Good Things Come to Those Who Wait Even Beyond the Grave

Chicago Cubs fans are celebrating at the news of former player and radio analyst, the now late Ron Santo’s election to the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Veteran’s Committee. Although Santo died last year, he nonetheless deserved to be amongst baseball’s greatest players. It’s a shame we won’t get to hear a speech from one of baseball’s most colorful characters.

USA Today has some comments from Cubs Management:

“All who knew Ron or welcomed him into their homes on the radio recognize he was so much more than a Hall of Fame baseball player,” Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts said. “He was the beating heart of Cubs fans. As an athlete, he was our All-Star. As a radio analyst, he carried our passion. For those battling illness or disease, he remains an inspiration. And for all of us who had the honor of calling him our friend, he is forever beloved.

Indeed. Santo was an amazing ballplayer who also battled diabetes throughout his career. He often played with double vision when his glucose levels would drop and he refused to call it quits. Years later, Santo had his legs amputated because of complications and continued to inspire people with his fight. His prosthetic legs looked like a Cubs uniform and he inspired so many people with his fight to remain independent and positive as he dealt with diabetes and amputations. He’d talk with amputees. “You can do it, look at me!” He even inspired Wild Bill Holden, an old guy with bad knees to walk nearly 2100 miles from Arizona to Chicago to raise money for Diabetes research.

My sister is a diabetic, so I know how tough the disease is and it pleases me that Ron is now a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

His wife couldn’t be more proud either.

http://mlb.mlb.com/shared/flash/video/share/ObjectEmbedFrame.swf?content_id=20021677&topic_id=&width=380&height=254&property=mlb

Wherever you are, Ron. Look down today and be glad and rejoice. You made it.

Penn State Students Are Out of Control

There’s no way that this game can happen on Saturday. If I’m Nebraska, I go nowhere near Un-Happy Valley.

And while Joe Paterno and university President Graham Spanier were removed yesterday here’s a bit of irony from Sports Illustrated:

Penn State interim head coach Tom Bradley said today in a press conference that assistant coach Mike McQueary will be with the team this Saturday in the Nittany Lions’ game against Nebraska.

McQueary, now a full-time coach, was the graduate assistant who allegedly witnessed Jerry Sandusky showering with a young boy in 2002. McQueary has come under fire for not pursuing police action, as have all other involved parties in the Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. As of now, McQueary has not faced any legal charges.

So the guy who witnessed the sodomy is on the sidelines, while Paterno isn’t? That makes no sense. Neither one belongs on the sidelines anymore.

Don’t play this game folks. It’s got nothing but trouble written all over it.

When It Comes to Child Sexual Abuse…Some Folks Just Don’t Get It

Check this out from last night, if you haven’t seen it already. I followed most of this on twitter.

People are excusing students for their blind love of Paterno and I say there’s no excuse. THAT’S the problem. Institutionalism and certain people who have a legendary status attached to them are given a free pass.

We don’t know just how much Joe Pa did to try to bring this horrible crime against a child to light, but it’s obvious that he didn’t do enough. Perhaps he went to the AD or even the cops and maybe they gave Coach Sandusky a free pass based on his celebrity. Perhaps there’s more to come. But regardless, don’t you think Paterno should have been asking why this guy was still coming to work each day?

My old colleague Vince DeLisi, has some thoughts that I found interesting:

Sexual abuse cannot be forgiven. This said shame on you Penn State for trying to make Joe Paterno take the fall. This is a man of integrity who could have walk away in the 70’s and been a coach in the NFL for the New York Giants. He stayed ran a great program making sure his graduates were prepared for life after football. He cared about his players and made sure they had a good education.

Paterno had people to answer to and I am sure he was told to report what he knew and others would take care of this. He was a good employee. Should he have done more and ignored his bosses, maybe yes but one thing is for sure, he should not take the fall.

