He was the kid that was passed over when road hockey teams were being picked, painfully watching as some who were chubbier, slower and clumsier went before him.
Only for Glenn Anderson, this has been the adult version of that same torture.
For the past decade, the former Edmonton Oilers star could only sit idly by as player after player -- including a handful of his former teammates -- were selected for the Hockey Hall of Fame ahead of him.
The issue was not if they deserved to be there. They did. But so did he.
And now, finally, his moment has come. His induction will be made official Monday in Toronto, a highlight of his life.
All because of his patience.
It is a frustrating ordeal, Anderson said yesterday, one that other overlooked candidates must deal with by adopting a wait-and-see attitude.
Candidates such as Doug Gilmour.
"With Dougie and some of the others, they certainly have the credentials," Anderson said. "I think you need championships and Dougie has that. He has international experience, too.
"It's a long, hard process. It has been over 10 years for me."
In the 1980s, Anderson's Oilers and Gilmour's Calgary Flames knocked heads in the fierce Battle of Alberta. Foes became friends in the early 1990s as teammates with the Maple Leafs, helping Toronto get within one victory of the 1993 Stanley Cup final.
Now Gilmour is following in Anderson's footsteps. Waiting to get in. Helpless to do anything else.
"I have no choice," Gilmour said last night. "If it happens, it happens. I have no control over it."
In his first year of eligibility, Gilmour surprisingly was shut out in favour of the likes of Dick Duff, which raised a few eyebrows. The next time around, well, with Scott Stevens, Al MacInnis, Mark Messier and Ron Francis being slam dunks, he had no chance. This year welcomes Anderson and Igor Larionov, two deserving inductees.
Next year will not be any easier. Steve Yzerman and Brett Hull are shoo-ins while Luc Robitaille will get a long look.
More waiting for Gilmour, it appears.
The credentials are there. He is seventh in playoff scoring with 188 points, more than Mario Lemieux, Jaromir Jagr and Raymond Bourque. Only 11 players have recorded more regular-season assists than his 964, while his 1,414 career points rank him at No. 17.
Because he, like Gilmour, experienced some issues away from the rink early in his career, Anderson was asked if such things cause the selection committee to cool off on a candidate.
"On-ice activities, off-ice activities, it's tough to know what keeps you out," Anderson said. "I don't know if off-ice things are material or not with the criteria."
The list does not end with Gilmour. Steve Larmer, Dino Cicarelli, there are plenty of worthy names remaining on the outside looking in.
Make no mistake. The committee's mandate of picking the best Hall of Fame candidates is a difficult one, even if past selections like Clark Gillies and Bernie Federko remain headscratchers.
For example, on one particular drive into Pittsburgh during the playoffs last spring, the topic among a carload of sportswriters was: Is Chris Osgood inching his way into Hall of Fame contention?
There was a time such a suggestion would ignite cackling. Not that day.
Osgood owns three Stanley Cup rings, two earned as a starting goaltender. His 368 victories leave him just one behind Tom Barrasso, who is No. 14 on the career wins list. His career goals against average is a sparkling 2.43.
Does Chris Osgood belong in the Hall of Fame? Not yet.
Will he warrant consideration if he keeps racking up such numbers for another few years? Like it or not, probably.
One day, Gilmour should be there. Like Anderson finally is.
"I'm happy for him. We had a lot of battles out in Alberta," Gilmour said.
"I remember when we were in Toronto, we would start games together, sometimes end games together. You knew he was always going to be there in key situations."
Anderson admits having a soft spot for Toronto, even though his tenure as a Leaf only lasted from 1991 to '94.
"My time in Toronto was phenomenal," Anderson said. "It really was the hockey spotlight.
"It was the hottest ticket in the sport."
This weekend Anderson will return to Toronto with an entourage of more than 30 family and friends, all there to witness his induction into hockey immortality.
It's a feeling Anderson hopes Doug Gilmour might himself enjoy one day.