Heroes Of The Week

The only superhero movies still coming out in 2020

With another round of shut downs set to take place across the country, my compound in Montana is looking more enticing every day. I’ll need to come up with a name for our cult, so if y’all have any ideas, please send them my way. In the meanwhile, Imma dish up another episode of the better and the worse that tucked itself into the news cycle.

So let’s get to it . . .

A Florida man just paid off the past dues for 114 families at risk of having their utilities shut off - CNN

Michael Esmond is the owner and operator of Gulf Breeze Pools and Spas in Pensacola, Florida, and while business has been good, he knows how fortunate he is. This meanest of seasons has not been nearly so kind to many of his friends and neighbors. So Esmond took his good fortune and he paid the past due utility bills- totaling more than $7,600- for 114 families who were about to be disconnected.

The 74 year old experienced his share of trying times in the past, and so he felt it was only right to give what he could in order to help others see their way through.

“I have been down on my luck like people are today, where I had trouble paying bills and raising three daughters,” he said. “The gas company shut the gas off and we didn’t have any heat . . . People can’t afford to pay their bills and put food on the table, so I hope doing my part and paying some bills for these folks takes a little bit of stress off of them around Christmas time,” he said.

In dark times, it’s people like Desmond who shine brightest of all.

Kyrie Irving and Nets Fined $25K! 2020-21 NBA Season - YouTube

Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving says he will make himself available to the press when he damn well feels like it and not a moment before. Seeing as how this is the same dude who insisted the world was flat and LeBron James is simply an okay player, I think he’s doing everyone a great service by not sharing his scary genius. Seriously, if you’re giving a penny for Irving’s thoughts, you’ve drastically overpaid.

Dairy Queen customer in Minnesota sparks 2-day 'pay it forward' chain - ABC13 Houston

If you’re a fan of Fargo, like me (and Joe Pesci), then Brainerd, Minnesota already holds a special place. The city the Coen Brothers once described as “Siberia, with family restaurants,” is back in the news again . . for all the right reasons. It seems the peeps of this county seat have taken the idea of paying it forward to new heights.

What began as a simple act of kindness has warmed the heart of this small town to such a degree, that Jack Frost took a weekend trip to Miami Beach until things cooled down again. I’ll let Dairy Queen manager Tina Jensen provide the what for this what?

So (a customer) pulled up and I said ‘just to let you know the gentleman in front of you paid for your order. If you like, I can pay it forward and you can pay for the order behind you and we can keep this going.’ She’s like ‘really, why would he do that?’ I said ‘we just have it every once in a while where someone will take care of the person behind them and today is your lucky day.’

The customer was duly inspired to pay for the order behind her. And then so forth became so on. And on, and on . . . until the pay it forward chain was finally broken three days, nine hundred vehicles and ten thousand dollars in sales later. Jensen says it’s not the first time her DQ has gotten all caught up in such a beautiful chain as this, and it’s not likely to be the last.

Which means Jack Frost best be taking a week in Aruba the next time.

Coach O recaps National Signing Day for LSU Tigers

It feels like I just got done ranting about the low down dirty shame of a college football program LSU has proven to be when this week happened. And with it, a hot new pile of forgettable to sink the former darlings of the sport.

The university announced it was imposing a one year bowl ban on its football team due to violations which included former Tiger Odell Beckham Jr handing out cash on the sidelines after his Alma mater beat Clemson for the national title in January. The other charges include school boosters doing the same as OBJ, albeit not quite so prominently.

Did LSU suddenly find religion? Not hardly. See, when a football factory like LSU penalizes itself, this means the violations we know about are a cupcake sale compared with the shit we do not know. But seeing as how none of the violations pertain to the multiple rapes committed by members of the football team, any right minded individual should be outraged. Too bad the school, and the NCAA for that matter, don’t much care for the safety and well being of women.

And to add further injurious insult to this bread and circuses program, with the team’s record currently at 3-5, they would have been lucky to score an invite to the Marshmallow Fluff Bowl. And any revenue they might lose because of the ban? Some booster not under investigation is sure to write that check.

And the beat goes on.

Elementary School Teacher Donates Kidney To Her School's Custodian | FaithPot

I’m not going to lie. The Christmas spirit that’s supposed to be running through my veins right about now, well . . it hasn’t shown up just yet. And I know I ain’t alone in this respect, not by a longshot. Which means that Erin Durga is right on time in this, the season of giving, with a story that would take Santa’s breath away.

Things were looking bleak for Patrick Mertens inside a year that has already proven unforgiving for so many. But the sixty four year old custodian at Kimball Elementary School in Minnesota was facing a much different health crisis. Mertens was in need of a kidney, and he was running out of time.

The teachers at Kimball had pitched in with fundraisers to help pay for his dialysis treatments, but mortality was busy rapping knuckle at his door until Erin Durga- a third-grade teacher at Kimball- made certain that 2020 wasn’t going to claim someone else. Once tests confirmed that she was a match, she drove to Mertens home to deliver the news that she would be his donor.

“I felt in my heart, from the very beginning, that this was my thing,” Durga said. “Once I decided that, yes, I’m going to donate to Pat, I felt really good about it, and I was at peace with it throughout the entire thing.”

The operation was a success and both Mertens and Durga were able to return to work in August. He calls her his angel, for being the messenger who delivered him the best gift, like . . ever.

Turns out maybe I don’t need the Christmas spirit after all. Maybe the human spirit will do just fine.

 

Heroes Of The Week! (The Dynamic Duo Edition)

reddit: the front page of the internet | Batman illustration, Robin comics, Batman robin

For this week’s episode, I’ve invited Frank “Beach Walks” Angle to ride shotgun with me as we deliver up a roster of righteousness. We’re still trying to figure out who’s Batman and who’s Robin (I’m Batman), but in the meantime, let’s just say we have a sweet supply of feel good coming at ya. And of course, seeing as how Cincy is sooooo glass half full (must be all those refreshing walks of his), Imma be peach positive in all my entries. This duo rocks!

Now to our heroes . . .

My Project: Goldie Hawn and The Hawn Foundation - NBC News

Goldie Hawn is proving once again that beauty is so much more than skin deep.

For the last sixteen years, Hawn’s MINDUP Program has been helping students deal with anxiety, stress, anger and depression. Schools that have instituted her mindfulness program have seen a dramatic improvement in the mental health of their students and the numbers ain’t lying: 86% percent of users say the program has helped them achieve more positive outcomes while 83% say it has led to an improvement in their social skills.

And now Hawn has introduced a way for these children to cope with the isolation and uncertainty that has come with a global pandemic. She’s partnered up with Insight Timer- a meditation app- to offer five minute exercises called “brain breaks” that help the kids maintain focus while alleviating their stress levels.

