Friday, February 11, 2011

A Barrow In The Marketplace

The great Pete Hamill wrote, "Sentimentality is always about a lie. Nostalgia is about real things gone. Nobody truly mourns a lie." Around here, just like everywhere, no one wants to get caught on the wrong side of that line.

I had the chance to spend a bit of time last evening at the Alma mater (high school version). While I was there as an attendee at an event organized through the Alumni Association, I was really there to see my long-time friend Doc Rud. Doc is home briefly from his Asian adventure. The original plan of attack was for several of us to get together for dinner and adult libations. It morphed into something quite a bit different. Candidly, my preference would have been to have proceeded as originally intended. At the risk of sounding immodest (quick everyone give me your best, "No Way! Not You!" face on the count of "3"), I favored the original idea in large part because it was mine. I like the ideas of other people fine....just usually not as well as I like my own.

While what it was was different than that which was originally intended, it was quite a nice evening. Doc was given long overdue recognition for all he did as the wrestling coach at W-H. If you need proof of how good he was at what he did, then consider that he not only survived an assault on his program by talentless fish such as me but a decade and a half after I wrought the havoc that I did upon him, he was winning Team State Championships and coaching young men to individual titles as well. The fact that my presence on his roster in the winter of 1981-82 neither destroyed his program nor his belief in his ability to teach and produce actual wrestlers is a testament to the man's commitment level.

In addition to Doc being honored, last evening also shone a spotlight on a couple of men who starred on the hardwood while students at W-H. One of them, my friend Rob Rizzo, was honored for his status as a 1,000 point scorer. Rob actually scored more than 1,000 points but since he went to Wharton and I opted for law school, I will leave it to him to provide the precise calculation. The final honoree was Brian Roach, who graduated from W-H in 1980. He is the school's all-time leading scorer. In his career he scored more than 1,700 points. At the risk of him punching me in the nose for making this observation, it needs to be pointed out that he played high school hoops in an era that pre-dated the 3-point field goal.

At the risk of sounding immodest yet again, I am constrained at this juncture to point out that during my varsity hoops career at W-H, a career that consisted of one season and sadly was so long ago that the 3-point field goal had not yet seen the light of day, I tickled the twine for 3 points. I mean not to look downward at either Rob or Brian's accomplishments but unlike them, I put up all of my points in one game - and on one play. What you might call insignificant I prefer to think of as "the economization of one's accomplishment."

Life is an event lived forward. That being said, it is useful from time-to-time to cast an eye towards where we came from while keeping the other firmly fixed on the road ahead. Last evening, in addition to honoring Doc, Rob and Brian for the things they had done, the school also paid tribute to the young men who played their final home game for the boy's varsity team. It was not just "Remember When?" Night. It was Senior Night at well. High schools are interesting places because while scant few I suppose have turnstiles at the entrances (in fact none that I have ever seen), such a design would not be inappropriate. We enter, we do what we do and then we head off on our way. And as we head out, a new body heads in and fills what would otherwise have been a vacuum.

Oh Bla Di Oh Bla Da. Life goes on. Indeed it does....

....And all the while we strive to stay on the right side of that line.


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