as an exercise in irony. Involved (quite successfully) in a number of sports, the biggest of which were Football and Hockey, but also winning championships in baseball, wrestling, boxing, and lacrosse, Conacher was a sort of athletic superhero. Seriously. Think about it. Not that most athletes aren't physically capable all round, but most have some area upon which they concentrate with laser focus.

Interesting note, he is also one of two athletes to have his name both on the Grey Cup and the Stanley Cup.

Another interesting note, following his athletic career, Conacher became involved in politics as a Liberal MP for Bracondale and later Trinity.

Another interesting note: Conacher died of a heart attack while playing softball in 1954. He was born in 1902. Think about that now. This athlete, this great athlete died young. Of a heart attack. While playing softball. Tell me you don't see the irony there?

And yet, in some ways it is perfectly logical. The brightest flame burns half as long, as they say. Maybe he pushed himself too hard, tried to do too much, and his body just plain crapped out on him. So I guess, that raises the question: is it worth it to do as much as you possibly can in your youth, and risk burning out by middle age; or is it better to take it slow, pace yourself, achieve big things and little things in good time, and die at a ripe old age.

I don't really have the answer here. Both have their own appeal. Its too late for me to do the former, anyway, so I suppose I shall pursue the latter. Slow down, take life at life's pace. No pushing, no rushing.

After all, we all wind up at the same place, eventually.

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