“During this time of uncertainty, children are affected negatively emotionally and are facing symptoms of stress and anxiety,” says Hawn, the 74-year-old founder of MindUP. “Our program helps address these issues by creating mental fitness and emotional stability.”

For one thing, the girl is making seventy four the new Wow! But more important to her, and to the world around her, is the positive difference she is making every day. In a world of superficial, there do in fact exist superheroes.

Remember back in the early days of this pandemic when people were singing in their windows and baking breads and learning to sew again for the very first time? Well, Scott McKenzie and Jeremy Uhrich- both of whom hail from Huntingdon, Pa.- baked cookies from scratch. This coping mechanism led to a bake-off when Ulrich read McKenzie’s post on Facebook.

The two men invited local front line workers to be the judges as a thank you for all their hard work and dedication.

Well, the event was such a success that the two decided to start up a Facebook page called “Cookies for Caregivers”. The group currently has 299 members the group and has delivered more than 15,000 cookies and cakes to hospital staff, grocery stores and fire departments. Uhrich’s father even got to baking creating his own group in Hershey, Pa.

“There aren’t enough people to thank,” McKenzie said. “Kindness doesn’t have an expiration date.”

So the next time someone pulls out the old standard about how the cookie crumbles? Remind that as to why this isn’t necessarily a bad thing after all.

A New Jersey restaurant with a coronavirus scare stayed open because of the generosity of a neighboring barbershop - CNN

Not everyone likes to play by the rules of this pandemic, so it’s important to note that places such as the Würstbar eatery in Jersey City, New Jersey abide. Even when faced with the daunting prospect of having to close its doors for good, these guys still did the right thing when one of their workers was exposed to the virus recently. They shut down, together. The health and safety of their staff was more important to these owners than money. Imagine that? Giving a damn about people more than your bottom line.

But no good deed goes unnoticed and so when the workers at Virile Barber Shop got word of the restaurant’s plight, they decided to step in and keep the lights on.

“The weather is too nice out to let our neighbors at Würstbar stay closed!” Virile Barber Shop owner Andre Fersa posted. “I’ve taken over the bar and am selling PRETZELS, beer, wine and cider for outdoor seating only. Come on by and support this great staff.”

No whining about medical conditions or how their rights had been violated. Just human beings making the very best of a bad situation in these trying times.

That’s how you define humanity.

And now Imma kick it over to Cincy, who is going to send y’all into the weekend with a selection of stories that will fill your tank with inspiration. Take it away Frank.

Thanks, Marco for the opportunity to co-anchor this edition of Heroes. I’m starting with a young kid in Gaithersburg, Maryland – Cavanaugh Bell – a second grader that gives humanity hope. He started Operation Magic because he thinks big. So big, I wonder what is next. So big, he makes me feel small.

Last week you featured a Cincinnati story about a man adopting not one, but five kids. This week we are crossing the Ohio River to the Kentucky side. Campbell County is where we find Tricia Verst, a high school freshman with a rare chromosomal disorder. She wanted to run cross country. Unsure how to motivate Tricia, coach Toni McKee got an idea, and that’s when senior Sydney McKinney stepped up. Well, here’s the story.

Image property of WXIX television Cincinnati, Ohio

This one is my no-brainer for the week. This story is about 140.6 miles: swimming 2.4 miles, biking riding 112 miles, and running 26.2 miles … yes, one after another. I have volunteered to dance with those with Down Syndrome. One of the reasons it is so rewarding is that many DS people are so positive and appreciative. This story is about Chris Nikic of Maitland, Florida, but a tip of the cap to Dan Grieb, who was with Chris the entire 140.6 miles.

Yes, to my surprise, I’m leading you out with Britney Spears – well – no really – but a cover of one of her songs.

 

Heroes Of The Week!

All due respect to the voters but I think my guy got screwed. Lemme ‘splain.

Imma have to awaken the echoes of 1960 by laying most of the blame on Chicago for having perpetrated this somebody done somebody wrong song. Because I’m sorry, but when a true blue Yankee gets jobbed by a South Sider for the American League MVP? It’s an inside job, brought to bear by Chicago scribes who have to endure another long winter watching the Bears emolliate while the Bulls get eliminated from postseason play after the season opener. Congratulations to the White Sox Jose Abreu . . but my guy, DJ LeMahieu from Bronx strong was the most valuable player in 2020.

What? You thought I was talking about something else?

And now to our heroes . . .

Jeopardy! Host Alex Trebek Death Mourned By Fans, Contestants – Deadline

A sad farewell to Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek, who passed away last Sunday at the age of eighty. I refuse to say he lost his battle with pancreatic cancer because that’s just not true. He fought and he battled and he continued to do his thing through all the treatments and all those long days when his body was telling him to quit. He never did. And while many of us know him best for his masterful stewardship of the classic game show, his life was about so much more than this.

He was a philanthropist and activist whose footprints speak of compassion, dedication and hope. His donations to the University of Ottawa totaled more than 7.5 million dollars; the monies of which help to fund programs in diversity while also allowing the school to bring in speakers from all over the world. This past March, he donated $100,000 to Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission- a homeless shelter in Los Angeles.

When the question is posed, whose life’s work left a positive impact on so many? The answer is, who is Alex Trebek.

Arkansas Police Chief Resigns After Calling for Democrats to Be Executed - The New York Times

Marshall Police Chief Lang Holland out of Arkansas is a real keeper. As in, you can keep him . . please.

Holland makes it just under the wire as a leading candidate for the Asshat of 2020 award (and really, we got quite a list going on). It seems that Lang ain’t down with the election results and he voiced his hateful opinion about it recently. He called for the “death to all Marxist Democrats!” whilst saying the likes of Hilary, Obama and Pelosi should be drawn and quartered. For our Republic . . of course.

Holland was fired from his post, but it’s only a matter of time before he’s got a viral podcast going.

NBA's Trae Young Buys Lunch for Atlanta Election Workers, 'Thanks for All You Do'

The Atlanta Hawks young point guard Trae Young has game, on and off the court. On Election Day, Young bought lunch for all the poll workers at State Farm Arena in Atlanta. His home court served as a polling place and the kid wanted to make sure the folks putting in the long hours in the name of democracy were taken care of. Thanks to his great good work in establishing the voting rights advocacy group More Than A Vote along with LeBron James and Phoenix Mercury point guard Skylar Diggins-Smith, more than 10,000 poll workers were recruited for the 2020 election.

Young is putting the A plus in the ATL. Go Hawks!

Haylee Whiting, 10, and her mom, Samantha Whiting, have raised nearly $50,000 to give their...

