Sunday, October 29, 2023

Let Us Remember: Sharing Matt Balano

Enter a Lasallian community and you will hear the words "Let us Remember" as the call to prayer. This antiphon is met by the words "we are in the holy presence of God" by all. One outstanding educator, Carol Devincenzi, brought this tradition from Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep—a Lasallian institution on Ellis Street to a Jesuit one in the outer Sunset. For over 20 years now "Let us remember" is how the St. Ignatius College Prep community begins morning prayer, prayer in class, at our liturgies, before games, on immersions and more.

In Judaism, the very act of remembrance IS a prayer. No wonder Jesus said to His disciples "Do this in memory of me" as he broke the bread at the Last Supper. Over 2,000 years later—we remember His life, death and resurrection. In remembering, we truly are in the presence of God.

And I offer these words because on October 16, 2023, a former colleague and friend—Matt Balano died of Esophageal cancer. He was 54 years old. This blog post is but a few examples of what I love to remember about Matt. I hope in some way this remembrance is a worthy prayer.

Shared Spaces
I shared a classroom for a year with Matt and another good friend, Dan. They taught English and I was in there for the junior Ethics, Morality and Society Justice course. I hated this room. It was a total meat locker. Located in the front corner of the building, I doubt it had any insulation for temperature or sound. This proved to be problematic a lot, but most especially when the school decided to cover the front of the nearly four story building with a banner for the sesquicentennial. For whatever reason, the maintenance crew did this during class time. The sound of drills and directive made it impossible to teach. Rather than yell, I pivoted toward quiet seat work. There was nothing quiet about this.

In Matt, I knew that I had a friend who was always willing to hear me out and let me vent. Any annoying reality was fodder for his astute, dry humor. I can still see myself turning to him with the issues in our shared space. First observation: his posture. Matt always stood tall. He would take in my complaints and respond with no guile or emotion. He was stone faced and would offer a cutting quip or backlash that got me every time. I know this "act" was an extension of his intelligence. He was super smart sans any trace of arrogance or pride. When and if I shared something a little more personal he was able to take it in and offer thoughtful, caring feedback. Matt was a trusted colleague—a true ally.

With Congressman John Lewis at SI
When you share space—whether its a classroom, the board room, a home or a neighborhood with another person—you get to know them in unexpected ways... People leave impressions on our hearts and in our memories. We do the same. In Matt, I am reminded to be grateful for the people with whom I share space today. I am grateful to those who really do listen.

Shared Students
Matt and I ended up in different classroom the next year but our paths continued to cross. We had a challenging student in common. I turned to him regularly for advice on how to work best with this young woman. As fate would have it, this student's mother called for a meeting with several of her daughter's teachers. In that conversation, she told Matt that she too was an English major and could go "toe to toe" with him. Ever the professional, Matt was surprised that he might need to do that. I gave back to him what he always gave to me. I listened and in the years since, if it was appropriate, I would remind him that I too could go "toe to toe" with him. This was not always true, but it was always funny.

Shared Reads
Yet one year later, I moved into a classroom Matt was leaving. On the back shelf near my new desk, he left a number of books. I boxed up his belongings but I managed to keep a basketball encyclopedia of his. I looked at this "bible" and thought to myself "who knows, I may need to reference this." As soon as Matt unpacked his books, he came back to Room 202 looking for that one. I admitted that I had it. For years, he reminded me of what I tried to keep without asking. 

My alibi never waffled, wavered or changed. Matt didn't need this encyclopedia because he was one. He knew all basketball, but most especially Warriors basketball inside and out. It was joy to hear who he knew, what he knew and though we didn't always agree (he came around to Klay Thompson later than I did) he was a true, loyal fan.

Shared Signs
This is not an answer for Jeopardy: What is the plural for "Aquarius?" I ask because Matt and I have birthdays that are but a few days apart in February.

A poster/pic from 2/15/12
In 2012, I decided the best way to spend my birthday was at school—for a talk given by Dr. John Carlos, followed by a varsity basketball game. Rather than go to dinner with my family, I wanted to attend a program that Matt organized and moderated. Dr. Carlos spoke about the decision he and Tommie Smith made at the 1968 Olympic games in Mexico City.

