Jean Paul Parise fought his way into the NHL. He played a few games with the Bruins and Leafs, but spent most of his first six years in the professional leagues playing in the EPHL, CHL, and AHL until he was picked up by the Minnesota North Stars in 1967. Though his game was unspectacular, he played with a lot of heart. In 1972, he was a surprise selection for Team Canada at the Summit Series, but ended up playing 6 of 8 games on a line with Phil Esposito, and J.P. finished his hockey career with 890 games in the NHL.
While his son Zach was over in Russia representing the U.S. at the Sochi Olympics, J.P. woke up one morning with kidney stones. He hadn’t smoked since 1973, but when he went to the doctor, he was told that he had stage 4 lung cancer at 72-years old and was given two years to live. He has an optimistic and positive attitude, being grateful for the life he has lived so far and wanting to make the most of the time he has left: “I never think of this shortening my life, this shortening anything I’m going to do. I’m still going to travel, I’m still going to watch hockey.” Chemotherapy leaves him feeling tired and devoid of energy, but he still keeps his spirits high and tries to live his days to the fullest. “I am not complaining. At the end of the day, I am still alive. I am still alive, and tomorrow I will still be alive. I am not dying tomorrow. How long this will last, I don’t know. It depends on my attitude, it depends on nature, it depends on how I attack it. It’s life. You just go out and prepare for the next game.”
Whenever things were going a little wrong in life, J.P. always told his kids, la vie a ses bons moments: life has its good moments. Even through something unbelievably painful like losing someone we love or going through a rough patch in our lives, life has its good moments. Don’t forget those good times amidst the bad, and make the best of every moment.
Game Plan: Plan some positives. Even if you’re having some trouble right now or going through something tough, it’s always good to have something to look forward to and bring something positive to your day. Make sure you plan to do positive or enjoyable things on a regular basis. Start by making a list of things you have enjoyed doing in the past, and then choose one that you can do this week, making an appointment in your calendar.