Sunday, August 23, 2009

A Heartbreaking Loss

There's nothing that delivers a harsh wake up call like the death of someone dear. But when the person who passes away is your two month old son, it can rock you to the very core. This is the tragedy that Washington Capitals goalie Jose Theodore is dealing with right now, even as his teammates wrap up vacations and prepare for training camp in advance of the new season.

I scoured the newsfeeds and found very little information about what happened. But the more I searched, the more I realized, I really don't want to know the details. The fact that a two month old baby has died is heartbreaking enough. And the fact that the baby's father has a very high-profile career is just as heartbreaking, in my view.

I've seen people take tragedy and use it to fuel them to greater success. I've seen people collapse under the weight of extreme heartbreak and become shells of their former selves. I've read that Jose and his wife Stephanie also have a 3 year old daughter. Will the fact that they still have a young child to raise, help them keep going? Only they know the answer to that.

The eyes of Caps fans (and other hockey fans) will be on Jose Theodore when he hits training camp in September, especially after the way last season ended for him. Coach Bob Boudreau yanked him out of net during the playoffs and replaced him with Simeon Varlamov from the AHL Hershey Bears. Many fans spent the off season wondering where Jose's head would be when the new season starts.

Sports fans can be extremely loyal and extremely critical at the same time. The question here is-- will Capitals fans continue to show Jose Theodore love and support if he stumbles early in the season? Or will they draw on his stumbles from last season and call for him to be benched?

This question may be moot, if Boudreau decides to begin the season with Varlamov in net. But, it might give some of the more hardcore fans a reason to think twice before heaping on the criticism too quickly. Because this fan likes to think that what drives our passion for hockey is our love of the game. And in order to have love, you have to have a heart.


  1. I think Caps fans will be willing to give him a bit of a break if things don't go exactly as planned for him this year. It helps that Varlamov is NHL ready and Neuvirth is close, so if Theodore struggles, the Caps don't necessarily have to too.
    As for what happened, I heard his son was born 2 months premature and had been in the hospital since birth. I feel terrible for his family's struggles as his wife miscarried a couple years ago and his daughter suffered respiratory problems as an infant.

  2. No parent should ever have to bury their child. I can't begin to fathom what the Theodore family is going through at this moment. My deepest condolences go out to them. Like you had mentioned, this may serve as the inspiration for Jose to have a comeback season, but even if Theodore were to lead the Caps to the Stanley Cup, that vicoty still could not fill the void that has been left.