Tuesday, February 11, 2014
By: Joey Battaino
About two months back, I chipped my tooth (on a french fry of all things) and lost a filling. Being as stubborn I am, I let the thing fester until it finally needed a root canal. Ironically enough, it was a visit to the Dentist for a root canal that got me in touch with my hockey "roots" again.
Before we started the procedure, the Dentist and I shared a few words. He seemed like a nice enough guy and was asking me about myself. I told him I moved to Odessa from Michigan last summer. These days in Odessa, most people are relocating for an oil field job so when I told him I packed it all up and moved 1,500 miles for a hockey job, he was really interested. He asked me about the crowds these days and the differences between pro and junior and like a good solider, I answered all his questions about the Jacks. Then, as he went to insert the dental dam into my mouth, he noticed a pop in my jaw that has been there as long as I can remember. He asked, "You don't have lock jaw, do you?" I quickly replied, "Nope, I got hit in the face with a puck and it's done that ever since, doc"
He then began what was an hour and 45 minute procedure. I spent most of the time with my eyes closed and trying to breathe out of the little space left in the dental dam. Doc noticed at one point that I had opened my eyes and I could tell he wanted to ask me something. He says, "Why does the hair that grows on one spot of your chin white?"
I think Doc forgot I had the fucking dental dam in. I tried to muster a response but he couldn't make out what I was trying to say. Eventually, the tooth was dug out, the posts were put in, and I was ready to go. Doc removed the dental dam and I said, "I got a stick," Doc gave me a puzzled look. Apparently he had forgotten about what he asked 30 minutes earlier. "The spot on my chin. It's a scar. The hair that does grow is white," At that point, Doc said a line that I may never forget. I don't even think he knows it. It was one of those things that you can say that may not mean a thing to you, but hits like none other to someone else. Doc says, "You've really given a lot to hockey," I took a second, looked him in the eye and said, "All I have,"
It was the most honest thing I could've have said.
Doc looked at me different the rest of the visit. He knew what I was. He knew that this is my love. My passion. My game. I really didn't think about it until I got home tonight. Why I answered the way I did and what it meant. I've always had the, "I'm all in," attitude when it comes to broadcasting, mostly because of hockey. That, and I love to entertain. Some days I have to pinch myself, and make sure this is real. In two weeks, I'm collecting a check for this. We've all been guilty of complaining about the things we don't have, instead of admiring the things we do. The constants for me are Jesus Christ and Hockey, and depending on the times in my life, sometimes in the opposite order. But maybe, just maybe, the world would be a better place if we had more, "I'm all in," people. This is my calling. I was born for this, and I'm not going to worry if my roots are showing.