by Jas Faulkner, senior correspondent
note: A lot of people have been generous with their time and energy in contributing to a feature that was slated to go live today. I thank you from the bottom of my blackened, desiccated little simulacra of a heart and ask for your patience for just a few days so I can devote this space to a good cause. Peace, Jas Faulkner
Here in Tennessee we have this old saying to the effect that two things are sure to bring people back home: celebrations and catastrophes.
Earlier this summer people flew in to town to gather for a reunion. This time it wasn’t about the heady celebration of a history-making playoff run. It wasn’t about coming home to watch the city fall head over heels in love with the Predators. What happened earlier this summer was a collective spiritual gutpunch of the worst kind to Wade Belak’s family, friends and the fraternity of men who played hockey with him. They were coming home to each other and to say goodbye to someone who turned out to be as human as the rest of us and in the end, fragile.
It’s a testament to the character of the hockey community that one of the first questions many people asked was: How can I help?
The charity Wade was skating for on “Battle of the Blades” was the Toronto Western Hospital Tourettes Syndrome Clinic.
The Predators Organisation is accepting donations at their preseason game this Saturday night for The Andie and Alex Belak Scholarship Fund. Various staff members will be available around Bridgestone to collect for this cause. If you can’t make it to the game, you can still donate by sending a cheque or money order to:
The Andie and Alex Belak Scholarship Fund
c/o Avenue Bank
2930 West End Avenue
I knew at some point in my career I would have to write an obituary. It never occurred to me that it would be my last column as the Nashville correspondent for THW, that it would be this soon and it would be for this person. As someone who spent over a decade of her life as a crisis intervention/mental health worker before becoming a writer, my heart hurts every time I contemplate this. It sounds trite, but those are the words that fit best. The people who were closest to Wade would have moved heaven and earth to have prevented this if he had only given them the chance.
If you’re reading this and think you’ve reached your limit. Please please please grant yourself a reprieve. Call somebody. Go somewhere. Talk to someone, anyone who will listen.
If you’re in the US you can find that someone at 1-800-273-8255
If you’re in Canada, call 1-888-737-4668
Sometimes you really can’t believe everything you feel. There’s always hope. Always.