Very sorry to do this to Roch Carrier’s The Sweater, the classic story of a kid in rural Quebec in the 1940’s who was sent a Toronto Maple Leaf sweater by mistake after his Rocket Richard one had seen better days.
I remember very well the winter of 2012. We all wore the same uniform as Scott Gomez, the red, white and blue uniform of the Montreal Canadiens, the 15th best hockey team in the Eastern Division. We all shaved our heads like Scott Gomez. We missed the net like Scott Gomez. We laughed and spit like Scott Gomez. Truly, we knew everything there was to know about him.
On the ice, when the referee blew his whistle the two teams would rush at the puck; we were five Scott Gomez’ against five other Scott Gomez’. We were ten players all wearing the uniform of the Montreal Canadiens, all with the same burning enthusiasm. We all wore the famous number 11 on our backs.
One day, my Montreal Canadiens sweater was too small for me, and it was ripped in several places. My mother said: “If you wear that old sweater, people are going to think we’re at the lower end of the middle-income group.”
Then she did what she did whenever we needed new clothes. She went online.
After remembering her password, which she always forgot, and filling out her information, she wrote in the comments section; “Dear Sweaters ‘R You. Would you be so kind to send me a hockey sweater for my son, who is ten years old and a little bit tall for his age? Doctor Robitaille thinks he is a little too thin. Enclosed is my PayPal information. I hope your packing will be better than it was last time.”
Two weeks later we received the sweater. They had sent the brick red, desert sand, and black sweater of the Phoenix Coyotes. With tears in my eyes, I found the strength to say: “I’ll never wear that.” My mother sighed in despair. “Sweaters ‘R You will be insulted,” she said. So I had to wear the Phoenix Coyotes sweater.
Game day came and I jumped onto the ice. My moment had come! The referee blew his whistle and gave me a penalty. He said there were already five players on the ice. That was too much! It was too unfair! “This is persecution” I shouted. “It’s just because of my brick red, desert sand, and black sweater. I crashed my titanium junior composite stick against the ice so hard it broke. I bent down to pick up the pieces, and when I got up, the young priest, on skates, was standing in front of me.
“My child,” he said. “Just because you’re wearing a new Phoenix Coyotes sweater and not a Scott Gomez sweater doesn’t mean you’re going to make the laws around here. A good boy never loses his temper. Take off your skates and go to the church and ask God to forgive you.”
Wearing my Phoenix Coyotes sweater I went to the church, where I prayed to God. I asked Him to send me right away, a hundred million moths that would eat up my Phoenix Coyotes sweater.
But then I realized that they’re not even wool sweaters anymore, they’re jerseys made of polyester, and a hundred million moths wouldn’t be interested anyway. So that was the end of that.
Here’s the real thing: