He was certain his papa was still looking down on him now, as certain as he was before that airplane took off and, despite never getting high enough off the ground, still landed in heaven.
Daddy was watching from above back then, too. He knew it. Why else would Mama have told her little boy to smile his biggest smile into the camera and wave?
Sitting on the other side of the world, Ruslan Salei would wave back at his laptop screen, his eyes and his heart having returned home again even as his body and his tomorrows remained in Russia.
Mama never really had cared if her little boy played hockey. That was her husband's life, Bethann Salei always figured, and a 4-year-old shouldn't have to worry about doing anything more than being a 4-year-old.
But everything changed in September when that plane fell from the Yaroslavl sky, taking 44 of the 45 souls onboard. Now, it mattered. The game mattered. Hockey mattered. A father's memory depended on it.
So, to get little Aleksandro back on the ice after the accident, after he had decided he didn't want to play the game anymore if his papa couldn't play the game anymore, Bethann had to bribe him.
With a balloon.
Every day before practice, for three weeks, they would stop at Pavilions, buy two balloons — one for Aleksandro and one for his sister, Alexis — go outside, allow the strings to slip through their hands, tickling their tiny fingers, and watch as the balloons floated away.
Higher and higher and higher still, until finally disappearing.
"It's gone, mama," Aleksandro would say then. "Papa caught it."
Bethann Salei: Her heart goes on
Posted 26 February 2012 - 12:49 PM
Posted 26 February 2012 - 04:04 PM
"Ruslan was going to travel that day by car. The team was playing in Belarus and he had made plans to visit his family there, had arranged for a driver and everything. But then, no. Since it was the regular-season opener, since he was one of the sports' veterans and one of the team's newcomers, he decided it was more important to be a good teammate. He would travel with the boys."
Edited by Danielsm, 26 February 2012 - 04:05 PM.
Posted 26 February 2012 - 05:51 PM
Posted 26 February 2012 - 08:44 PM
Edited by Miss Wing Queen, 26 February 2012 - 08:45 PM.
Posted 26 February 2012 - 08:47 PM
I also watched the story about it on "Real Sports" on HBO. There was almost a cavalier attitude on the part of the guy from the KHL that they talked to. I understand why she's looking for someone to be mad at. They said that she should get some money next month. I hope she does. It was also good to see Barry Smith - I wonder what he's doing these days? Apparently he's not coaching in Russia.
Posted 26 February 2012 - 09:10 PM
Just a sad, sad story from every angle. Thoughts and prayers to all who are affected and suffer daily from this tragedy.
Posted 26 February 2012 - 11:34 PM
"To whom much is given, much is expected."
"Play them six times, they might win four, but not this game. Not tonight."
"Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard."
Posted 27 February 2012 - 02:00 AM
Dammit, I'm agnostic and don't even believe in that kind of "they're still with you and keeping an eye on you" but dammit if these stories don't get me
yeah, sorta same here, it's the sentiment that gets to you... and damn does it get to you ha : /
Posted 27 February 2012 - 09:22 AM
Posted 27 February 2012 - 10:38 AM
Posted 20 March 2012 - 10:12 AM
Posted 20 March 2012 - 12:06 PM
The Team That Vanished
And I just love this one...
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