(Eddie Olcyzk, Jr. — Hockey superstar; NBC broadcaster; Handicapper deluxe and one of the best people you will ever meet — was our “Special Guest” on a Zoom “Coffee Chat” for The Louisville Thoroughbred Society this morning)
I am sorry that most of you didn’t get to listen to The Louisville Thoroughbred Society’s “Coffee Chat” this morning.
I am more sorry that we didn’t tape it. For you to listen to. For me to re-listen to. For everyone to have a chance to listen to.
You missed it.
It was one of the most inspirational, motivational, spiritual experiences of my entire life.
It was moving. It was entertaining. It was enlightening.
It moved me to laughter. It moved me to tears. It moved me.
It was amazing.
And, it was all Eddie Olcyzk.
If you have never had the opportunity to meet this man, you should make it your life’s mission.
If you have never had the chance to listen to this man speak, you should die trying.
If you can, buy the man’s book. Read it. And, then chase him down — some how, some way — and get him to sign it and tell you how important his wife and his family have meant to his life.
It is worth it.
Thanks to fellow LTS member and friend, Donna Brothers, I met Eddie for the very first time on our Zoom conference call today.
I will never forget him.
He talked of his days as a superstar in the National Hockey League. He talked about winning the Stanley Cup, and playing his first game; his 1,000th game; and his last game for the Chicago Black Hawks. And, he talked about his days as a coach.
He talked about going to the racetrack as a very young child in Chicago and learning how to play the ponies from his dad. He talked about cashing his first exacta ticket for $118. He talked about how he was hooked for life.
He talked about his broadcast career, both as an analyst on the Chicago Blackhawks network and how he came to join the stellar broadcast team that covers the Kentucky Derby; the Triple Crown; the Breeders’ Cup for NBC Sports.
Even more fun.
And, he talked about his favorite racetrack memories. Of watching American Pharaoh win the Triple Crown at Belmont Park. Of watching the great Arrogate win the Travers Stakes. Of watching Gun Runner, Game Winner and Gunnevera complete the trifecta in the Pegasus World Cup.
Yep. Most fun.
But the part of the hour — that seemed like 5 minutes — that I will remember the most?
Was not the fun part. It was the serious part.
Eddie O talked about the days he discovered that he was suffering from Stage 3 Colon Cancer. He talked about the days of horrendous pain. He talked about the chemotherapy treatments. He talked about the day he wanted to quit and give up.
Then, he talked about his wife, Diana. A gal he met when he was 18 years old and on a flight from Chicago to New York to play in a hockey game. A gal that he courted and chased. A gal that he later married and had 4 children with. A gal that helped save his life, by convincing him to fight on.
I don’t know what I expected when we started the Zoom Conference Call.
I know I didn’t expect this.
I didn’t expect to laugh. I didn’t expect to cry. And, I didn’t expect this hour to have such an impact on my life.
I will give you my word about one thing, though. When we get the chance to open The Louisville Thoroughbred Society, we will do everything in our power to get Eddie Olczyk to come and visit.
Visit our facility.
More importantly, though, to visit with you.
It will be worth the price of admission. I can assure you of that.
I can promise you that.