I recently finished reading Jeremy Roenick’s autobiography, “J.R.: My Life as the Most Outspoken, Fearless, and Hard-Hitting Man in Hockey”. And perhaps in honor of Roenick’s own mantra of never meeting a microphone he didn’t like, I sort of felt the need to toss out some thoughts of my own.
For those who know Roenick, he certainly qualifies as “outspoken” and personally, I’d probably put him in the “fearless” category. However, despite his balls-out approach to the game of hockey, he and his somewhat diminutive size (based on NHL standards) doesn’t put him on most people’s “hard hitting” list.
Still. He was a hell of a player, a US Hockey Hall of Fame Inductee (2010), Hockey Hall of Fame worthy, and probably, PROBABLY, deserves to have his #27 retired by the Chicago Blackhawks.
Oh. And for those of you who don’t know Jeremy Roenick, where have you been the last 20+ years?
Now I’m not going to make this a 5th-grade style book report where I highlight the plot, the protagonist/antagonist, etc. It really is just a book with both on and off-the-ice stories of Roenick’s life as an elite NHL player. So in that regard, take it with a proverbial grain of salt. This isn’t going to win him the Nobel Prize in Literature.
The bottom line: it’s a good read. Yet after reading some fan reactions online, I was quickly reminded of the recent presidential race and how polarized people were during and after the debates despite viewing the exact same thing.
What I mean by that is this:
If you’re already a fan of Roenick, you’ll find his honesty, humility, and straight forward talk kind of refreshing. The positive image you have of him will likely grow and the passion of your defense of him will as well. Many of the stories will come off as funny, perhaps immature, but certainly entertaining.
If you’re not a fan of J.R. (and let’s face it, there are plenty), you’ll blast that same honesty, humility, and straight forward talk as utter bullshit; you might argue that he’s only playing up to the camera, so to speak. Instead, you’ll probably question him for what the book doesn’t say rather than for what it does.
Unfortunately, we live in a world where nothing is taken at face-value and everything is questioned. It’s a polarization that I think prevents a lot of us from simply enjoying life. This is just a book, written by a former hockey player, with little to no motivation other than to tell a story.
It’s not like he’s in it for the money. He earned approximately $53+ million in his career (and he certainly isn’t shy about letting you know either.)
Personally, I’m a huge fan of Jeremy Roenick. He’s easily my all-time favorite hockey player, Chicago Blackhawk and James Woods look-a-like. As some of you may know, I actually named one of the twins after him. So in many ways, I fit in the first category above.
However, I’m also not afraid to say that the book does show another side of Roenick. The psychoanalyst in me might describe him (or better yet his past) as controversial, perhaps a bit dark. He was not always a good teammate, husband, or friend. And he certainly has an ego that seems to constantly be at battle with his logical side.
But you know what? He’s human and he’s made mistakes in his life. We all have. But he’s also done a lot of good and everyone needs to accept both his high points and low. Simply put, he’s not perfect nor does he pretend to be.
His attitude seems to be this: here I am, here’s my story, for better or worse, now it’s up to you to decide.
My decision and my opinion of the man remains unchanged. I like the guy, I liked the book, and I recommend it to any hockey/sports fan.