Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Of Rangers and Homecomings

While I suppose that most right-thinking people who paid attention at all to the NBA Finals thought of either Dirk Nowitski's towering success or LeBron James' stunning failure immediately upon the echo of the final buzzer fading into the ether in Miami on Sunday night, I thought of Rich Fox.  Rich and I were classmates at Seton Hall University School of Law.  If memory serves me correctly, Rich did his undergrad work at "The Hall" as well.  Way back when in the early 1990's, Rich was the only person I knew - and probably one of fewer than three dozen whose zip codes were outside of State of Texas - who was a fan of the Dallas Mavericks.  What leads a kid from Jersey to root for a basketball team from Texas, which was at that time probably the worst of the three NBA franchises located in Texas?  Who the hell knows.  I never asked because it was not my business. 

My first thought on Sunday night as the Missus and I watched the final ten seconds of the NBA season was of Rich.  Anyone can root for a team when that team is on top.  Rich was a fan through the Quinn Buckner Era in Dallas.  Google it and see for yourself just what a commitment that was truly was.  Congratulations Rich to you and Mavs fans everywhere.  I still give not a rat's ass about NBA hoops but I know you do and I am happy for you that "your" team won it all.......and even happier to read that their billionaire owner Mark Cuban is going to foot 100% of the bill for the victory celebration in Dallas.  Nice touch, Mr. Cuban. 

While Sunday was a red-letter day in Big D it was nothing short of a dreadful day on E Street.  Clarence Clemons - 69 years young - suffered a stroke.  I read a lot of information on line in the day or two after he was stricken and what I gleaned from it was that (a) the stroke was significant; (b) his condition was fairly dire for at least 12-24 hours afterwards; (c) he came through two separate procedures that were performed Monday on his brain in good shape; (d) he was hanging tough and battling hard; and (e) no one dared speculate as to what his long-term prognosis is or might be, either physically or professionally. 

One of my great joys is Springsteen's music.  One of my favorite elements of the music is the Big Man's saxophone.  His role in the live shows, while age and health have deprived him of some of his mobility over the past ten years or so, remains sacrosanct.  It is not hard to find a fan of Springsteen's music who is an enormous fan of Little Steven, Nils Lofgren, Max Weinberg, Garry Tallent or Roy Bittan.  But you have accepted a sucker's bet if you agree to wager that will find one of the residents of E Street who is more universally loved by the fans than Clarence is.  His popularity is surpassed only by his buddy Scooter, who occupies the above-the-credit position in front of the ampersand. 

Tuesday, on his official web site, Mr. Springsteen posted the following statement:

By now, many of you have heard that our beloved comrade and sax player Clarence Clemons has suffered a serious stroke. While all initial signs are encouraging, Clarence will need much care and support to achieve his potential once again. He has his wonderfully supportive wife, Victoria, excellent doctors and health care professionals, and is surrounded by friends and family.

I thank you all for your prayers and positive energy and concern. This is a time for us all to share in a hopeful spirit that can ultimately inspire Clarence to greater heights.

-- Bruce Springsteen

All across the universe of Springsteen fans, all of us are counting on a miracle and hoping for the best possible result for the Big Man....

....tonight in Jungleland.

-AK

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