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 Post subject: Mike Lange, Players Tribune
PostPosted: Thu Jun 08, 2017 1:09 pm 
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Not sure if this was ever posted here, but one of my favorite people in sports

https://www.theplayerstribune.com/mike- ... omir-jagr/

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For five years during the early ’90s, I sat next to Jaromir Jagr, and Jaromir Jagr’s magnificent hair, on the Pittsburgh Penguins’ team bus.

I was the play-by-play announcer, and Jaromir had recently come over to the States from Czechoslovakia to play for the Pens. He was still just a teenager at the time and didn’t speak English all that well. I’ll never forget, one of the first days I’m sitting next to him, he looks at me like he wants to say something. Then the kid pulls out his wallet.

I didn’t know what was going on. I thought maybe he was going to show me what Czech money looked like, or pull out some pictures of his family back home. But it was neither of those things. It turned out that what Jags wanted to show me was a small picture of Ronald Reagan that he had tucked in there.

At that point, there wasn’t a ton of verbal communication happening between us, so he basically just pulled out the picture and started nodding and giving a thumbs-up, with a big old grin on his face.

Communists had taken over Czechoslovakia in ’48, and Jags knew the stories of how the party had seized his grandfather’s land and imprisoned him for refusing to work at the state-run farm. Then the Soviet Union had invaded in 1968, a few years before Jaromir was born. So he loved Reagan because of how he had gone toe-to-toe with the Soviets in the 1980s and refused to back down. The kid was just all smiles anytime Ronnie was mentioned. And he was so excited to be over here and living his dream. Right from the start, he loved everything about this country. It was unmistakable — and it was part of who he was from the second I met him.

The other big thing I noticed about Jaromir back then was that he was super intelligent. Most people don’t think about smarts when they think of Jags, but almost right away I realized that he was a very, very bright kid. He was a master of watching people, and listening, and then learning from what he saw.

When Jags found out that I was known for a bunch of catchphrases that I’d yell out after goals, he latched on to one of the more famous ones and started calling me “Michael Michael Motorcycle” — or just “Motorcycle” for short.

Whenever he spotted me in the arena, he’d yell out, “Motorcyle! Michael Motorcycle!”

We got to work translating his ideas back and forth in a blend of Czech, English and Pictionary.

Jags learned English in no time, and our friendship grew from there. One day on the bus he turned to me with this big smile on his face, like he had a secret to tell me.

“Have an idea,” he said, with this twinkle in his eye.

He asked me if he could work up his own catchphrase for me to use during the games.

I said sure. Then I handed him a piece of paper, and we got to work translating his ideas back and forth in a blend of Czech, English and Pictionary.

And you know what he came up with?

… Just wait.

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 Post subject: Re: Mike Lange, Players Tribune
PostPosted: Thu Jun 08, 2017 4:42 pm 
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Quote:
Then the Soviet Union had invaded in 1968


That is why he wears #68


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 Post subject: Re: Mike Lange, Players Tribune
PostPosted: Thu Jun 08, 2017 4:46 pm 
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At least it's not Petr Sykora's fault.

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 Post subject: Re: Mike Lange, Players Tribune
PostPosted: Thu Jun 08, 2017 5:39 pm 
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So your favorite is Mike Lange or Jagr?


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 Post subject: Re: Mike Lange, Players Tribune
PostPosted: Thu Jun 08, 2017 11:10 pm 
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Both are cool in my book. I love me some Lange, though.

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 Post subject: Re: Mike Lange, Players Tribune
PostPosted: Fri Jun 09, 2017 3:44 am 
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Donnie Brasco wrote:
Quote:
Then the Soviet Union had invaded in 1968


That is why he wears #68


Soviets took over in 1948.
1968 was the year of the revolt and the warsaw pact invaded that is why he wears 68.


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 Post subject: Re: Mike Lange, Players Tribune
PostPosted: Fri Jun 09, 2017 7:51 pm 
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stillthere wrote:
Donnie Brasco wrote:
Quote:
Then the Soviet Union had invaded in 1968


That is why he wears #68


Soviets took over in 1948.
1968 was the year of the revolt and the warsaw pact invaded that is why he wears 68.

Soviets held the country under its sphere of influence, but it didn't invade until 1968.
Quote:
Soviet Invasion of Czechoslovakia, 1968
On August 20, 1968, the Soviet Union led Warsaw Pact troops in an invasion of Czechoslovakia to crack down on reformist trends in Prague. Although the Soviet Union’s action successfully halted the pace of reform in Czechoslovakia, it had unintended consequences for the unity of the communist bloc.

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