Friday, October 13, 2006

A CELEBRATION

Since I have this site to serve as my public forum to toot my horn and shout my opinions, today, October 12th 2006, I am taking a moment to celebrate. Today marks the 74th birthday of my Dad. Growing up, my Dad had many serious health problems, ranging from heart attacks of all varieties and severity, to multiple bypasses, to back, shoulder, knee, feet, etc woes. Somehow, someway, he always had the strength to pitch batting practice, hit ground-balls, catch, and spend the precious free-time he had when not at work with me.

I knew at the age of nine that I was never going to play professional baseball. Looking back, I have to believe that my Dad came to that same conclusion around that time as well (I am still deluded enough to believe that Hal the fourth will be a great situational lefty for the Sox in about 18 years coming out of the bullpen). Still, he never hesitated to get up at 6AM in the summer to drive us to the local practice field before the day got too hot and others took over the field for practices. Hitting grounders and pop-ups and pitching BP until his back went out was how he showed how much he cared and loved us all. How some people cannot see that for what it was (a labor of love) is beyond me.

It was not just baseball, although that remains our bond, football, basketball, soccer, floor hockey, karate, and anything else he could think-up to better us was a sacrifice he made. As I got older, I got into cross-country running to go with basketball and baseball, and every night after work he go home, eat dinner, and then go pick me up at the high school after I goofed around all afternoon with my friends, I mean had an exhilarating run through the woods of beautiful downtown Middleboro.

No matter what it is in the world of sports, I still call my Dad immediately to discuss and analyze what happened, how the Red Sox are going to blow it, how we still cannot believe that the Patriots are the 1980s San Francisco 49ers, and how the Celtics are never going to be what they were from the late fifties to the early nineties.

Most of all, I just want to celebrate that my Dad is still here to chase baseballs and pitch batting practice to my son, and to listen to him tell his grandfather about Big Papi, Manny, Youk, Paul Pierce, Tom Brady, and how the Jets and Yankees stink. And while I am here and on the subject, thank you again for everything you did for me Dad. My only aspiration is to be half the father to my kids as you were to me. Thank you again for everything. I love you, Dad.

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A LOSS

I really do not have a lot to add to the Cory Lidle plane crash. Maybe sportscasters and writers will spend a little more time on the good guys who gutted their way to the big leagues and worked their tails off just to survive like Lidle did for nine years in the majors instead of wasting paper and breath on idiots like T.O. and his ilk of media-hungry malcontents. Of course, as the news had shifted from Lidle back to T.O. on ESPN in less than 5 hours, I really do not see this happening.

All I can do is think of his poor wife and child, and about the family of the flight instructor who perished with him in the crash. What a tragedy. And this is a real tragedy. The football team losing because their kicker slipped in the dirt is no tragedy. The Sox missing the playoffs is no tragedy. Cory Lidle, Thurman Munson in 1979, and Roberto Clemente on New Years Eve in 1972: those are tragedies. Sports are merely an escape from reality. When reality butts in like with Cory Lidle crashing his plane into a New York City high-rise, it takes everyone a while to get their bearings back.

Sad. So sad.

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