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A farewell to arms - thoughts on Bob Probert

"(love) always protects, always hopes, always perseveres." (1 Corinthians 13:7)

 The Detroit Red Wings have lost one of their most beloved "enforcers".  Bob Probert, 45, died suddenly on Monday, July 5th, due to heart complications.  More about his death and career can be read at the following link:

It is difficult to step back and seek a deeper spiritual truth at a time like this.  Bob, as a hockey player, was best known for his physical presence.  His role was to protect the star-forwards like Steve Yzerman from those who would seek to bring them harm.  Unfortunately, many other tragic parts of Bob's life de-railed his career.  Struggles with drugs and alcohol would find him in continuous transition, and even a short term in prison.  He would depart from the Red Wings in the mid 90's, just a couple of years before they would hoist the Stanley Cup for the first of four times in a 12 year stretch.  Bob spent the remainder of his career with the Chicago Blackhawks and retired in 2002, just 8 years before the Blackhawks would hoist the cup for the first time in almost 50 years. 

Bob's pain and struggles kept him from hoisting that formidable trophy.  It cannot be said for sure, but it would seem that this fact, more than others, would be a difficult burden to bear.  It was his life away from the ice that kept him from achieving a life-long dream.  This heartbreaking truth brings to mind King David from the Old Testament.  David is credited for writing many of the Psalms, and for being the greatest King in Israel's history.  However, his heart's desire was to build the Temple in Jerusalem.  This was something that God would not permit.  David had shed much blood in battle, and because of that it was his son, Solomon, who would see the Temple finished. 

There are many who will see their greatest hopes cast aside because of past decisions.  In truth, we all pay a greater price than anyone else will ever know when we are confronted with our mistakes.  God's forgiveness can make us whole, but we may never find some of the earthly rewards we had hoped for.  And yet, there is always room for blessing in the end.

On Bob's final day, he was with his children, his mother-in-law, and his father-in-law.  You see, even after all the pain and struggle, Bob had a family and friends who loved him.  Any time he was in Chicago or Detroit, he received thunderous ovation.  Bob, in the end, had the greatest gifts that any of us will ever receive.  He had the love, praise and support of those around him.  He is fondly remembered by fans in both Chicago and Detroit, and will be long-remembered as a co-member of the "bruise brothers".  His role as a protector and agitator will be hailed by many as one of the best to ever play the game.  Bob, more than anything, will be missed. 

However you feel about this man, please be respectful.  As friends and family mourn and pick up the pieces, it is a poor time to throw insults and accusations.  This is the time to remember and move ahead.  If we can take one thing from Bob's life, let it be that we can stand up for those around us.  That, in the end, is a lesson worth learning.

Be blessed this week, friends.  May you be blessed as you take time to reflect on those who have passed and spend time with those you love.  Please tune in again later this week as we continue to share in this great gift called life.  Until then, God bless and keep reading.


  • Patrick Rall - The Detroit Autos Examiner 5 years ago

    The day of the enforcer is sadly over, so the younger generation of hockey fans will never be able to appreciate his type of game. He wasnt squeaky clean but he did his job like few other players.

  • Jeremy Laura 5 years ago

    Patrick, thanks for the insightful comments. We were watching clips from 1974 and even the late '90s and the game is completely different. We may have seen the end of the great grit and tussle that used to define the worlds greatest sport.

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