I want to agree with Vince, but I just can’t. We all want to love Joe Pa and give him a free ride, but that’s exactly what’s wrong here. And after viewing that video I’m not sure Paterno realizes how serious this is. Now he is of a certain age and these types of things just weren’t talked about in his day and perhaps he’s in over his head at this point. But when he says things like “The victims…or whatever you want to call them” and then jumps right past that comment with a rousing cheer for Penn State–you’ve got to question if he understands the levity of the moment.

I don’t think he does.

Paterno won’t make it to Saturday and I doubt that Penn State will play their game this Saturday against Nebraska. The Penn State athletes here should show us all a little something and REFUSE to play on Saturday. Nebraska should phone the NCAA and refuse to play as well. Penn State’s season should be cancelled at this juncture and the student-athletes should be given another year of eligibility and Joe Paterno needs to go away.

Three words: Call the cops. I hope we find out that he did and that his calls were ignored. Still, when Sandusky’s next to him on the sideline, knowing what he knew…how did he keep him on board?

Philadelphia’s Archdiocese, Bishop Finn in Kansas City-St. Joseph and now the athletic department at Penn State….they all learned nothing from the Dallas Charter. They fail to understand that child sexual abuse is the biggest black eye out there and that covering it up or not responding forcefully makes that other eye more black than the first.

This will not end well. Mark my words.

If It’s Good for Cardinal Law…Then It’s Good for Joe Paterno

During the sexual abuse crisis (which still goes on) in the Catholic Church many were quick to condemn Catholic priest-abusers and the bishops that enabled them to abuse thousands of children and teens.

And rightfully so. Zero tolerance is the result of many people albeit much too late insisting on the implementation of the Dallas Charter—which has been routinely ignored by some as we know all too well. Even with the media coverage crushing the church’s reputation for the actions of some, there are bishops and other Catholic officials who just don’t get it.

The church was then, an old boys network that protected their own so as not to bring scandal on the church as a whole. That decision ironically brought exactly what everyone feared the most–the scandal.

And if we are this hard on our own institution than we have to be just as hard on Penn State today. Zero tolerance…and perhaps not just on Penn State, but on all academic institutions of higher education. Shouldn’t they be required to be as vigilant as the church has become about sexual abuse of children and even of teens who just turned 18 and may be in various states of vulnerability? You can’t tell me that young women especially aren’t victimized in college. And too often Universities turn a blind eye.

Which is what I think happened here. Here’s the story in a nutshell from the New York Times:

Jerry Sandusky, a former defensive coordinator under Paterno, has been charged with sexually abusing eight boys across a 15-year period, and Paterno has been widely criticized for failing to involve the police when he learned of an allegation of one assault of a young boy in 2002.

Additionally, two top university officials — Gary Schultz, the senior vice president for finance and business, and Tim Curley, the athletic director — were charged with perjury and failure to report to authorities what they knew of the allegations, as required by state law.

Since Sandusky’s arrest Saturday, Penn State — notably its president, Graham B. Spanier, and Paterno — have come under withering criticism for a failure to act adequately after learning, at different points over the years, that Sandusky might have been abusing children.

And for that, they all have to go. Done. Finished. Sorry, but you did the wrong thing.

And doing the right thing is almost never easy. In this case it was a beloved coach, who may have been the heir apparent to the legendary Paterno, sexually abusing a 10 year old that he befriended from a local charity. Maybe that’s one reason that Paterno stayed on at Penn State so long. He knew that he couldn’t give the reigns to the one guy who was capable and who everyone would suspect as the person to most likely get the job. I’m sure Sandusky was also a friend and calling the cops on a friend has got to be a tough decision.

Doing the right thing almost always is.

Was there pressure to cover this up? Or did Joe Paterno simply not just do enough? I can envision people coming to Paterno with the problem and him saying “OK, I’ll take it from here.” Perhaps, he did go further and have some back room meetings with athletic head honchos but all they did was ask him not to bring children to the Penn State Athletic complex. Were others pressured by Paterno or others to sweep this under the rug? We don’t know. But what was needed was simple:

Three words: Call the cops. That was what was needed to happen. But it didn’t…

And that, friends, is a sin of omission. And many are culpable.

