You're probably thinking to yourself, "What does this have to do with Ryan Cruthers?" If you were to pick up a newspaper from Orlando anytime between nine months ago and now, turn it to the Sports section, what is the common top story about that even ESPN had their eyes sparkle after it all went down? Dwight Howard. Dwight Howard this, Dwight Howard that, he wants to be traded, now he doesn't, he'll only sign with Brooklyn, but then he's okay with L.A. and Dallas, his back was too hurt to be with his ex-teammates or attend his already postponed basketball camp, but had no problem walking around Hollywood or attending Dodgers games. And who could ever forget his infamous "I'm too Loyal" speech? Well, those are the memories that Ryan Cruthers will have the burden of erasing. It may not have been in his job description, in the contract, or even in the drunken text he got from Bob Ohrablo (just kidding), it will be up to him to show not only the Solar Bears, but the city of Orlando that there really is a good guy.
Cruthers has shown to be a fan favorite when he played at Reading. Look at this letter he wrote to the fans after he was traded to Alaska last season. (Props to Candice Monhollan)...
...For someone to sent out a public statement to the fans of the team he put so much heart on, and to even give shoutouts to some fans BY NAME, showed that even though he no longer plays there, he has a special place in his heart for Reading and the fans have him in theirs. That is the type of leader these new Solar Bears need if they want to keep the tradition of reaching the finals in the inaugural season, hopefully the last. Yeah, he may be small for hockey, but there's a reason why he wore the "C" on his sweater, he plays the game smart, always a step ahead of the other team, using the skill set he's got as well as his teammates. A man who's dedicated to making himself better everyday both on the ice, and off.
It won't be easy to forget the pain and taste left behind by Dwight Howard, but as long as Ryan Cruthers takes the leadership and charisma he had at Reading into Orlando, who knows, maybe the next time you pickup a newspaper, it will read on the front page of the Sports section: "Magic lose by 30 to Bobcats! Losing streak now at 12" Look right under that story: "Cruthers leads Bears to memorable victory!" I said front page, not the headline story. I still got to be realistic, you know.