Welcome to the blog to Wendy and to Canucks fans…
Wendy Wynn Welsh is from Surrey, British Columbia, married 27 1/2 years, two kids, one grandkid, and it took her the past 10 years to find her calling: writing. Humour, sarcasm, truth, it all goes into what she puts out, except where her husband is concerned. Her advice: Never give up on life, when the worst hits you in the face, fight back the best you can.
CLIFF RONNING By Wendy Wynn Welsh
What is this saying, “Celebrity Obsession?” Would that be when you pick up Webster’s dictionary, look it up and see a picture of me? I’ve had so many obsessions it’s hard to pick just one, maybe I’ll eventually write about all of them. I’m so far gone when I decide that one celebrity, one star is going to be my new flavour of the month, year, millennium? I’ll start at where my old age can remember!
Cliff Ronning…never heard of him? He’s a hockey player, played for someone else then was traded to Vancouver, Canucks in the latter half of 1993. All I could remember was the dreamy eyes and the taut, very visual butt he sported. I was heavily into hockey at the time, collected cards, bought posters, went out at godless hours to stand in line for autograph signings. I paid outrageous prices to attend games, get autographs from out of town players and equipment sales, like I needed a practice jersey for what, a new apron to do housework in?
The Canucks pushed Cliff by sending him out weekend after weekend that summer to do meet and greets and sign for the fans before he’d be a regular player that following 1994 season. I never failed to show up for one of his signings, problem is, he started to notice. Have you ever had that, open mouth and out comes something before the brain kicks in and says shut up? First autograph session at a small sport card shop, we stood for four hours, with two very young kids in line waiting. When the man of the hour showed up with his buddy and newly acquired Canuck, Jeff Courtnall, I managed to yell out “Nice bum”. This in front of my 9 and 7 year old boys, my husband, and about 30 other fans. What was worse, he heard it, followed the sound of my voice and looked me straight in the eye with an evil grin just before entering the store.
The man was also married with two young daughters about my boys’ age.
I wanted to turn and run but couldn’t. My sons had waited patiently all that time to see and get autographs from these two players. My husband just rolled his eyes as I fidgeted with the two hand drawn pieces I had done of these two players. I brought them with me to be signed after spending a few days drawing almost exact replicas in colored pencils from their hockey cards.
We entered the doorway and both my boys were tightly clutching the hockey jerseys they brought to be signed. I stood bravely behind them giving them instructions to place the shirts on the table in front of the guys so they could sign them, then told them to quietly say “thank you” after they got it.
I shriveled up into a microscopic piece of dust when I stood in front of Cliff. There was that evil smirk again. Dear God, he remembered my big mouth. When I placed my drawing in front of him, of both his likeness and his buddy, he noticed how embarrassed and uncomfortable I was, and heard me mutter “I’m so sorry”. Much to my surprise he signed my picture, gave me kudos then grabbed the picture of Jeff Courtnall. He promptly hit Jeff in the arm and said “Good God, look at this, looks exactly like you!” I almost fainted, and not figuratively speaking, LITERALLY!
Jeff blinked back his surprise. “This is fantastic, how long did it take you?” He blinked back surprise, yet again, when I replied, “One day.” I’ll never forget that look. I resigned myself to show up at EVERY signing that Cliff did thanks to his gushing over my artwork.
By the fifth signing – I showed up with his practice jersey that I’d bought through the organziation. He looked at the shirt as I gently placed it in front of him. He asked me where I got it and I explained. He signed it, looked up at me and said, “Are you following me?” again, with that evil smirk. All I could reply was, “Yes”. He gave me the most beautiful smile and a wink. I nearly fainted – yet again.
Turns out, his daughters were playing ringette hockey with one of my best friend’s nieces. She thought it would be hilarious to ask Cliff if he knows who his obsessed stalker is. After a brief description Cliff replied, “Yes, that’s her, why?” My friend nicely informed him I was very close to her and her family. His last words were, “Do I need to get a restraining order?” as he chuckled and walked away.