Thankfully, the Penn State community has been outraged and vocal about this, as they should be. Sandusky has 6 adoptive children and often fostered many others. I’m hoping that we don’t hear more nightmarish stories about his home life.

The Catholic nightmare in Boston led to the hasty resignation of a prominent churchman. We can argue if that punishment is enough (I don’t think it is). Philadelphia quickly accepted their Cardinal’s resignation as well at the age of 76, one year after submitting his mandatory resignation. As things heated up with their own sexual abuse cases replacing him amid huge scandal and Philly’s failure to live up to the Dallas Charter became the obvious move for the Vatican to make.

Institutions always lean towards self-preservation. And in this case, Penn State leaned towards keeping themselves as a football powerhouse—a status that has enabled the university to make tons of money. Sandusky was responsible for creating a team known as Linebacker U. He was carried off the field in his last game, a shutout in a bowl game and was often spoken of glowingly as someone who was a great coach and one of the good guys. Dick Vermeil called him the “Will Rogers of football.” Penn State may be Penn State because of Paterno’s leadership and Sandusky’s defensive coaching—and up until recently, we thought they were above it all.

Well, I guess that was misguided, at best.

Catholics, especially, today should join their voices with those outraged at Penn State. We know what needs to happen and we’ve tried, despite the continued failings of others, to get this house in order.

Penn State should do the same.

A Jets Fan in Bills Country

So I’m a New York Jets fan. Have been one all my life and I’m a diehard which is really tough on me because I now live in the city of one of our divisional foes the Buffalo Bills.

I remember as a kid the Bills breaking my heart in a Wild Card playoff game and since then, I’ve had a hard time having any love for the Bills.

However…the good news is that the Jets come here once a year and it’s a lot easier to get tickets for football games here than it is to get them in the spanking new Jets Meadowlands (whatever they’re calling it this week) Stadium.

So I went to the game yesterday with my friend Steve Spear, husband of my colleague Patty Bubar Spear. And yes, I wore my Jets jersey.

Now that’s a story in itself. I’ve owned a number of Jets jerseys never spending too much on them but still…when you buy the Pennington jersey and he ends up leaving the club you can’t exactly wear THAT jersey anymore.

So I’ve gotten tired of buying a new jersey every three years or so and I opted to buy a nice Jets jersey with #1 on it and my name HAYES on the back. I’ll get killed for saying this, but Haze the Dog also has a jersey (Haze Hayes #1) and wears it almost every Sunday. (Believe in the power of the Doggie jersey–when I forget to put it on him the Jets almost always lose.)

So I wore my “HAYES” Jersey yesterday–which is white with the green lettering. See, I’m a nice guy. The Bills were promoting “White out the stadium” and requested that their fans wear white and they also handed out white pompoms. I respected their plan and wore a white jersey to blend in.

I also thought it might help in not getting me killed.

So there were a lot of Jet fans at the game actually. Lots of old school Joe Klecko and Freeman McNeil jerseys two former Jets stars. Darrelle Revis jerseys were everywhere and he is our star defensive back.

But it was clearly Bills country. And I was clearly in enemy territory. If this were the Crips and the Bloods I would have been in big trouble.

Now, I know where I am. I expect the usual “Hey Jets fan—your team SUCKS!” comments walking through the parking lot. I even expect the occasional food item or even beer to be thrown at me.

I know where I am. And it’s all in good fun. I’m a good sport and I’m in your house flaunting the fact that I don’t like you–or at least, I don’t want your team to beat my guys.

I made a wrong turn and ended up in the level above where my seats were. Ralph Wilson Stadium is a bit confusing. So as I walked through the cheap seats I got a lot of extended hands—“Hey, go Jets!—Uh, no I don’t think so” and the not so original “J-E-T-S SUCK SUCK SUCK” which is a parody of our “J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS” cheer.

