One of the greatest sports figures of all time at last breaks
his silence in a memoir as unique as the man himself.
Number 4. It is just about
the most common number in hockey, but invoke that number and you
can only be talking about one player -- the man often referred to
as the greatest ever to play the game: Bobby Orr.
From 1966 through the mid-70s he
could change a game just by stepping on the ice. Orr could do
things that others simply couldn't, and while teammates and
opponents alike scrambled to keep up, at times they could do little
more than stop and watch. Many of his records still stand today and
he remains the gold standard by which all other players are judged.
Mention his name to any hockey fan - or to anyone in New
England - and a look of awe will appear.
But skill on the ice is only a
part of his story. All of the trophies, records, and press
clippings leave unsaid as much about the man as they reveal. They
tell us what Orr did, but don't tell us what inspired him, who
taught him, or what he learned along the way. They don't tell what
it was like for a shy small-town kid to become one of the most
celebrated athletes in the history of the game, all the while in
the full glare of the media. They don't tell us what it was like
when the agent he regarded as his brother betrayed him and left him
in financial ruin, at the same time his battered knee left him
unable to play the game he himself had redefined only a few seasons
earlier. They don't tell about the players and people he learned to
most admire along the way. They don't tell what he thinks of the
game of hockey today.
Orr himself has never put all this
into words, until now. After decades of refusing to speak of his
past in articles or "authorized" biographies, he finally tells his
story, because he has something to share: "I am a parent and a
grandparent and I believe that I have lessons worth passing
In the end, this is not just a
book about hockey. The most meaningful biographies and memoirs rise
above the careers out of which they grew. Bobby Orr's life goes far
deeper than Stanley Cup rings, trophies and recognitions. His story
is not only about the game, but also the age in which it was
played. It's the story of a small-town kid who came to define
its highs and lows, and inevitably it is a story of the lessons he
learned along the way.