Canucks and Beyond

Honoring Bourdon

05/30/2008 at 3:27pm EDT

Understandably, there is a great deal of talk today dissecting Luc Bourdon’s decision to ride a motorcycle and his inexperience. Certainly, motorcycles and youth are a dangerous combination, but is that really the most important lesson to be learned from this tragedy?

Like them or not, motorbikes are legal and plenty of people ride them safely for years. Inexperience is likely to have played a part in young Bourdon’s death, but accidents can happen to anybody and under many circumstances.

As I believe TSN’s Bob McKenzie commented yesterday at some point, when your number is up, it’s up. No matter how carefully Bourdon might have chosen to live, life itself just isn’t terribly fair about these things.

I don’t mean to belittle the importance of motorcycle safety and the many people who feel this loss personally because they, too, have lost loved ones on motorbikes. But I’m also not prepared to pull a Scott Morrison and argue about how Bourdon made a “bad decision” and his death was “avoidable.”

Well, of course it was avoidable… in the same way that nearly every death is avoidable if we could anticipate the future. As for deciding Bourdon made a “bad decision,” I’d love to know how Morrison came to that conclusion. Or perhaps the HNIC commentator simply thinks he knows what’s best for everyone?

How nice that must be for him.

From the AP today:

Bourdon’s uncle, Robert Boucher, said his nephew was so dedicated to hockey that he took no time off in the last five years as he pursued his dream of playing in the NHL. He said Bourdon came home to Shippagan this week for a month vacation to play golf and be with friends. Many of them rode motorcycles.

“He loved to have fun,” Boucher said in French during a news conference in this community of 3,000 about 150 miles north of Fredericton. “Like anyone who is 21, he loved motorcycles. He wanted to buy a bike. That was his choice.”

Indeed it was.

As for adding clauses to player’s contracts prohibiting such activities, I suppose that’s up to individual teams and players to decide. But I ask you this: how many clauses are you prepared to accept as a 21 year old man just living your life? Ultimately, there has to be some balance because life has risks nearly everywhere you turn.

My own learning curve riding a motorcycle was on dirt bikes, and I was a lot younger than Bourdon and took plenty of risks which resulted in many wipe-outs. I wouldn’t suggest anyone be as reckless as I was—I got very lucky. Not everyone does.

But perhaps the lesson in all this isn’t necessarily that we should never take risks—who out there can say they live their life in a bubble?—it’s that we should just never take anything for granted. Even living as safely as we can, we still have to live.

On that note, there will be a moment of silence prior to Game #4 in Pittsburgh on Saturday. Hopefully it will be a moment where everyone takes the time to remember the hockey player and the man Bourdon was... not the tragic twist of fate that ended his life.

Final Note:

Waiting for Stanley highlighted an idea mentioned elsewhere that it might be a lovely gesture to donate something to Canucks Place, the very worthy primary charity of the Vancouver Canucks, in honor of Luc.

That same idea has been echoed around the web and by several readers who took the trouble to email me last night and this morning.

I think it’s a fine idea.

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