(Author's Note: The following FanPost was originally written on a Devils blog I have recently returned to work on after a long break. All of the content in this post is still intact, so it is just like the original. Enjoy!)
After taking a long breather from this blog, I have decided to come back and pick up where I left off. Yes, it's been a while since my last post, and there's no doubt a lot has occurred during the time I was away. Unfortunately, they weren't for the better in the case of the Devils, as it took 80 seconds in Game 7 for the season to end. Miserably. It's one giant reason why I haven't the heart to turn on a hockey game throughout the postseason, or talk about it either. And now, to make matters worse, a Stanley Cup Finals re-match between Pittsburgh and Detroit is looming, which will further turn me off from hockey until season's end. Believe me, it's a case of "been there, done that," and I wish not to waste my time watching it.
But right now, I don't want to dwell too much on Game 7. Or the playoffs. Right now, I want to write something that I should've written a month ago, but didn't due to many other factors in my life. Something that every Devils supporter can understand, can relate to, and holds near and dear to our hearts. Let's say for starters it is about voice.
On April 13, 2009, Harry Kalas, the longtime broadcasting voice of the Philadelphia Phillies, collapsed and died in the press box of Nationals Stadium while preparing for a game between the Phillies and Nationals in D.C. Even though I possess a steadfast loyalty to the New York Mets, I came to appreciate Kalas through his work with NFL Films and sometimes a Phils game or two, whether or not the Mets were in town. His death was taken the hardest, though, by the Phillies fans, people that grew up hearing his voice. If you saw Harry's memorial service either in person or on TV, you could tell. From now on, for those people at least, it's going to have to be life without Harry. As I watched that service, there was one eerily similar thought that came into my mind.
That was the thought of life without one Michael "Doc" Emrick.
You see, Doc is to the Devils what Harry was to the Phils. Doc is not just the voice of the Devils. He is the voice. He was an original, one who joined this franchise in its intrepid days. Although he took a hiatus from the team and had a stint with the Flyers in the late '80s and early '90s, he came back and never left.
He was with us in the highs, lows, and in-betweens of the past.
He gives us crash courses on things we could've cared less about, and we always nod our heads in positive intrigue and interest.
If a game were to get boring, we can always count on Doc to come through with something to keep us entertained without sounding like a jackass.
The flow, smooth and easy.
The experience, enjoyable; even more so with Chico as his color guy.
Sportscasting is a tough job, yet he masters it without breaking a sweat. Yes, Doc can do it all. Why? Not because he's proficient yet comprehensible, that's only part of it. He can do it all because he understands and cares about the sensibilities of the fans, especially us Devils faithful. Not once will Doc talk down on one or act high and mighty. He is a legend and a human being, which is why we, as Devils fans, can relate to him. Doc is our college professor, our uncle, our father, and our best friend rolled into one. And for as long as he lives, it will stay that way in the eyes and minds of the Devils fanbase.
However, the key words are for as long as he lives. Yeah sure, we can spew all this "he will live on forever" stuff, and I will be one to do so from time to time because I am a sucker for these things. Quite frankly, that's not how it works in the real world. When that time comes, someone will have a very tall order of filling his shoes, be it Steve Cangialosi, Matt Loughlin, or someone from the outside. While I mean no disrespect to the aforementioned, Doc Emrick is on a whole other level, one that is, in my opinion, far beyond attainable.
I respect how the real world works and that our lives come and go. But to imagine the day Michael "Doc" Emrick passes and the life I and countless Devils/hockey fans have to live afterwards? Seriously, that's beyond frightening!