10 year old Haylee Whiting is lucky to be alive. And the harrowing story she will tell her kids one day will begin with the name of Kevin Cozzi.

The Whiting family was busy enjoying their last vacation day in Monterey, California as Haylee swam along the shoreline. Her mother says she had just finished telling her daughter to come in closer when a riptide swallowed her up and began taking her the wrong way. And in those horrible slow motion moments, a family’s joy turned to panic. And that’s where Cozzi made sure the day wouldn’t end in tragedy. He and his fiancé were strolling along the beach when they heard Samantha Whiting’s cries for help.

A competitive swimmer since the age of three, Cozzi jumped into the water and pulled Haylee close to shore until a lifeguard could get to her and bring her the rest of the way in.

Family raises nearly $50,000 for good Samaritan who saved daughter from rip tide

As it turns out, Kevin and his fiancée had postponed their wedding due to (you guessed it) the pandemic. And so mother and daughter knew what they had to do. They got to stepping on Facebook and then they set up a GoFundMe page for the couple raising almost $50,000 to cover the cost of both a wedding reception and honeymoon.

A new wedding date was set for the fall of 2021, and a grateful family has already marked their calendar.

This Gay Foster Dad Adopted 5 Siblings To Keep Them Together

“Home isn’t where you’re from, it’s where you find light when all grows dark.”

-Pierce Brown

As we unwrap our brains over this month’s events, it’s easy to forget how life is expert at stealing away the most important things. More important than brands, reputations, ratings or elections. Those are minute details in the grand scheme of this place we call home. Robert Carter knows this firsthand. He’s one of nine children who was separated from his family and placed in a foster home when he was twelve years old.

“I didn’t eat for a week,” Carter says. “I didn’t know where my family was. I didn’t know if I would ever see them again. It was traumatizing.”

He didn’t have the traditional family life, with a mother and father and Sunday dinners and pancake breakfasts. When he was ten years old, he was stealing food for his siblings because he says “that was the only way we’d eat,”. So his being placed in a foster home was simply the next chapter in a life that was collapsing all around him.

Last December, Carter became a foster parent to three boys. Soon after, he reunited them with their two sisters. “Everybody was just crying and hugging and not wanting to let go,” Carter recalled. “In that moment, I knew I had to adopt all five.”

In the early going, he says the kids would huddle together at night for fear they would be ripped away from each other again. But in time, they got used to sleeping in their own beds. And yes, they came to understand Sunday dinners and pancake breakfasts. Five kids . . . really, six if you include the twenty nine year old who gets to experience these things for the first time as well.

On October 30th, a family was born in an Ohio courthouse. It was built on the hard wrought experiences of a man who never forgot where he came from and five shining little lights that remind him of a time when the future was not so bright. So needless to say, there was a ton of whooping and hollering going on when this party of five was declared his, for good and forever. And a courtroom became the center of their universe, their one great big hug of everything.

And Robert Carter, he’s taken to this whole Dad thing like a pro because as all that love was going on, he needed to find himself a quiet spot so he could think about how it all came together. From there to here. He made way for the courthouse bathroom, each step delivering him from that scared twelve year old boy to this big hearted man who got busy making a house a home.

He closed the door behind him, and in the quiet, he cried.

 

 

Heroes Of The Week! (Post-ish Election Edition)

The Place of Abraham Lincoln in History - The Atlantic

Is it over?

Can I come out now? Is it safe?

I don’t know . . I’m not trusting this, as much as I want to trust it. Not yet. I keep thinking Pennywise is gonna jump out and yell “Psyche!”, after which he hands me a red hat that I must wear in order to step outside. And so, Imma get right to the business at hand today. No pontificating, no postulating and no more chasing waterfalls. I will take a hot second to say muchas gracias to Cincy for filling in last week and coming up stellar . . as per.

Now to our heroes . .  and today? they’re all heroes . . 

Quick shout out to Washington football coach Ron Rivera, who recently completed his last round of cancer treatments. And this video is provided in order to show you that what the peeps at Inova Schar Cancer Institute do, isn’t a job to them., They gave Rivera a beautiful sendoff, honoring one of the good guys in such a special way. Stay well coach.

ImageJon Lester is a freshly minted free agent, formerly the lynchpin southpaw for title teams in Boston and Chicago. And I always disliked him very much for wearing the wrong laundry, but hey . . it’s all about respect. And after his latest stunt, I am pushing for his automatic entry into the Hall of Fame. It seems Lester bought $31,000 worth of beer at four different Chicago bars as a thank you to Cubs fans for all their support over the years. He added a cool $16,000 in tips for the staff members as well. Unless he signs with Tampa, I’ll actually root for him next season.

Coronavirus New York City: Strand Bookstore closed, lays off most of staff after coronavirus crisis cripples business - ABC7 New York

Like so many businesses across the country, and the world, the Strand bookstore in New York City has been hanging on for dear life since the pandemic took hold this past winter. With revenue down more than seventy percent, things looked bleak for this book lover’s paradise. The New York institution has been around since the Murderers Row New York Yankees swept Pittsburgh in the 1927 World Series, but inside the meanest of seasons, this really did feel like the end of the line. And so when owner Nancy Bass Wyden went on social media to let its customers know how dire the straits were . . they had her back. Last Saturday, the flagship store enjoyed its best October sales day, ever. And yes there is still a long way to go before we get to that light at the end of this long, dark tunnel. But as the Babe would most certainly agree, history is achieved one win at a time.

Just because we understand our politics to be dirtier than an FDR martini doesn’t mean it has to be that way. Spencer Cox and Chris Peterson are ditching the spectacle that has become professional wrestling in sharp suits. The two gubernatorial candidates out of Utah actually brought civility into the arena in their race. The audacity!

For this last jig, Imma go back to Tuesday for a hot moment and mention what happened on that historic day. Sort of.

November 3rd set records for voter turnout, and in one fell swoop we came to understand that no one person will ever be able to boss around this place. And hey, I’m not willing to go back down any of the roads we just came from by going point for point on the particulars. I just want this day and tomorrow, and the next day to feel differently. I want hope back. I want less divisiveness. And maybe that’s a fool’s wish, and I really don’t care, because I know for a fact there are plenty of people out there who believe in this fool’s wish. And what’s more, they are doing something about it.

Take Pizza to the Polls for instance. The non-profit was a forward march of volunteers with a mission; to deliver grub to voters who were standing in long lines to do their civic duty. Don’t let the name fool you. These peeps delivered everything from burgers to empanadas, sandwiches to donuts and cookies. More than a million times over to more than 3,200 polling sites in the lower forty eight.