We hear that one in our own stadium. No big deal.

But as I walked through I got hit in the head with an M&M by some moron and I thought I had been transported back to the middle school cafeteria. As I started to exit the cheap seats a Bills fan spit water from his straw into my eye.

OK that’s just disgusting. The coward ran quickly away too. Hopefully he doesn’t have the flu.

I was seated in “The Rock Pile” —endzone seats but good ones. Mid level–not nosebleeds. As I walked in (alone–my friend Steve, had misplaced his ticket and had to ride back home for a quick retrieval–and walking in alone well, THAT wasn’t intimidating at all!), I got to my seat and found a young man, Matt wearing a green jersey: “24 Revis” and I exhaled deeply. At least the guy next to me isn’t a Bills fan.

Credit to the Bills fans in this section–they had some good taunts.

“Only QUEERS wear jerseys with their own name on it!”

“Hey, who’s Hayes? Does he play for the Jets? I don’t THINK SO!”

About half time a fan tapped me on the shoulder and said smiling—“Hey, Jet fan, who’s Hayes?”

I replied, “That would be me. I got tired of buying a new jersey every 2 years!”

The questioning fan gave me a high five and a good luck. As we went to the locker room up 3-0.

When the Bills intercepted QB Mark Sanchez in the end zone the really friendly Bills fan in front of me slapped the peak of my hat down on my face and wacked it playfully four more times.

I shut up and took the taunts that whole first half. I’m not about to trash talk in enemy territory. Don’t get me wrong I openly rooted. Clapping for good Jets plays and yelling when Nick Folk, our kicker put us on the board.

I got hit with the occasional empty candy box and someone pulled on my jersey once–but in general, Bills fans were pretty good to me in section 243. We had fun and I took every taunt in stride.

Except for one loud obnoxious woman–who called us every kind of name you could think of. When she called the guy next to me a not-so-nice term for female genitalia I looked at my buddy Steve and said:

“Classy!”

The Jets mauled them in the 2nd half. Leading 27-3 before the Bills got a garbage time TD to close to 27-11. That stadium got really quiet after that. If it had been the other way around, I wonder if I would have gotten out alive.

And it always takes some hot head to ruin an afternoon. An older man wearing a Freeman McNeil jersey was seated in the front row of our section. Three younger guys started to really razz him. At one point he hollered back. “Um, nobody’s bothering you. Grow up! It’s a game!”

“Know where you are!” the younger counterparts shouted back.

“I KNOW WHERE I AM! You think you can intimidate ME?! GROW…UP!” the old man growled back. He was pretty past his prime but I think he probably could have given these guys a run for their money.


I wanted to say to the younger guys “Dudes, you’re down 27-3. Shut up! Secondly, SHUT UP! And thirdly, um…shut up!” There’s no need to start something at this stage. They were clearly being Jim Rome’s famed “Likes to fight guy.”

All in all it was a great day. We made some friends Bills and Jets fans alike. We co-existed pretty peacefully. The two Bills fans in front of us were particularly nice and the women next to us, clad in their Buffalo hats, were perfect ladies. As both groups left the ladies gave us a “Nice game and take care, guys.” The guys in front said something to the effect of “Thanks for not being a bunch of jerks. You Jets fans are OK!”

Right back at ya, Bills fans. We’ll be beating you at our place in a few weeks and I hope that our fans treat you with the same respect that you showed to me.

You’ll have to know where you are and expect the usual taunts. I hope nobody spits at you though—classless. What is this Philadelphia?

In parting, being a Jets fan in Bills country is not always easy–but yesterday, I thought it could’ve been a lot worse. You Bills fans, for the most part, are OK.

Thanks to Steve Spear for a great day and for driving and to Stubhub.com for an affordable ticket.

Dream Jobs Are Overrated

So I happened to be riveted to ESPN to follow the story of Theo Epstein’s move from the Boston Red Sox to the Chicago Cubs. Epstein, a lifelong Red Sox fan became the General Manager of the club and thus, was living his dream job.

