Off-Topic: 10 Avril

After my 30th birthday last year, I knew birthdays weren't going to be such a big deal (at least, until 40). I had hit the milestone I wasn't looking forward to, so calendar watching wouldn't be as big of a deal. Sure enough, I woke up today and looked at the calendar and saw it was April 10. Crickey! My birthday is next Friday!

But April 10 is a big day besides being the week before my birthday. It is also the 100th day of the year, the anniversary of the first ever Arbor Day, and the day the Beatles officially announced their breakup1. More importantly, 39 years ago today, Enrico Ciccone was born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

One of four children born to Antonio and Francine, he would play soccer for many years until hanging up the cleats and focusing on hockey full-time. After turning down a scholarship to an American university to stay in the junior leagues in his home province, the 6'4 / 210 pound defenseman would go on to leave his mark on the NHL, literally and figuratively. He played for seven teams (2 of them twice), appeared in 374 regular season games (13 post-season matches), and collected 10 goals, 18 assists, and 1,469 penalty minutes. (Good God!)

Not to take away from anything he did on the ice, but one of his biggest contributions to the world of hockey, in my humble opinion, is Vincent Lecavalier. Mr. and Mrs. Ciccone opened their home to the 18 year old Quebecois superstar-to-be, helping him transition from the sheltered world of a teenage QMJHL player to the fast world being a teenage in a foreign country, with the loads of expectations, distractions, and mad cash. I look at the soon to be 29 year old Vinny now-- a Stanley Cup champion, Maurice "Rocket" Richard trophy winner, and budding philantropist (and total hottie!)-- and think wow, things could have been so different. Not to slight mom and pop Lecavalier for the 18 years of work they did raising their son to that point, but the Ciccones, too, should be proud of helping him avoid the pitfalls that damage so many young talents. (Even Vinny thinks so)

After retiring from hockey in 2000, Cicco has continued to look out for the youngsters, exposing many dangerous problems in the QMJHL, ranging from drug abuse, to lack of adequate time for school and studies, to gratuitous violence.

He spends most of his time now as a commentator on Radio-Canada (en françias) and is a frequent contributor to "La Zone," a French-language sports show. I watch a lot of episodes of La Zone, but I have absolutely no idea what anyone is saying.2 Even though the language barrier prohibits me from really following much of what my second favorite player of all time3 is saying, I'm beyond thrilled that he's still saying it and that he is doing well.

So, with all that said... Happy Birthday Cicco! Or rather, Joyeux Anniversaire Cicco!

1Thank you, Wikipedia!

2Mostly I watch because it is fun to listen to. I can pick up a name or a hockey term once and awhile. I took French in college for a year, but my ability to speak (and hear) the language is basically limited to "bon jour, " "ça va," "trés bien," "j'ai mal à la tête," et "vous êtes une super nana." When I was teaching last semester, my former French professor had a class down the hall.
She actually remembers me, and I always meant to take her an episode or two to see if she could translate.

3Thought that was Brad Richards, huh? B-Rad is my second favorite active player. And strangely enough, I started following him because of Cicco. The Ciccone connection introduced me to Vincent Lecavalier. Now Vinny is pretty cool, but when I started to hear about his buddy, the lesser known Brad Richards who was still in the juniors at the time, I was intrigued more by the "little guy" (kind of like Mathieu way back when). It seemed kind of fateful that B-Rad broke into the league as Cicco left, and I've been following B-Rad ever since. Ta-da!


Anonymous said...

ahaha! "vous êtes une super nana" is a pretty random sentence, but it's potentially useful to be able to understand that one!

Sarah said...

I got that one from a "Wicked French" book a friend gave me. =) I used it in an essay once, and my professor gave me an extra point for silliness. I think humor is the only thing that helped me pass that class... Lord knows it was my skill at the language.

I wish I was able to speak more than just English. But "English only" is such an American thing. My family only speaks English, and I didn't have an opinion of foreign languages classes until high school, which is pretty clearly understood by everyone (but American educational institutions, apparently) to be too late for the brain.

Anonymous said...

Well, our education system isn't really better when it comes to foreign languages (but it's changing, apparently). People in France are notoriously bad at speaking other languages... Beyond French, and sometimes English (and honestly, that's pretty easy if you just watch some tv or spend time on the internet)... we suck!

But I don't think it's too late after high school. Sure, it's more difficult, but then, travelling helps a lot!