“Food can be a major mood-shifter for people who have been waiting for hours to vote or who have been volunteering to ensure the process runs smoothly,” Says Pizza co-founder Scott Duncombe. “We’ve seen people get really excited about our deliveries—and some have even told us that it was the boost they needed to stay in line.”

Where do we go from here? Hell if I know. But we do have to keep on moving from here, so let’s make the here a better place to journey from. Let’s try and do a better job of respecting our differences . Let’s make America graceful again.

Oh come on, I had to.

 

 

Heroes Of The Week!

How To Make A Vesper Martini Fit For James Bond | Londonist

My first order of business this week is to let y’all know I will be away from my WP desk for the next week and change. In the meantime, Imma have a couple posts scheduled. So I had an idea- which I realize is akin to Esther Greenwood being stuck in a phone booth, but suffer me this Bell Jar moment, por favor. You don’t have to leave a comment unless you really, really want to. You can like, you can post a music video telling me how much you miss me, or you can just read it. Whatever YOU wish to do with it, that’s beauty to my senses. And thank you, for any and all of it. Always.

And now the roster . . .

Mookie Betts Dodgers Contract Extension Value Taxes – Sportico.com

He hits for average, he hits for power . . he steals bases . . he makes gold glove plays on the regular. And he wins, much. The dude became the first player to walk and steal two bases in the same inning of a World Series game since Babe Ruth did it, ninety nine years ago. But the magnificence of Mookie is landing here today for what he did for America, yes America! By stealing a base in the World Series, Mookie done won America a free taco on October 28th. And okay, it’s not really a taco since it’s being served up by Taco Bell, but hey . . free still counts! So I just have one question. Is it too late to get Mookie on the ballot?

Jeffrey Toobin suspended from New Yorker, on leave from CNN, after he exposed himself on Zoom call - CNN

It was reported this week that Jeffrey Toobin has been suspended from his gigs on CNN and the New Yorker after he was caught masturbating during a Zoom meeting with staffers. And it seems that Father Superior, the guy who rails on about the peccadilloes of politicians, has a pantry full of them in his own right. And it’s people like Toobin who make it so easy to point to the other side of the aisle and proclaim how full of shit they are. But this goes far beyond politics. This is about a guy who’s gotten away with a closet full of shit for too long a time. In an age where the bad guys are getting found out right and left, Toobin seemingly wore Teflon, until he took matters into his own hand.

El Arroyo in Austin, Texas has taken to panning the pandemic. And really, good for them . . and us. And I wonder if they take requests? Imma call ’em.

bucket-of-balls-tease-material-fd-frame-7580-1.jpg

So thank goodness for Frank “Beach Walks” Angle for bringing the heater in the very best of ways with this next story. It’s proof that every new ending is just a beginning to something else, and it reads as if Kinsella and Capra and Chapin got together on Cloud Nine and came up with the script.

Brian and Carter Robinson were keeping to the father and son tradition of hitting some baseballs at the cages when Dad came across a bucket of baseballs with a note attached, which read as follows.

“Hope someone can use some of these baseballs. I pitched them to my son and grandson for countless rounds.”

The writer’s name is Randy Long, and the sentiment was a bittersweet one. Long was thinking his life had gone Chapin on him, what with his brood having moved to different parts of the map with clans of their own now. So his donation of the baseballs was meant to pass the torch to a young family that was still busy writing their days of Kinsella. But that’s where Capra came in to steal the show.

Because the Robinsons got hold of Randy Long and then one thing led to another and young Carter was asking him if he might want to take in one of his little league games. And that’s when this grandfather learned that young Carter had lost both his grandfathers at a very young age and if you ain’t tearing up by now, okay, you asked for it.

The two of them ended up having a catch together. The end of one chapter in their lives giving way to the one they never saw coming.

And Cloud Nine, damn. Those guys still have it.

And now for a musical interlude, because I can’t get me enough Rush. And this isolation play on Geddy Lee’s tug of the maddening strings gets me high whilst completely sober. What’s not to love?

Seriously . . I listened to that on a loop whilst on my stationary bike, one day after being laid up in bed for ten hours. Music as medicine . . . .

Six California firefighters lost their homes while battling the flames. Days later, a CNN Hero provided RVs for them to shelter them - CNN

The fires ravaging Northern California have added yet another layer of “What next?” to this bitter cake of a year. So it’s good to know there are people like Woody Faircloth who get busy every day thinking up new and better recipes for their fellow humans.

Faircloth is a 2019 CNN Hero recipient, and here’s why he got noticed in the first place. Because when he heard about a group of volunteer firefighters who lost their homes recently- and continued battling the fires anyway- he got to fixing up a recipe for them inside theses worst of times. He did so in the form of delivering RV’s to the displaced heroes through his non-profit RV4CampfireFamily.

With all that got lost in the fire, Faircloth and his family are making sure hope remains.

This 5-year-old wrote a book to help kids battle the stress of the coronavirus pandemic

This has been the year of living dangerously, replete with prospects that frighten even the bravest souls among us. And so you have to imagine what it’s done to the little minds whose bravery isn’t talked about enough if you ask me.

Take Wade Williams as an example. He’s five years old and currently attending pre-school and he’s not crazy about the state of this great big world. So he decided he wanted to create a nightlight for other kids who are going through the same thing and he wrote a book.

“It all started by him saying ‘Dad I really want to help. I really want to help people,” said Williams’ father Joshua Williams.

And just like that, Wade was punching the keys and sharing his mighty so that it may shine a light on anyone who feels as if the darkness is too much. And Seneca the younger would be shimmying in his stoic sandals at the brighter than expected profits of a human race that births souls such as Wade Williams. Because it shows us that compassion is not a paradise lost, unless we make it so. And sometimes from the mouths of babes comes our truest reality.

 

Heroes Of The Week!

Disney theme-park fans request 'Black Panther' attractions - Insider

As we venture into the fourth quarter of this meanest of years, I’ve got a few stories that speak to the not so random acts of kindness that offer us some much needed light inside the storm. And okay, so I tucked a minus into things. But rest assured, it was strictly for contrast. Because I’ve come to know and respect the science of these weekly episodes.

It’s not about unmasking the truth, it’s about respecting it.

McDonald's worker pays for family's meal when mom forgets wallet; mom raises over $35K for him in return

I’m a fool for cool when it comes to names, and so Wyatt Jones was rocking it with yours truly even before I read about his good deed gone viral in Waynesville, Ohio. Jones is a McDonald’s crew member who puts the above and beyond in his customer service. Just ask Brittany Reed, a mother of three who rolled up to the drive-thru window where Jones was working sans her wallet. The frazzled mama explained to Jones that she would have to cancel her order, but Jones was having none of it. He grabbed his own wallet and paid for the order himself.

