Friday, February 7, 2014

Bootland, Bad Boy or Pussycat, You Be The Judge

While I am on vacation (will return February 18) posting some of what I call "Best Of Allen Americans Blog" that maybe you missed when first posted or might enjoy rereading. This one was originally posted May 9, 2013 and is the most touching story I have ever posted. I still get tears welling up in my eyes when I when I read the comments from one of the blog readers. It is a real tribute to Booter. The answer to the question posed in the title of the post is obviously pussycat.

Everyone knows Booter Bootland as
 the type of player that earned his way
to the NHL by being an agitator who is also as tough as nails. What many people don't know is what a caring, kind hearted, child loving guy he is.
 I had the pleasure of doing a player profile on Booter back in December (check the blog archives for December 28, 2012 if you would like to read the story) and I got a taste of the softer side of Booter in that interview as he talked about his wife, Sarah, his son and a daughter they were expecting at the time who was born in March. Just yesterday I had one of the readers of this blog post a comment about Booter after
Booter Talking to Americans  Fans in Wichita
she had read his Player Profile. It says more about what he is as a person than I could ever express so thought I would publish the comments for all to see. Thanks to A Reflective Realist for sharing her story and thanks Booter for always going the extra mile to connect with fans young and old. Here it is:

A Reflective Realist! has left a new comment on your post "Darryl Bootland - Player Profile":

It's What Isn't Written Here That Your Readers Should Know . . .

My family's first Allen Americans game was near the end of the 2013 regular season. A game against the very team they are playing in the finals, Wichita Thunder.

We entered the ticket area to pick up our pre arranged tickets and I see some hockey player with a long beard talking with a gentleman in a wheelchair and what I assume to be his mother. He was probably late 20s, his mom was much older.

The appearance of the hockey player leads me to believe he is young, a rebel, a scrapper, some punk who plays hockey with a crazy beard. Guess that is his thing.

I watch the interaction, it seemed a little PR oriented. The player is chatting with the family. He touches the man in the chair. They talk about the game. The man then tells the hockey player to have a good game, he shakes his hand and the hockey player is gone. The name on the back of the hockey player's jersey reads Bootland.

I was still skeptical about the nature of that visit but thought it might have been a friend or someone set up the visit. It wasn't the team out there, it wasn't in front of a step & repeat. There wasn't any media or pictures being taken.

My family enjoyed the game. I tried to watch for the beard guy, it seems he was a fan favorite. He hits . . . hard. He plays . . . hard. He looks like he is having the most fun out of anyone on the ice. The fans love him. There are chants for him, posters even a banner declaring BOOTERVILLE!

He grows on me. Our boys think he is awesome . . . my husband likes his old style of playing - hard, fast and hitting every chance you get.

But it was what no one saw that softened my heart for this young, scrappy, punk, bearded rebel . . . it was after the game was over. While people were streaming out of the building, his team was leaving the ice, after a loss, this guy - who I thought was just a punk showed who he really is, what he is really made of.

He found a puck and skated in the opposite direction of his team and tossed it over the glass to the man in the wheelchair. He tapped the glass twice to the man in the wheelchair and skated off.

The man was beyond excited. It filled his heart, a smile as big as Texas came across his face . . . Booter made his day.

You are truly defined by the character you show when no one is looking! Booter was defined right then and there when he didn't know I was watching as an honorable, kind, compassionate man.

We have since been back to every home game. We look for Booter on the ice, we watch for his hits and we enjoy every minute of his playing time.

This franchise has a fun, good, crowd pleasing hockey player in Booter. They also have a great man.

Forever Booter Fans!!!

No comments:

Post a Comment