One guy's thoughts on life, love, faith and his world

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Bob and The Boss

In my opinion, to be a true New York Yankees fan means more than just liking the game of baseball or just following the team. To be a true Yankees fan means you are a history student and your teachers are not professors from a university, but the generation before you. And your teachers were taught by the generation before them. My father was my teacher and his father his. Hopefully, I can teach my children this history as they continue to grow.

And in this history lesson as a Yankees fan, you learn about personalities and players, heroes and legends. This week, the Yankees and their fans lost not one, but two legends of the Bronx.

"Ladies and gentleman, your attention please. Welcome to Yankee Stadium." - Bob Sheppard

Two sentences, ten words. Ten simple words so eloquently said so many times by Bob Sheppard. No matter where you might be at the ballpark or what you were doing, when those words were uttered a chill went up your spine.

Bob Sheppard transcended what a public address announcer is and did so by exhibiting class and dignity throughout his distinguished career. He became successful the old-fashioned way, through attention to detail and a desire to be excellent.

The voice lives on, not only every time Derek Jeter is introduced to hit (through a recording of Sheppard's introduction), but it lives on in countless classrooms throughout Yankee Nation with teachers from one generation imitating (although never duplicating) introductions of Mantle and Maris to students from the next generation.

And the voice will continue to live on as teachers from one generation imitating (although never duplicating) introductions of Jeter and O'Neill to students from the next generation.

Just like Sheppard transcended the PA announcer position, George Steinbrenner was a larger than life character that transcended what ownership meant.

Hell, he almost transcended the city of New York.

Former MLB Commissioner Fay Vincent summed it up best when he said Steinbrenner was complicated. If there were a word that properly hyperbolized complicated, that's the word I would use to describe what Steinbrenner was.

However, much like Sheppard, albeit in a different way, The Boss demanded excellence and he turned around what was, at the time, a much maligned organization and returned it to excellence. There's something to be said about that.

And there is something to be said about how he threw his money around, and I'm not talking about free agents. Steinbrenner gave millions of dollars to a variety of causes, but most times would never attach his name to the donation giving back to the community quietly and anonymously.

Recently, when talking to a friend about the passing of these two legends, he said:

"Wow, Shep and now The Boss. I think they will fill mystique and aura's shoes in the new house quite well and I believe their work has only just begun."

I think the only way that could have been said better is if Bob Sheppard himself said it with The Boss listening from his owner's box.

And There's No Bonz About That.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Coming Full Circle

There are a lot of different cliches about circles. "What goes around comes around", "The circle has no beginning and no end", "The circle of life", and "That guy has a good circle of friends."

Well, a very good friend of mine once told me that chronological order was overrated and I can tell you from experience that I'm blessed because he was right, all of those cliches above are true and my family has come full circle recently.

I write a lot about sports. In fact, I would go as far as saying both writing and sports are a passion of mine. However, I've always been convinced that the most important things in life don't focus on fame and fortune, one's status in life, sports or a career. We can all take time to put a focus on those things or even be passionate about them. But I truly feel that those things should not be THE focus in our lives.

The real bread and butter in our lives are our relationships. The relationships with our loved ones and that doesn't just mean immediate family. After this past weekend, the love for my relationships really has "Come Full Circle". Not only with my family but with relatives, friends and all those that I am close to.

We are all looking for the "key" to life. And, just like Curly, the character Jack Palance played in the movie City Slickers, the "one" thing in life is this, (imagine Curly holding up his index finger at this point). Although each of us have to figure a few things out, the real answer is right in front of us.

Variations are unique for each person, and just like Curly said, if we stick to it, "everything else don't mean shit". But the heart of that one thing boils down to two things in reality - love and relationships. Without question, the love and relationships that one has it what makes each of us who we are.

My "Coming Full Circle" moment happened just recently and my "Coming Full Circle" is my relationships and, most importantly, love. Love of relatives, family and friends. It's never been more evident until the weekend of July 2, 2010.

I try to write objectively with some of my own opinion at times, but I have to say, this is pretty subjective. Maybe you agree, maybe you disagree, but I can tell you that after what I experienced this weekend, there is no better way to Come Full Circle than experiencing the Circle of Love.

And There's No Bonz About That!