Volume 36, Number 6, June 2001
a message from the publisher
Perhaps it was Max Perilstein’s moving tribute to fathers in the glass business last month. Or maybe it is the fact that I am writing this a few days before a Father’s Day I will miss by being out of the country. But whatever the reason, I want to tell you this story about my own Dad, Fred Kopf of Baldwin, New York, who I love very much.
My father is well-known to family, friends and the entire universe as the world’s greatest hockey fan—New York Rangers especially. Now, lots of people say they are fans, but my father lives the sport. Legend has it that he took my mother to a hockey game on their wedding night—and neither one of them has ever denied it. As a child, I learned about hockey at his knee, which was no easy feat. You see, Dad was never particularly happy with how the TV announcers call the game (he thought they missed a lot of the subtle nuances of the sport, like how bad a guy was bleeding after a fight), so he’d set up an old transistor radio in just the right spot to try and hear the game while he watched it. Putting the radio next to a TV with bent rabbit ears and an antennae that had to be placed just so made sitting there a booby trap, because one wrong move could wipe out the signal. But it was a great way to learn about hockey.
And whenever a game was “blacked-out,” Dad would get in the car and drive to this spot on top of a small hill in a nearby park where he had miraculously discovered he could get the radio stations from Montreal. And there he’d sit and listen to the game—entirely in French. Now my Dad does not speak a word of French, but I venture to say if asked, he could call an entire hockey game in the language. And when the Rangers finally won the Stanley Cup a few years back for the first time since he’d been a boy, my father received calls and letters of congratulations from all over the country. So his hockey fanaticism is a proven fact.
Today, the rabbit-eared TV and transistor radio have been replaced at the Kopf homestead by cable with ESPN, ESPN2 and the very popular Madison Square Garden Sports. But the excitement of a Stanley Cup series continues.
“Who you rooting for?” my father asks me two weeks ago. “Denver,” I answer, “aren’t you?” “No,” he says, “New Jersey is a neighbor and the Devils are a good team.” “But Dad,” I say, “you hate the Devils and besides, no self-respecting New Yorker would want the Stanley Cup going to New Jersey.” (For those of you who don’t know, New Yorkers feel about New Jersey the way Virginians feel about West Virginia, or Northern Illinoians about Wisconsin.)
“Besides, Dad, this game has some professional implications for us. You know, the coach, Bob Hartley, used to work in a PPG factory in Canada and he has promised to bring the Stanley Cup to the factory if he wins. I’d get a kick out of covering that.”
So last night, when the Avalanche disposed of the Devils in game seven, 3-1, and provided an amazing ending to Raymond Bourque’s career, I was ready for the post-game call from my father.
“Oh by the way, Debbie,” he says, “I’ve been reading your magazine for years and really gotten interested in glass. Any way I could get to see it being made? … Maybe visit a plant? Maybe a windshield plant in Canada even? It would be quite a learning experience.”
“I’m sure it would, Dad.”
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