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Guy Behind the Guy: The Joys of June

Monday, 06.15.2009 / 4:21 PM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Mike Sundheim
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Guy Behind the Guy: The Joys of June
There must be something about month of June when it comes to thrilling, life-changing events.

Mike Sundheim
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Slightly less than three years ago, we experienced the ultimate professional high. On home ice in Raleigh, in front of not only a standing-room-only, but a standing-only crowd, we watched as our team raised its first Stanley Cup. After seven months of regular season and two months of playoffs, we reached the mountaintop in the most thrilling of fashions – a Game 7 victory, at home. The images from that night and the summer that followed will forever be etched in our memories, like our names on that beautiful silver trophy. A few nights ago, I wrote to my colleagues in Pittsburgh to try to enjoy every moment in what will be a thrilling, memorable and thoroughly exhausting summer.

While the Hurricanes’ playoff run this spring was both thrilling and memorable, we ultimately fell short of that ultimate goal. Clearly, there is no shame in losing to the team that proved to be the best of all. And certainly, the pain of an Eastern Conference Finals loss both inspires us for next season and reminds us just how special what we accomplished in 2006 was.

But the reason I will still spend the rest of this summer being thrilled and exhausted is much smaller than the 35”, 34 lb. trophy I lifted three summers ago. He arrived on June 6 in Chapel Hill, measuring just 20” and weighing just 7 lbs, 11 oz. We named him Franklin Robert, after my wife’s grandfather Franklin (Yes, we both went to UNC, but no, he is not named for the famous street) and my grandfather Robert. Like the process to lift the Stanley Cup, the path was not easy – he put my wife, Leah, through a grueling 27 hours of labor followed by surgery. But the moment he was put into my hands instantly surpassed the moment that Cup got into my grasp as the best moment of my life.

Needless to say, the past few months were interesting for us, as the further the team advanced in the playoffs, the tougher work and travel decisions began to be. As it stood, I would not have gone to Pittsburgh for Game 5 on May 29, had we forced a fifth game in the Eastern Conference Finals, since that was his due date. Ultimately, Franklin waited until June to join our household, and his timing proved impeccable – I took all of last week off, only to return today in time for our coaching announcements today. And his June arrival seemed quite appropriate for me – the month of all things thrilling, memorable and exhausting.

Thanks to Steven Reeser, one of Leah’s co-workers at SAS, for the lovely artistry on the attached picture, which provided us with a nice laugh.

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