Categories: Sports

“…there is a crack, a crack in everything- that’s how the light gets in…” Hallelujah, Leonard Cohen

Man I’m glad my dad and big brother gave me the chance to embrace sports.

And last week, Saturday in Seattle was the medicine that made a difference for my Tuesday’s wounded soul.

So I’ve lived through a few self-perceived sports tragedies in my day. In 1986, Dad’s and my Angels came within a single pitch of going to the World Series for the first time. And I was there, seated at the south end of the Rose Bowl when, in the final seconds, USC lost the BCS Championship after winning 34-straight. The game is widely regarded as the best ever college football championship game…unless you grew up living a few blocks away from campus and you’d worn Trojan gear since you could barely stand…thanks to your big brother.

My dad and brother were my official coaches up until high school. And every single morning I give gratitude for my having had the most awesome childhood a kid could have.

When I was 19-years old and trying to figure out Organic Chemistry, I got the call that told me my brother had died. Almost 8-years later, I was there for Dad’s fatal heart attack in our living room three months into my brand new dental practice. I really don’t think I’ve ever been the same. For numerous reasons, my team members will probably tell you some serious counseling would have probably helped.

And last week, I really missed my two coaches. I really needed their help in finding some light.

And I know sports is the toy department. But for me, sports is still all about family. It’s probably the therapy I thought I never had. My caring so much about sports and how 20-year olds occupy a fall Saturday afternoon undoubtedly can be seen as trivial or shallow but it keeps me connected to Dad and my brother, Jay; when they were around, I always felt safe.

So when Mom died and a few years later in September, when we all lost our sense of immunity from terror, Dad was with me when Erstad caught the fly ball that finally made our Angels World Series champs.

And Jay was there with me as I was welcomed into Notre Dame Stadium for the first time, along with the new USC Head football coach, Pete Carroll.

And this week, when hatred and racism won out and the great Leonard Cohen passed, the light I saw came from kids wearing Cardinal and Gold competing in the Emerald City, the jewel in the crown of an amazing Blue State. It was hard to miss the light I desperately needed to see. No hate; just competitive excellence from two teams who finished up three and a half hours of emotion…with a handshake. I saw the light courtesy of a 55” screen and I know Dad and Jay saw it too.

And now it’s 2:45AM and I’ve managed to explain why a football game was the medicine I really needed. I hope now, maybe, I’ll finally get a good night’s sleep. Fight on!

“…there is a crack, a crack in everything- that’s how the light gets in…” Hallelujah, Leonard Cohen