Reprinted from Orr: My Story by Bobby Orr by arrangement with G.P. Putnam’s Sons, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, a Penguin Random House company. Copyright © 2013 by Robert Orr.
I was up at 5 a.m. The day, May 10, 2010, was just like any other day. One thing was different, though. It had been a long time since I had experienced game-day butterflies. Over the course of that morning, I was surrounded by friends and family. I shook the hands of countless well-wishers — celebrities, fans, other athletes, politicians. I wish I could have enjoyed every moment. And I hope I managed to return some of the warmth all those people showed me. But the thing is, I was so tense I could hardly make conversation even with old friends. It was the prospect of stepping up to a podium that was making me anxious. I’ve had to face some microphones over the years, of course, and speak to crowds. But to say I don’t relish stepping onto a podium to talk about myself doesn’t go nearly far enough.