I Believe in Mario Lemieux
I believe in Mario Lemieux. What if I told you that Mario Lemieux’s career stats are 690 goals,1,033 assists…. and 2 saves? You might ask how he has two saves if he was a forward while playing hockey. Well, I’m not talking about the type of saves a goalie makes.
I’m talking about the type of save Mario made when he saved the Pittsburgh Penguins, not once -- but twice -- from bankruptcy.
The thing I believe in the most is the way Mario Lemieux carries himself off the ice. When he was playing, he wasn’t just another Prima Donna athlete who took his skill for granted. Even now, he’ll stop and have a conversation with a fan or sign an autograph. You never hear anything bad about him, which isn’t always true for sports superstars. He’s one of the few athletes who has NOT been involved in drug or steroid scandals.
Now that he’s retired, Mario lives in Pittsburgh. He coaches youth hockey and sponsors hockey camps there. I went to his camp when I was 4, and had the time of my life. Mario pretty much taught me how to skate. I was the youngest kid at the camp, and I can remember struggling with the skating drills. He personally took me aside and helped me. If it wasn’t for Mario I might not be as good a skater as I am now.
My fondest memory is the third day of camp when I had a fever. I refused to miss even one day of camp. But when I got on the ice, I felt worse. It must have shown, because Mario asked me if I needed to stop. Instead of letting me skate off by myself, he picked me up and carried me off the ice. He wished me luck at the hospital and said he hoped to see me play in the game the next day. That alone inspired me to get better and return for the game. I knew Mario cared because I knew how hard it was for him when he got sick.
When Mario Lemieux was 27, he was diagnosed with a cancer called Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He overcame his disease, and that gives me hope. I’m 13 years old now. When I was two, I was diagnosed with a disease called alport syndrome. Some days I feel really sick, but I remember what Mario went through with his cancer and I stay strong. I look up to him as inspiration to overcome my disease, since he’s defeated his. Mario has an organization for cancer research, called The Mario Lemieux Foundation. When I grow up, I want to give back to the community as much as he has.
I believe in Mario because he didn’t have to do all those things for me at skating camp. But he did. He took the time to help me personally. I can only hope to become as good a man as Mario Lemieux.
I believe in Mario Lemieux.