On, November 19 1863, when the National Cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania was being dedicated, President Abraham Lincoln was asked to speak a few words at the ceremony. He had been invited as an afterthought. Edward Everett was the primary speaker that day. Everett, a Unitarian clergyman went on to speak for over two hours. His speech was some thirty plus pages long. After Everett had finished speaking, it was the President’s turn. He spoke under three hundred words, and immortalized himself for all time. Everett was said to have told Lincoln that the President had done a better job in two minutes than he had done in two hours.
Two minutes. When I was being brought into the wonderful world of hockey, my co-workers just let me sit back and soak it all in. I admit Jack Edwards was an acquired taste. The first time I heard him doing color commentary I asked my friend if he was like this every game, or did he drink a gallon of coffee just before being given the microphone. My friend chuckled and told me this was Edward’s on a slow night. Oof! I wasn’t sure about him. His commentary (and occasional mid-game rant) did start to grow on me. The hockey neophyte in me enjoyed having a fan who could “talk down at my level”. My impish side like the way he could say things on the air that would get other people a not-so-friendly call from the FCC.
I came to realize he was as big of a fan as my friends were. He wears his black and gold partisanship as a badge of honor. In the last sixty days, everyone in the hockey world has had their say. Lowly bloggers like myself to owners and the players, all of us have put up a nearly endless amount of type and blog to express our feelings on the second longest work stoppage in the NHL’s history. Then, Jack Edwards got on the air the other night and delivered the ‘It’ monologue. The speech lasted but two minutes. That speech summed up a lot of our frustration, anger, and sadness. Jack was there with us, feeling the pain and anger alongside us. This was a man who understood just how fed up we were, and he shared his own pain with us.
A little over the top comparing these two speeches you say? Maybe. It’s Jack Edwards though, and I doubt he would object to having the phrase ‘a little over the top’ connected to him.