And now he’s giving up that dream job and moving on to the Cubs because of differences with Boston management and the challenge of bringing a World Series to a second cursed team that hasn’t won the World Series in a century (literally).

Colin Cowherd on ESPN said: “Dream jobs are overrated. Make the job you’ve got a dream.”

Good advice.

I know I’ve had what I thought was a dream job a few times. I worked in all sports radio in New York City started an award winning website and wrote a book…all dream like situations and good experiences. But ultimately the novelty faded and I began to look beyond them.

Ron Rohlheiser, OMI, one of the premier theologians in the Western Hemisphere came to the Paulist 150th Anniversary conference. I was thrilled to be seated with him at breakfast. He’s a very unassuming person, down-to-earth and I enjoyed our conversation immensely. He asked me how I got into ministry and I gave him the genesis of my media work and how it led to working at BustedHalo.

Fr. Ron is a HUGE baseball fan. So when he heard I had covered the Yankees, he squealed, “YOU COVERED MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL? That would be my dream job!” Here I was envious of this great theologian and he in turn was envious of my past. I told him how it became wanting, but fun most of the time–but how I longed to be more than just a reporter.

He nodded. “I guess our dreams sometimes disappoint us?” he said.

“At least this one wasn’t a nightmare!” I replied. “Just a dream I wouldn’t want to have all that often.”

We laughed our theology mixing with our love of baseball. I regaled him with a few stories finding it hard to believe that I was talking baseball and not theology with this learned man. I’m pretty sure he loved it as he probably doesn’t get that opportunity to talk about baseball all that much. And I’m sure at times it’s a chore to talk theology with people for him.

And yet, I know that while radio wasn’t where God was ultimately calling me, it was where I learned much and used that opportunity for the best. I lived a dream. I covered the World Series and the Stanley Cup parade. More importantly, I got to meet myself a bit more and find that my dreams were deeper than I imagined. I took every opportunity and worked in the biggest media market. That’s something to be proud of and to treasure. Indeed I made it a dream and took that experience into every job since.

This week I have been able to collaborate with both the Medical School and the Athletics Department here at UB. There are strong possibilities that I might teach a course to medical students and that I might get to be a sport chaplain for one of our teams. Two more dreams that I hadn’t expected. Opportunities are all around us—even in the most dire of conditions. It is our efforts each day that bring us closer to our deepest desires–and those might end up being a lot more simple than we think. I mean who would have thought that I’d feel more at home being a confidant to athletes and students than someone who reports on their shenanigans on television or radio? The spotlight needs to be aimed where you’d like it to be—so that God might see the best version of yourself.

Each day at your job ask yourself, where might I be called to do something that makes a difference, where I can find a bit more meaning in my life.

It’s there that you’ll find God.

And that’s the only way that your job will ever be a lot more than a dream.

Good luck to Theo Epstein in Chicago. I’m a fan so I hope he can break the curse. But I also know he’ll simply take this opportunity and make his new job a dream.

Tennis Fans Go the Way of Baseball Crowds

Last year, for my 40th birthday, I took a trip with Big League Tours to four different baseball stadiums that I had not previously visited (Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Detroit and Cincinnati) . I had a blast as you can see in this picture with the Pirate Parrot and if you’re a baseball fan, I’d highly recommend Big League Tours. They’re loads of fun and the seats are fantastic and they get you ballpark tours and player experiences as well (Dave Parker met us in Cincy and was really a fun guy).

However, while I was with a bunch of nutso baseball fans, I noticed a disturbing trend all around us:

Nobody was watching the game.

It seems that the ballpark experience today is more about what’s going on besides the game. What can I get to eat, what other distractions are there and what music will they play between innings? Sometimes if the team is popular or are winning, the ballpark becomes a place to be seen as well and celebs make their way to the choice seats.