Reed returned later on to repay Jones, who didn’t want to take her money . . of course. Because to him, the positive difference he was making in somebody’s day was payment enough. And sometimes that is that, and sometimes, well . . sometimes that good deed gets noticed in a big way. Reed shared her story on Facebook, after which she started a GoFundMe page for Jones, which has raised more than $27,000 to date.

“I never dreamed my post would go viral from our little village community page. I was truly just trying to reach his parent and let our community know what a kind hearted young man we had working at our local McDonalds,” Reed says. “I can’t believe people have donated this much money to Wyatt.”

As far as this story is concerned, I’m loving it.

My Hero Quote Of The Week! 

“It’s a struggle. It’s a battle. And I just don’t represent me. I represent all those folks that are afflicted [with cancer], all those people that fight, all those people that have fought.”

-Washington Football Team Head Coach Ron Rivera, who is still coaching while also taking treatments for squamous-cell cancer. (Props to Peter King for this).

Local Sports Talk Host Off-Air After Comments about Kamala Harris, Missouri State

I’ve had about enough of the peeps who have sworn off sports because it’s become “too political”, and Nate Lucas is my rebuttal argument as to why that complaint is full of it. Lucas was a sports radio host in Missouri, whose specialty was retreading sports narratives while mixing in his politics. In September, Lucas took his tired act and went scorched earth when he referred to VP candidate Kamala Harris with an “offensive, sexist slur” according to the station. Turns out, Lucas was plenty fine getting political when he felt like doing so, but I can only assume he’ll stop watching the games now that he’s unemployed . . because sports is too political. Funny how that works.

Greek Athlete Carries Disabled Woman Up Mount Olympus–Fulfilling her Lifelong Dream

Marios Giannakou is used to taking the long way home, with great success. The long distance runner has navigated all the valleys and mountains set out before him- from a 168 mile journey across Al Marmoum Desert to a first place finish in a cross-country race in Antartica. And oh yeah, he’s also climbed to the peak of Mount Olympus. Fifty times.

This guy is winning the day the moment he wakes up in the morning, and it’s not because of the medals or the acclaim he’s earned. It’s because he understands that winning is giving, and giving is life.

So when he heard about Eleftheria Tosiou’s dream of experiencing the summit of Mount Olympus, he got to stepping. After meeting with Tosiou, who has never let her disability define her, the pair was hooked up with a specially modified backpack and a support team. And then they climbed, together, chasing down a dream that has no finish line.

“There is nothing more real than the dream,” said Giannakou.

My Hero YouTube Video Of The Week! 

As far as this special moment between a thespian and his brand new friend goes, there are a few different videos out there. I chose the one whose spoken language I do not understand because I understand the language that counts just fine.

(Note to our Canadian friends, the title of this video is “Stray dog tries to help an actor in a play” (56 seconds running time)

We live in times of great anguish, full of carnival barkers in suits whose currency often times relies on division to keep them electable. And maybe it just seems that way too much of the time and maybe I have a lot to learn, but maybe I’m okay with being rescued time and again by the stories that prove how wrongs can be righted if we just open our minds.

And so the picture above . . I mean, right? The nerve of these two ladies, to somehow forge an alliance from two sides of a fence that would seem impossible to scale.

Cedar Park, Texas is where Marne Litton and Tasha Hancock call home. The two became fast friends when Tasha moved there six years ago and their political leanings did nothing to change that. Because these two came to understand each other not as political lawn signs, but as human beings. Litton is raising a special needs child and she says Hancock has always been there to brighten the most trying of days.

“We want to spread a message of kindness and love during these challenging times,” Litton said. “Tasha and I may not see eye to eye politically, but that doesn’t mean we can’t show love and respect for one another.”

These two made me go digging for a quote that came to mind when I found the capture of them all dressed up with someplace to go, attached to a story that told me I still have much to learn.

We are strong not in spite of our differences, but because of them.

It comes from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who was speaking of his native Canada, but Imma borrow it, humbly and gratefully. Because it frames that capture. Perfectly. Because it speaks to the idea that opinions will keep the cash register chiming, but humanity will keep the lights on.

If I were to break down the story of us into a mathematical equation, rancor equals subtraction while unity stands for addition. And that’s where you’ll find that peaceable solutions are happening . . like, all the time. And sure, they might be harder to find but it’s only because they’re not breaking news-worthy. They exist inside the quiet, because all the best stuff in the world?

Lives there.

Heroes Of The Week!

Superman Becomes a Star/Superheroes Take Over the World

There are officially ninety one days remaining in 2020, not like I’m counting the minutes . . . yet. And I guess the best thing you can say about this year of living dangerously is that Charles Manson isn’t around to say I told you so. 

Not that it’s all bad, really. In fact, there’s a lot of it that’s really been kind of great. And maybe you won’t find it on your cable news networks, or on the front pages of your local newspapers. But no matter, because the good stuff still counts. And apologies ahead of time for the mugshot below, but I think this imbecile resembles the facial composite of our otherwise forgettable year. But no worries, because there’s plenty of pushback to that ugly. 

So let’s get rolling . . .

Man gets 1 year in jail for holding large parties against COVID-19 rules -  ABC News

Shawn Marshall Myers of Hughsville, Maryland was sentenced to a year behind bars for throwing several large parties- in violation of the state’s emergency order. But really, could we add another year? For that hair? . . . .

Alex Smith - Wikipedia

The team formerly known as Redskins ain’t possessing much in the way of positive shout outs. But for their backup quarterback Alex Smith. The former first rounder pick has worked himself all the way back from a devastating leg injury suffered during a game almost two years ago. He underwent 17 surgeries after the injury resulted in a flesh eating disease which threatened his life. Fast forward to now, and he’s made it all the way back. The selfish part of me wishes he would retire rather than risk anything further, but the dude’s heart and soul is the kind of stuff future players should be inspired by. 

Joe Montana and wife rescue grandchild from attempted kidnapping

And speaking of kick ass QB’s, Joe Montana was the epitome of a big game gunslinger in his day; winning four Super Bowls in four tries. But as a grandfather, Joe Cool outdid all of his on field exploits recently when he saved his nine month old grandchild from a would be kidnapper. The incident happened at his Malibu home, where Joe and his wife thwarted the attempt and had the intruder arrested. I’m betting he’d score that as the biggest win of his life. 

Next up, I’ve got a couple of stories that are belated in the telling by yours truly, but no less beautiful in the deeds that were done. 

Justin Gavin is being called a hero after pulling a mom and three children from a burning car.

