Mike Eruzione reads “O Captain! My Captain!” by Walt Whitman (Favorite Poem Project)


Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the USA
and MIAA hockey legend, a graduate of Winthrop High School, Mike Eruzione. A native on of Winthrop Massachusetts, Mike
Eruzione captained his hockey team at Winthrop Senior High School before playing four standout
years at Boston University. But it was his time as captain of the legendary
1980 Olympic hockey team where Mike became a national hero. He scored Team USA’s game-winning goal against
the Soviet Union in one of the greatest moments in American sports history, and helped lead his team to the gold medal
that we still celebrate today. Everybody, when they talk about Eruzione you
usually hear “the guy scored one goal and he’s set for life.” What do you think about that? They don’t know who I am. You know, football was my passion in high
school, I played more baseball than any sport. Hockey was something I did in the wintertime. And you lived in a multi-family home, right,
and went through like —? I lived in a three family house which I live
next-door to now, and we lived on the first and the second floor and I had four sisters
and a brother. You know, growing up in that three family
I look back on my life as, not as so much as an athlete as a person. It was the greatest place you could live,
I thought everybody lived in a three family. So it’s just a great place to live and I still
live there now. As we got older in the house, Christmas time
and holidays, all the family would go to my floor and my
dad would take out the guitar and he’d play and sing and my sisters and aunts an uncles, we’d all sing songs and Christmas songs, and
my uncle every once in a while would ask my father to recite “O Captain! My Captain!” That was kind of somewhat of a ritual around
the house that every once in a while around the holidays, my uncle would tell my father to do “O Captain! My Captain!” and my father would dramatize
the whole thing. He was a character. He was a good man, he was a working man, he
worked three jobs, he loved his wife, he loved his kids, he loved his friends. And he took great pride in his children. My dad passed away a few years ago, lived
a great life, 93 years old, taught me a lot of great things, couldn’t ice skate worth
a soul. I remember when I played one time at BU I
had a breakaway during the game and I missed the breakaway and the game was over and my
dad, he was waiting for me and I said, “Pretty
good game” he goes “Yeah.” I said “Boy, the goalie made a nice save in
that breakaway,” he said “You should have deked the goalie.” I said “What?” He said “You should have deked the goalie.” Now deking the goalie is when you fake the
goalie out, I said “Really? What does deke mean?” He goes “I don’t know, but the guy behind
me told me you should have deked the goalie.” So I learned don’t listen to my father about
ice hockey, but the values and the lessons were important. We had some things in common and a lot of
it would be our work ethic, you know my dad worked hard and he instilled that in me. You know when I played hockey, football and
baseball, it didn’t matter if I struck out or dropped a fumble or didn’t score a goal. It was important that I worked hard. The only poem I know anything about is “O
Captain! My Captain!” and it has nothing to do with me as captain
of me high school hockey team or captain of Boston University or captain of an Olympic
team. I heard this poem when I was seven, eight,
nine years old when my father used to recite “O Captain! My Captain!” Certain words he would stress a little more,
you know. I don’t remember all of them, but I do remember
the endings wasn’t just “fallen cold and dead.” It was like “fallen, cold, and dead.” “O Captain, My Captain!” by Walt Whitman. O Captain! My Captain! Our fearful trip is done. The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize
we sought is won. The port is near, the bells I hear, the people
all exulting, while follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring. But o heart! Heart! Heart! O the bleeding drops of red, where on the
deck my Captain lies, fallen cold and dead. O Captain! My Captain! Rise up and hear the bells. Rise up, for you the flag is flung, for you
the bugle trills. For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths, for
you the shores a-crowding. For you they call, the swaying mass, their
eager faces turning. Here Captain! Dear father! The arm beneath your head! It is some dream that on the deck, you’ve
fallen cold and dead. My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale
and still. My father does not feel my arm, he has no
pulse nor will. The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage
closed and done, from fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won. Exult o shores, and ring o bells! But I with mournful tread, walk the deck my
Captain lies, fallen cold and dead.

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