Now the leisurely pace of baseball lends itself to SOME distractions and I’ve had numerous philosophical conversations with friends and colleague over nine innings…but we at least knew what was going on down on the field. I keep a scorecard because I’m a baseball geek and don’t expect others to, but some people can’t tell me if there’s two outs or one. True baseball fans realize that at the game every nuance means something–and what I think makes baseball so exciting and nerve wracking. Baseball isn’t about what’s happening so much as what MIGHT happen and what a manager MIGHT do. I could speculate all day long about pitching and catching and where the infielders are playing and why the outfield isn’t shifted to left against A-Rod. In my opinion, the game’s the thing and the distractions are a bonus that I don’t particularly need but many people come to the game for them.

Guess what? Tennis isn’t far behind. A recent article in the New York Times tells the story:

Mixed doubles was front and center at Arthur Ashe Stadium one afternoon last week. Not on the court, where a United States Open women’s singles match was being played, but in a midlevel suite where two men and two women, drinks in hand and backs to the court, carried on as if they were at a cocktail mixer.

On one point, their peals of laughter caused the server to catch her toss and the chair umpire to call for silence. The suite holders were so oblivious, they did not know the scolding was directed at them. The match ended, and they kept talking.

Afterward, the winner, Victoria Azarenka, whose high-decibel grunts were not the main distraction for a change, said, “As a player, we would all like to have a bit of respect and quietness.”

More than any of the other tennis Grand Slam events, the United States Open is where elite sport and high society intersect. Its premier show court, 23,771-seat Arthur Ashe Stadium, has 90 suites that are leased for $250,000 for the fortnight, ensuring that any match will have dilettantes mixing with die-hard fans.

I think this says a lot about the attention span of the modern person, perhaps even the younger set.

Researchers tell us it’s the equivalent of a hummingbird.

So here’s a challenge for all of us, sports fans or not. What can we give our full attention to without all of the distractions? Can we spend a full minute in silence without going crazy or even doing anything once an hour? Could we journal for hours? Be focused on one task instead of defaulting to multi-tasking six things at once?

Can we even spend an hour at a peaceful mass without all the hoopla that sometimes breaks our prayer?

My students tell me that they need that peace. That they are surrounded by noise and distractions all the time. Church, for them, is an hour of peace and quiet without the need for high energy vibrance that surrounds them all day long. They look forward to our 8PM mass and when we pause for just a moment of silence to start mass and re-focus ourselves on our relationship with God and others and what’s truly life-giving.

While sports sometimes imitates life, I think in this case, perhaps some sports fans need a quiet mass. And maybe then, they’ll realize that the distractions are in the way of something truly beautiful.

A great game.

In Tennis, Vocations Counts

The New York Times has a story today about the priest-vocations director of the Madison who is officiating a whole other type of “service.”

He’s watching for foot faults and long shots and net balls as an umpire for the U.S. Open.

John McEnroe types may be red-faced to find out that their ump is a Catholic priest, but Fr. Paul Arizé takes it all in stride:

“Sometimes, I’m tempted to say, ‘You know, you have a Catholic priest sitting here,’ ” Arinze said, reclining on a bench during a break Wednesday. “But it’s O.K. Being a priest, you’re trained to forgive.”

Fr. Paul is from Eastern Nigeria who watched a tennis playing father and got to swing a racket after the adults were done. He started umpiring after watching tennis at the University of Wisconsin and befriending an umpire who got him to sit in the chair eventually.

He’s been told that he puts people at ease, which makes him a great candidate for the vocations director position with Madison. It’s also a great trait for an official to have. Someone who can simply make a call, even a close one and those playing know he has no axe to grind with them. I remember the worst umpires and officials were always the ones who thought they had you all figured out. When I played high school baseball, one umpire never gave me the benefit of the doubt because he assumed things about my play based on my looks (awkward and lanky–he can’t possibly be a good player!). Any close play was a call against me. Some of the stars on our team would get the benefit of every call based on reputation. I can see a vocations director who has to get to know people well and be so honest with them in helping them discern if they are right for the priesthood and religious community he serves would make a superior official. Everyone has a fair shake. Make the right plays and the rest should take care of itself.