First up we have 18 year Justin Gavin, who didn’t even have time to put on his cape after he spotted an SUV that had caught fire. He gave chase and finally was able to catch up with the vehicle once it had come to a stop, after which he helped remove a mother and her three children (1, 4 and 9 years old), who had been trapped inside. The Waterbury Police Department honored Gavin with a “Challenge Coin” 

“I hope that when you have that coin it just reminds you of this day and you can reflect back on all the good that came out of this for you and that family that you saved,” said Police Chief Fernando Spagnolo.

There are four people who get to wake up this morning thanks to the actions of this kid. Four stories that keep getting written and one big reason to believe that superheroes are real. 

Hero boxer DeAndre Ware saves fight promoter's life | Atlanta Daily World

DeAndre Ware’s boxing career is currently in a downward slope after his loss to Steven Nelson by TKO in a super middleweight bout early last month. But it was Ware’s actions before the fight even took place that speak to the true value of the man. When Pete Susens- a coordinator for Top Rank Boxing- collapsed during weigh-ins, Ware performed chest compressions that ended up saving his life. You see, Ware also happens to be a firefighter in his hometown of Toledo, Ohio. So while boxing is a passion, his everyday existence is playing out in a ring where the stakes are much higher. And he’s winning. Big time. 

And now Imma dish up a double dose from the Cincinnati Kid over at the blog formerly (and still) known as aFrankAngle. This first story, well . . some of you already know it so I’ll just include the video above. It’s good stuff, so if you haven’t checked it out, please do. 

Derlin Newey, a pizza delivery driver in Utah, hugs the Valdez family after being surprised with a tip of a lifetime.

The second part of Frank’s double shot of good feeling tonic . . . wait for it . . . delivers. The Valdez family are bringing the ‘social’ to social media with a gift they recently presented to a very special person in their lives. Eighty nine year old Derlin Newey is their pizza delivery man- they ask for him every time they place an order. They started recording his deliveries for their TikTok channel @vendingheads because they love the guy so much. 

“It’s insane. Everybody loves him,” said Carlos Valdez. They love the smiles he brings to their faces every time he throws down his signature phrase “Hello, are you looking for some pizza?”

Eighty nine years old and working thirty hours a week because he can’t make ends meet on social security alone. And so the family that’s come to love him decided to ask for donations from their more than 53,000 TikTok followers. They were able to raise $12,000 for Newey. After which they presented him with a great big check, with lots of hugs attached to it.  

“He needed this. I’m just glad we could help him,” said Valdez. “We just need to treat people with kindness and respect the way he does. He stole our hearts.”

It can be so easy to let the cynics win the days, especially these days. But you really don’t have to look very hard to find out just how wrong they are about us humans. Because we’re not doomed. We’re not defeated. We’re not hopeless creatures in a slow march to the end of the sidewalk. We’re more than that, so much more than that. And when the world gives us precious little? 

We give it everything we have. 

Heroes Of The Week

For this week’s episode, I was fortunate enough to have been gifted all the stories by my peeps- bloggers and posse alike. So this Friday feels very much like that bodega tucked into the corner of the neighborhood. The one that’s filled with every kind of something and familiar faces that ensure the lights will stay on for a mighty long time. 

Here’s their lineup . . . . 

This first story is brought to us by Dale, who actually delivered up a two for one special. Demetrius Harvard came up zeroes after tossing construction debris onto the subway tracks at 14th Street and 8th Avenue Station in Chelsea this week. As a result, he was charged with reckless endangerment, criminal mischief, assault and criminal trespass. These crimes caused a train derailment that could have resulted in tragedy if not for a “heroic crew” that was able to stop the train and deliver the 135 passengers on board to safety. When it comes to acts of heroism, the Big Apple’s inhabitants don’t need Spiderman’s help. They got this. 

Good Samaritan Rikien Wilder, 44, who jumped into the tracks to remove debris and detained suspect Demetrius Harvard.

And a big thank you to LA for her shout out on the train derailment story. She told me to look up Rikein Wilder for this week’s episode, and I’m glad I did. 

Wilder was on the platform when he witnessed Harvard dumping debris on the tracks. He navigated a set of stairs that led to the tracks and removed some of the debris before the train reached the station; his actions helping to prevent a derailment. He then ran upstairs to alert transit workers before returning to the platform to find Harvard at it again. This time Harvard was successful in his attempt to derail a subway car, after which Wilder gave chase and caught him, pinning him down for fifteen minutes before authorities arrived. MTA Chairman Pat Foye said our hero “exemplifies the best of New York,” and I would simply add this. Rikein Wilder exemplifies the best in all of us. 

Next up on the docket is a beauty of a get from Frank. In his words, “This nomination is so odd that it’s good. For me, no hero – but a collective that came together for something out of the ordinary.” And with all due respect to the Cincinnati Kid, Imma disagree with his assessment. Because every simple act of kindness behaves as spiritual fuel, and Lord knows we live inside a time when our tanks are in constant need of a fill up. I’ll let the video do the rest of my talking on this one. Enjoy. 

Pregnant Woman Jumps Into Ocean To Save Husband From Shark Attack

My pal Jen says we can call it a wrap when it comes to dishing up the Wife of the Year award, because Margot Dukes-Eddy has it in the bag after what she pulled off in the Florida Keys recently. Margot and her husband Andrew were enjoying a day on the water with their family when he decided to take a swim. No sooner had he moved into the water than a nine foot bull shark attached its razor sharp teeth to his shoulder. Margot dove in and was able to remove him from the water and while doctors are saying he still has a fight ahead of him, it’s almost a certainty he wouldn’t have made it out of the water alive if not for the quick actions of his wife. Who . . oh by the way, happens to be pregnant. Let’s hope these two kids will be recounting one hell of a fish story fifty years from now. 

Dak Prescott made NFL history during his amazing performance in the  Cowboys' comeback win - Blogging The Boys

Leave it to my compadre Big Papi to find his way into this week’s episode, unwittingly. He was chatting up his Dallas Cowboys recently when he made mention of Dak Prescott’s heroics on the field before segueing into the quarterback’s recent statements about mental health. And then I went to look it up and here’s an excerpt. 

“All throughout this quarantine and this offseason, I started experiencing emotions I’ve never felt before,” Prescott said. “Anxiety for the main one. And then, honestly, a couple of days before my brother passed, I would say I started experiencing depression. And to the point of, I didn’t want to work out anymore. I didn’t know necessarily what I was going through, to say the least, and hadn’t been sleeping at all.”

Depression isn’t a topic I feel quite so courageous about delving into all that often, so I appreciate someone like Prescott. Because for all the critics out there who believe that sports should stay in its lane, its guys like him who are able to shine a light on matters that have been kept in the dark for far too long. 

