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Most of the other players have left, heading for a team dinner. Canada has defeated the U.S. 6-3 in a first-round game. The kid has scored the first goal and assisted on the last one, both times teaming up with Gretzky. He has played, well, great, thumping around on the ice with uniform number 88, booed by the crowd because of the publicized contract standoff, but cheered in the end, especially on a couple of trips to the penalty box after skirmishes with the pesky Americans. His parents are pleased.
"Do you know what's another option?" says Bonnie. "Baseball."
"Eric could play baseball," she says. "He's never played much baseball, but he's going to take it up. He took batting practice with the Blue Jays this season."
"He's starting too late to play one of the skill positions, but I think he can hit," Carl says. "He could play first base, maybe the outfield. He could be a designated hitter. He could play baseball, and he could play hockey. It's a better fit than Bo Jackson has, don't you think?"
The picture is taken, the flash lighting the corridor. The kid smiles. He has said earlier that he enjoyed playing softball for a coed team this summer that finished third in an Oshawa league. Baseball?
There is not a mark on his face, not a worry line in his forehead. He is wearing the blue Canadian team blazer with a red maple leaf stitched across the breast pocket. He is wearing a tie. Hi! My name is Eric Lindros. He is 18 years old.
"Hockey is a game that when you're young they want you to be older, and when you're old they want you to be young," he says. "I figure I'm just going to be young now, so they can't bitch when I'm older."
Anything is possible. He might even buy a couch someday.