The Times has the last word today:

His day job, at its core, is about recruiting for the priesthood. Tennis, and the attention he has gained from it, helps him. He can talk about his hobby, too, to show how becoming a priest does not mean one must give up everything.

Tennis officials have asked Arinze to consider pursuing the game full time. “No thank you,” he always responds, “I love my job.”

Arinze, in fact, is comfortable right where he is, at the intersection of faith and forehands, sometimes a priest, sometimes an umpire, but always officiating.

This 61 Has No *

In this age of sports where baseball’s home run record is now seriously debatable, I’ve come to appreciate the efforts of Yankee Roger Maris’ 61 Home Runs in 1961. It was a then record total for a single season but the commissioner of baseball placed an asterisk next to the record because Maris reached the mark in 162 games while the former record holder Babe Ruth had hit 60 in a 154 game schedule. Today Maris’ record has been surpassed by men who clearly were on performance enhancing drugs leaving all of us to question the integrity of the record which I still maintain belongs to Maris.

Baseball aside, longevity is something we honor as a society, perhaps not often enough or perhaps because it is so rare. Nobody works for 30 years and a gold watch anymore. At WOR a man in the traffic department had worked for the station for I believe 47 years, longer than most employees had even been alive.

So I’m particularly honored to talk about a 61 that has no asterisk today. My parents were married in 1950,61 years ago. They are in their early 80s and have lived a challenging life together. My mom has been sick most of my life, going in and out of hospitals and my dad has been more than a faithful companion for her. He’s been a committed partner for better or for worse, in sickness and health, living those vows for more than 60 years now.

My parents never travelled very far (“Who would want to do all that?” My mother would say!) and they worked hard to get me to college, something they never were able to do (both didn’t graduate high school). As children of the depression (especially my mom) they learned to save money and stretch a dollar, living simply and still finding the random $5 to give to charity now and again. If you were a good cause you always got something.

I was a gift for their 20th anniversary a bit early in February of 1970. They didn’t need to have another child after having a daughter 16 years earlier and miscarrying two children after that. But I came along at the right time for them. A late in life surprise when they had hoped for so long.

So today their son is grateful for these two, who started a family from such humble beginnings and gave so much to so many. From Waterford, Ireland where my father was born and raised to my mother’s hometown of Yonkers where we’ll celebrate today with a simple lunch…

There will be much rejoicing and not a question about their love for one another. Not many people stay married anymore, dispensing with vows when things get hard. Sometimes that’s avoidable and sometimes things need to be dissolved for horrendous abuses of those same vows.

But for my parents, It’s 61 for them…and nobody would think about putting an asterisk next to this marriage.

Congratulations to the happily married couple..still.

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Throwback Twitter

So my colleague Pete Rogers (Regis University in Denver) and I were musing about what if Twitter were around 20-30 years ago and who would use it most effectively. Two sports stars that came to mind quickly were Muhammad Ali and Reggie Jackson:

Muhammad Ali: “I float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. George can’t hit what his hands can’t see.”

How many followers would Ali have? I think a generous estimate would be 30 million. Probably more like 50.

Reggie Jackson: I’m the straw that stirs the drink.

Half an hour later: “Munson tries to stir it but he can only stir it bad.”

Half an hour later: Sport Magazine: RT: Reggie44: Munson tries to stir it but he can only stir it bad.

Imagine what kind of tweets and how many followers these folks would have had if they had had twitter. Some names friends and I came up with recently.

Howard Cosell
Monica Lewinsky
JFK
Mae West
Fulton Sheen
Thomas Jefferson
Adolf Hitler (!)
Plato

And of course, Jesus.

Who else could have used twitter well? I may start a once a week throwback tweet on here each week so send me some ideas.