More than three and a half million Americans live with depression, and those numbers are rising. It does not discriminate and it is relentless. So when we hear an athlete such as Prescott open up about his own mental health issues, it might be easy for some to dismiss him as an anomaly since “he has it all” and so really, what does he have to be depressed about? 

Well, check out this list . . .

Kevin Love, DeMar DeRozan, Brandon Marshall, Michael Phelps, Imani Boyette, Amanda Beard, Justin Duchscherer, Allison Schmitt, Ricky Williams, Jerry West, Serena Williams, Ronda Rousey, Delonte West, Dwayne Johnson, Terry Bradshaw, Joey Votto, Ian Thorpe, Andy Baddely, Ricky Hatton, Dan Carcillo, John Kirwan, Shea Emry, Andrew Jensen, David Freese, Larry Sanders, Oliver Bone, Frank Bruno, Jack Green, Michael Yardy. 

These are just some of the names you’ll find when you go looking for famous athletes who’ve reached the pinnacle of their professions. And every single one of them battles depression on a daily basis. 

There but for the grace of God, you keep on. You find a reason to wake up and to keep up and most of all, you find a reason not to give up. But don’t tell me there’s not some kid out there who can’t learn from the experiences of these athletes. And maybe, just maybe, it becomes their lighthouse in the storm. Because when a guy like Prescott speaks up the way he did, no, it’s not about the games. 

And that’s the point. 

 

 

 

 

Heroes Of The Week!

Brett Favre: 25 Greatest Moments of His Hall of Fame Career | Bleacher  Report | Latest News, Videos and Highlights

In spite of climate change, Trump attrition, social unrest and oh yeah . . a global pandemic, the NFL is getting its game on once again. There will be story-lines aplenty as we’ll have kneeling players, canned crowd noise, demonstrations and more playoff teams. Tom Brady is now retired and living in Tampa while Cam Newton will do his best Darth Maul impersonation in the hopes of keeping the Evil Empire relevant. Because of the disparity in COVID rules from state to state, some teams will host fans at limited capacity while other teams will have no fans in attendance. The silver lining in this playbook is that Philadelphia falls into the latter category. Sorry Eagles fans, but you still suck. 

And now for a special Tuesday lineup . . . 

Bella Witt, 50 Yard Challenge, Three Hills

Imma start on the positive side of the equation this week, thanks to Dale’s chime about a young lady from Alberta, Canada. 14 year old Bella Witt is going the extra yard this year, fifty times over. She’s taking on the 50 Yard Challenge, in which she will mow fifty different yards in her community. The volunteer movement was started by Rodney Smith, Jr of Huntsville, Alabama in 2015. Those who sign up can tend to their neighbors lawns in a variety of ways- from mowing them to raking leaves and even shoveling snow. The kids get a different colored t-shirt for every ten lawns they complete until they achieve their ‘black belt’ status once they’ve gone fifty strong. 

“Since COVID-19 there hasn’t been a lot to do here and I thought why not help people,” explained Witt. “There’s so much going on right now and I just want to be a blessing to people who have a hard time.”

Oh Bella, you are a blessing to us all. 

Marjorie Taylor Greene wins Georgia's 14th district runoff - AxiosOn the flip side, we have Marjorie Taylor Greene diluting the gene pool down in Georgia. The Republican is running for Congress, and she’s got a lot of Trumpian ideas at the ready. Her newest gem? A claim that forcing boys to wear masks is “emasculating”.  Never mind that more than half a million American kids have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and there’s been a 16 percent increase in these cases since mid August. 

How’s about we fit Green with a duct taped mask? 

Last week marked the nineteenth anniversary of the most devastating terror attack on US soil. So it’s worth remembering in these trying times that if we take the uniforms for granted, we do so at our own peril. The boys at the FDNY came through again recently when they tackled 53 year old Daniel Biggs; who just so happens to have a rap sheet a mile long and was intent on adding to it. As he was riding his bike along the sidewalk in Bedford Stuyvesant, Biggs decided it would be a good idea to punch a sixty year old woman in the face. Two problems: One, it’s assault. And two, he did so right in front of a firehouse. So needless to say, Biggs didn’t get very far before he was brought to the ground by New York’s Bravest. 

These guys ain’t quitting on us, and the feeling is mutual. 

Imma wrap up this special Tuesday edition with a belated tribute to a couple of legends, who gifted the world their immense talents in two different arenas. 

Trailblazing Georgetown basketball coach John Thompson dies - REVOLT

John Thompson changed the landscape of college basketball forever. Before he got to Georgetown, the team was an also ran, having just finished out a 3-23 campaign. Within three seasons, Thompson had them in the tournament. He built a national powerhouse in the eighties, winning a national title and reigning supreme over the Big East conference. But it was the impression he made with his kids off the court that will stand the true test of time. When star center Alonzo Mourning and another player were said to be running with associates of reputed drug boss Ray Edmond, Thompson called for a face to face meeting with him in his office. At the meeting, the coach proceeded to get in Edmond’s grill, informing him he was to have no further contact with any of his players. Edmonds never did associate with another Hoyas player after that meeting. When the news of Thompson’s passing came down, his former star point guard Allen Iverson credited Thompson with saving his life. Interestingly, Thompson was supposed to have been on the United Airlines flight that crashed into the Pentagon, but his place was cancelled. He made these last nineteen years count. 

Chadwick Boseman didn't just play icons. He was one. | National News |  martinsvillebulletin.com

Whereas the inimitable Mr Thompson climbed every mountain set in front of him, there is a profound sadness to the passing of Chadwick Boseman because he had so many more mountains left to climb. In his all too brief career, Boseman wrote and directed several plays and appeared on a couple television shows before scoring a role that would put him on the map for good. 

His portrayal of Jackie Robinson in the movie 42 got the attention of Hollywood moguls and moviegoers alike. Rachel, the widow of the iconic ballplayer said watching Chadwick immerse himself in the role was like being introduced to Jackie again. And from there, the world showed up at his doorstep and Boseman was more than ready to take it for a spin. He played legends like Thurgood Marshall and superheroes like the Black Panther. He was box office magic with a screen presence that promised Oscars, as in plural. But while the world was busy gifting him the much deserved rewards of his chosen craft, life was busy taking him away from us even if we never saw it coming. In 2016, Boseman was diagnosed with Stage 3 colon cancer. He never shared this fact with the outside world, and he kept working throughout. He starred in several more films while undergoing chemotherapy as well as multiple surgeries. But it was a race he was destined to lose when the cancer returned this year. And it doesn’t make one damn bit of sense that he’s gone before he even really got started. That forty three years becomes the end instead of another beginning. 

