I wouldn’t normally talk about sports here on the blog but I wanted to pay tribute to a particular athlete who died yesterday, Clark Gillies of the NY Islanders ( that’s an NHL hockey team in case you don’t follow this stuff). He was the first professional athlete I ever met as a child. In 1975, he came to our elementary school for a special Q & A. I got my picture taken with him and we had a chat. Well, after that, I thought he was the absolute freakin’ coolest (even in his Quiana shirt and navy blue polyester suit, but hey, it was the ’70s). From that night on my obsessive loyalty was sealed. When my Mom got me my first ever Islander jersey, I specifically requested-demanded that it be emblazoned with Clark’s number (9). Though I’d already been a fan, after meeting him my Islander fandom grew more and more unhinged. I kept fat scrapbooks with every Islander-related article for years. I went to as many personal appearances at whatever mall or car dealership an Islander was doing a signing at as I could (oh my poor Mom aka my grudging but loving chauffeur). I joined a fan club and went to away games by bus with other fanatics ( Boston! Hartford! DC!). I regularly went to watch the team practice at an especially cold and grungy skating rink an hour-long car ride away. And once there, I was hellbent on securing as many souvenirs as possible, specifically, the pucks and broken sticks that came over the glass. The second I saw anything land on “my side”, I would haul ass to grab it (I wasn’t messing around). After practice, I would wait outside to get autographs no matter how many times I’d already gotten a particular player’s signature before ( seriously, my poor, inexplicably patient Mom, jeezus). I watched or listened to every single Islander game for years and got to see them win the second of their 4 Stanley Cups in person. I was this nerdy kid-teen with hardly any friends and apart from music, the Islanders were the only thing in my life back then that brought me a modicum of joy.
I met Clark Gillies a bunch of times after that initial encounter and even gifted him with a tee-shirt with his nickname ”Jethro” on the front when he was doing a personal appearance at, yup, Roosevelt Field Mall on Long Island ( when you are a kid you, gifts you get for other people tend to be things YOU yourself like, recipient be damned), which he seemed to dig. Another time Clark was eating a hot dog at a meet and greet and got mustard all over my Islander yearbook as he was signing it and holy hell, I could not have been more thrilled (I now had a genuine Clark Gillies mustard stain in my possession aka a treasure). Anyway, he was always so cool, gracious, and funny with me, this shy, loser girl and I’ll never forget it. RIP Clark Gillies and just THANK YOU,THANK YOU, you were the best.
Right, music. It is now time for the latest WEEKLY NEW WONDERS PLAYLIST featuring the finest new songs that have crossed our path this week. They are all gorgeous. Listen below on Soundcloud or Spotify.
Listen on Soundcloud
Listen on Spotify