This post isn’t about multiple sclerosis. This post is about being inspired by others and how Canadians should take pride in the example which Gord Downie is setting. The iconic front-man for the Tragically Hip is facing terminal brain cancer and rather than simply waiting for the inevitable he went on one last tour. The the final show was available to everyone via the CBC this past Saturday night. We can all learn from the example.
From the outset I have to admit that I’m a fan; the Tragically Hip were the sound track to my high school years from 1992-1994. Since that time they’ve released numerous songs which rank among my favorites. The one that sticks out is the live version of, “Springtime in Vienna,” from a live album they released in 1997. If you aren’t familiar with the Hip I would recommend hitting up Youtube and giving them a try. They’ve been Canada’s band for more than 20 years.
When it was announced earlier this year that their lead singer, Gord Downie, was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer I remember being touched. However, the news faded into the background of the din of life. I didn’t realize the impact until I watched the band’s final show on Saturday night; it is a huge loss and an artist, whose lyrics perfectly encapsulated what Canadiana was for people of my generation, will be missed.
“Late breaking story on the CBC.”
Gord Downie didn’t need to hang out with the Trailer Park Boys or Don Cherry to cement his place as a Canadian icon. His art was what drove his status. His music also lead to appreciation where other Canadians wanted to share the Hip with the world; Fellow Canadian Dan Akyrod famously got the band an appearance on Saturday Night Live.
As great as the Tragically Hip are as a band and as great as Gord Downie is as a musician what he has done since his diagnosis puts him at another level. He is showing people through action how to face the ultimate adversity with grace, dignity, and style. Nothing is more manly or ballsy than facing the inevitable in a sequin suit. It is so fitting that he, and his band, are known for a song titled, “Courage.” I am so inspired by his example that I can’t possible put it into words.
Hoping for a miracle.
Epilogue from Eddie Vedder