There’s no song I could attach to this, because truthfully I didn’t come into this post expecting it would take me here. And now it doesn’t feel right, to put these final thoughts to music. So instead, I’ll place a picture of Boseman’s visit to St. Jude’s Hospital in 2018. Right in the middle of his stoic battle, he took some time for the kids, his fans. And this picture, I don’t know why but it fills me with peace. 

Sometimes there is music in the silence. 

Inside Chadwick Boseman's Emotional Visit to St. Jude's | PEOPLE.com

Heroes Of The Week!

30 Funniest Parks and Rec Quotes of All TIme | Best Life

As we inch closer to a national election that feels as if it was written by Judd Apatow, I thought about petitioning for a recount on my last Heroes episode. And then I realized that I didn’t actually use a political theme for the post, so never mind. And for the record? I’m voting for Bobby Newport in November. I’m half serious about that, and as Bobby would say, the other half is serious too. 

So now that I’ve gone two straight Heroes episodes without having talked politics, and my reward is an actual theme to gift you this week. The lovely Dale is playing Luke Skywalker, seeing as how she sent me three heroic stories this week. While I pick up the slack for Darth Vader by supplying the zeroes. I know, shocker!

And now for this week’s lineup . . .

The Yankees And Rays Absolutely Hate Each Other And It's Fucking Awesome |  Barstool Sports

Up until this moment, the Tampa Bay Rays have been that other team in every baseball movie. They’re a monochrome curiosity that is good enough to take the champion fifteen rounds, before getting steamrolled by the closing credits. But now they have a club with a legitimate chance to win it all, and so maybe their manager Kevin Cash should start behaving as if he’s been here before. The Rays skipper got all bent out of shape after Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman threw a a hundred mile an hour missile at his player’s head. Cash and his team have every reason to be pissed, but then he went and said this . . .

“Somebody’s got to be accountable,” Cash said. “And the last thing I’ll say on this is I got a whole damn stable full of guys that throw 98 mph. Period.”

How about you make the MLB do it’s fucking job. Make sure they hold Chapman and the Yanks accountable. But an outright threat such as the one Cash threw out serves no good purpose. If he’d chosen his words wisely, the onus would be entirely on the Yankees, but Cash went minor league instead. That’s a shame. 

Like any responsible homeowner, Dave Phoxe of Salt Lake City, Utah does what he can to keep his home and family safe from harm. He installed a security camera that syncs to his phone, alerting him to any uninvited guests who make the scene. So when he discovered that a little kid was using his driveway as a racetrack, he could have stormed outside and told the kid to scram. But Phoxe had a better idea. And so he made his driveway into a racetrack, drawing a lane that zigged and zagged to a finish line. Something tells me he’s got one hell of an encore for the kids who play on his lawn when he’s an old man. 

Clay Higgins says on Facebook that armed demonstrators 'won't walk away'  from Louisiana protests | News | theadvocate.com

Congratulations to Clay Higgins, the U.S. Representative out of Louisiana’s third district for taking the prize as biggest asshole of the week. No easy task these days, and yet Higgins makes it look easy with commentary that would make a serial killer wince. 

Higgins hopped on Facebook this week (This is what’s called foreshadowing) and proceeded to shit his feelings into the virtual world. His topic of conversation in this instance were the armed protesters showing up across his state. And for those of you with an allergy to ass hats with Rambo fetishes, you might want to move on to the next story, because the following is a sample of his rant. 

“I’d drop any 10 of you where you stand,” Higgins began, before continuing with “Nothing personal. We just eliminate the threat. We don’t care what color you are. We don’t care if you’re left or right. if you show up like this, if We recognize threat…you won’t walk away.”

I mean, where do I begin? Okay, maybe with an observation that goes something like this: Old Clay wasn’t posting shit like this on FB when white kids in PBR caps were walking through Wal-Marts fully armed. So yanno what I always say . . . there is that. 

Tom Seaver, greatest Met ever, dead at 75

Okay, so I lied. Imma dish up a tribute to an all time great who was a hero to every Queens kid back in the days of bell-bottom jeans and 8-track players. Tom Seaver blessed the game of baseball in myriad ways over a career that spanned three decades and five cities. He won 311 games to the tune of a 2.86 ERA in that space of time. He snagged Rookie of the Year honors in 1967 and was the ace of the Miracle Mets World Series team in ’69. He was a Cy Young winner three times over, an All Star twelves times and he pitched a no hitter as a member of the Cincinnati Reds in 1978. But as a man, he contributed even more than that. He was an ambassador whose grace, wisdom and experience has left a lasting impression on the game he loved. They really don’t write them like Tom anymore. 

Okay, for this last story Imma do things a little differently and just let author Shaka Senghor take us home. In his words. Because I could not have said it any better than he did on his Facebook post.

Last Friday night I was standing outside of a barbershop in Cincinnati, Oh,with a small group of mostly black men, when this officer walked over to a group of us. He looked around curiously and said “I don’t see a car blocking an intersection” while shaking his head. I asked him what was he talking about. He said someone called and reported that we had a car blocking the intersection. He paused for a minute and shook his head again. In that moment we both nodded and acknowledged what had just happened. Someone basically saw our group and made a false report. I asked him how long he had been on the job and he said 10 months. He asked what we were doing at the barbershop and so told him about the barbershop challenge Men of Courage and Ford Fund has sponsored. I asked if he wanted to come inside. He said he wanted to, but didn’t want to spoil the fun with his presence. Again we both nodded and acknowledged the reality of distrust between the community and police officers. I offered to take him inside so he could meet the owners and establish a relationship. I told him that someone has to take the first step to healing these relationships. He said he wanted to, but was unsure of what the reaction would be. I told him it would be cool and that Jerome Bettis and a host of other amazing people were inside. He lit up like a light bulb and said “No way The Bus is in there”, with a kid like smile. I said hold on, I’ll grab him and have him come out. Jerome Bettis came out and the officer stood there with his mouth agape before saying “if my dad was still alive he would be so excited, because you were his favorite player”. We all stopped and sat in the moment before they went on to take a selfie together. It was one of those moments that reminded me of our humaneness, our frailties and our similarities. In that moment we were all just men navigating the world without the mask we are taught and trained to wear. I could have taken my offense to the call out on the officer and accused him of being a racist cop. He could have believed the caller and acted based on stereotypes about black men in groups. But we chose to just see each other and talk like humans. It’s ultimately a decision we can all make. When he lit up like a kid at seeing his dad’s sports hero, I saw a little boy and the uniform no longer mattered. We can collectively choose to see beyond the uniforms we all wear.

It’s not easy and there is a lot of work to be done, but if we can at least start seeing each other, I believe things will get better.