Elegy For Gump Worsley


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He looked more like our fathers,
not a goalie, player, athlete period.
Smoke, half ash, stuck in that permanent smirk,
tugging jersey around the beergut,
"I'm strictly a whiskey man"
was one of the sticks he taped up
and gave to a nation of pudgy boys in beverage rooms.
Favourites from Plimpton's list of objects thrown by Rangers fans:
soup cans, a persimmon, eggs, a folding chair and a dead rabbit.
The nervous breakdown of '68-'69
after pant-crap flights from L.A., the expansion,
"The shrink told me to change occupations.
I had to forget it."
He swore he was never afraid of the puck.
We believe him.
If anyone asks, the inscription should read,
"My face was my mask."

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