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Monday, May 4, 2009

When the odds are against you....

My husband recently sent me an article about my favorite Capitals player, Donald Brashear. I thought perhaps it was an article about his six game suspension or talk about "the enforcer" in a different light. What I didn't expect was the five page article discussing his most painful past.

Donald Brashear for all of you that do not know who he is, is noted to be the NHL's leading enforcer. He ranks up there as the player with the most penalty points and the most fights in the NHL. He instantly became a favorite of mine as I loved his "don't take crap from anyone" and even though his fellow teammates can hold their own, he makes sure that they are all okay. When once asked what he would do if anyone "messes" with Ovechkin, his response was something along the lines of "I'm going to get suspended." His attitude on the ice though does not always match his attitude off the ice. I once had the great opportunity of meeting my favorite player. He laughed at my nervousness on meeting him with a smile and a chuckle. During a photo op, he picked up my son, smiled and stuck out his tongue out at him to make him smile. My son gave him a good wack (sorry Brashear), but he was candid, sincere and had the personality of a big teddy bear. He won my vote and my husband's vote with the type of man he was to his fans. He wasn't caddy, rude or acted like he was better then anyone. He was a regular joe.

What broke my heart, was reading the Washington Post article, For Capitals' Brashear, Fighting's a Way of Life. It discussed his life and his upbringing to be anything but ideal. He was abused basically since he was born and later (and almost thankfully) put in the foster care system by his own parents due to parental prejudices, racism and their own shortfalls. The article notes that when Brashear was just six months of age, his Father wanted him quiet and since Brashear would not quiet down, his Father took him by the arm and flung him across the room. His Dad was an alcoholic and abused both his wife and his children. After Brashear's Mother fled with Brashear's older siblings, the abuse didn't stop there. She left her 18 month old child (Brashear) with the abusive Father while she took her other kids and married a new man. The new man although was not a drunk was not much better. After Brashear went to live with his family, this man abused and neglected Brashear so badly it is hardly forgivable. In the article it recalls that Brashear's bedroom was a dark and small space with not much in the room. As a typical sign of abused children, he would often wet the bed. To "teach" Brashear a lesson or in his own mind "protect the mattress", his Stepfather would often wrap trash bags around Brashear's waist. Brashear also recalls that as a child he would wish when he would hear his Stepfather walking down the hall, that he would pass his bedroom so he would escape any humiliation/abuse and felt that he was doing good when his Stepfather would leave him alone. Later Brashear was later put in foster care, which in my opinion was one of the few good things that happened for him. At least he was away from the people that hurt him the most.

The parents (including the Stepfather) don't deny any of their wrong doing to this day. They actually would like to have a relationship with Brashear. Not sure how genuine they are or is it because he is an NHL star that they thought having a relationship would be nice (perhaps a relationship equal dollar signs to them). My heart just literally goes out for this man and any children that have endured abuse rather it be physical, mental or emotional. No child should suffer that or endure that. My hope for Brashear is that he finds peace in his life, good people to be around (I'll volunteer just by knowing the man's personality), and finds his own happiness. I am honestly over joyed by his successes given what his background was. The odds were against him as he could of easily turned to drugs, crime or even repeated the abusive past he had to his own family. Bravo Brashear for literally overcoming and doing what you did on your own. You rose above it all. Enforcer or not, you'll always be my most favorite and valued player in my book.

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