As written by Megan Pryor-Lorentz, "Matt was SI's first Director of Equity and Inclusion. He crafted a formation program for both students and educators helping us to build up our cultural proficiency. He formed students through opportunities like the Latino Summit and the innovative Burning Illusions class he crafted and taught. Matt challenged SI's adult community to dive deeper into professional development for equity and inclusion through the WPC and POCC Conferences. He worked at SI for 16 years."

Truly, Matt championed affinity spaces, celebrated the richness of our diverse community, helped us to own our limits and pushed us to grow. That evening with Dr. Carlos on February 15, 2012 was one of hundreds of offerings he provided to the SI community. What a gift.

Nobel Peace Prize Winner Rigoberta Menchu at SI

Shared Love and Respect
This might sound surprising, but one of the more arduous tasks and responsibilities I shared with Matt was serving on the hiring committee for the varsity boys basketball head coach. Anyone who has participated on a hiring committee has a sense of the time and effort it demands. It's interesting, engaging and in this case—it was NOT a done deal. We reviewed a lot of applications and conducted informal and formal interviews for a robust number of candidates. However, prior to the grind, we had philosophical and practical conversations about the type of coach we wanted to hire. We debated styles and draws of certain individuals, what we admired in coaches and what we wanted to stay away from. These were passionate pleas.

Matt and I got into it more than once. We did not agree. I remember at one point wanting to excuse myself from the whole process. Matt and I worked through things and to this day, I know I am better because of that. We grew in both love and respect for one another through that experience. We were very honest about that, too. 

Every January, the SI faculty is required to attend an overnight retreat. I cherish some of the memories of retreats past with Matt there. I am excited about our 2024 speaker—the poet and theologian Padraig O'Tuama. As I was listening to his words from On Being, I thought of my experience with Matt on that hiring committee. 

Agreement has rarely been the mandate for people who love each other. Maybe on some things, but actually, when you look at some people who are friends, you go actually they might disagree really deeply on things, but they’re somehow — I like the phrase “the argument of being alive.” Or in Irish, when you talk about trust, there’s a beautiful phrase from West Kerry where you say, “Mo sheasamh ort lá na choise tinne,” “You are the place where I stand on the day when my feet are sore.” And that is soft and kind language, but it is so robust. That is what we can have with each other.

Matt made an excellent argument of being alive. While we didn't always agree we did understand one other and from that comes love and respect for another person. That is something I want to remember.

One Final Sharing
On September 30, 2023 Matt and Donna Bullock got married. Friends and former colleagues at SI were delighted to share such joyful news, holding that they had the courage and desire to live those vows—for better or worse, in sickness and in health.

In that same interview, Krista Tippet says to O'Tuama, "There’s a lot of lovely and popular spiritual writing about the notion of “here” and “be here now.” I love this.

I'm beginning to think that when we remember, that prayer, is an invitation—a call for our loved ones to "be here now." Matt, you are "here" in our hearts, our memories, and in the legacy you have left through the Office of Equity and Inclusion AND you are in the holy presence of God. 

Matt wrote this tribute to Jim Brown: Rest in power. Rest in peace. Amen.

Photo Credits
all photos above are from Matt's Facebook page. I chose a few pictures from but a few of the powerful, meaningful and memorable events he organized and led at SI.

And because they are fun: two final memories...

  1. Male teachers were required to wear ties at SI for years. There was however one exception to the rule: the mock turtleneck. Matt's male colleagues were jealous...they said "no one could rock the mock like Balano."
  2. Matt and I talked Dubs a lot. In a recent text message I told him that I walked out of my dentist's office only to see Warriors former player/turned announcer Festus Ezeli sitting at a table having coffee. Had that been Matt, he would have sat down with "The Fighting Spirit." I say this because I remember Matt ran into Leonardo Barbosa in downtown Oakland one night and started talking to him for a long time. I told him I was surprised the "Brazilian Blur" didn't offer him tickets to a game...

Friday, October 27, 2023

We Need Not Bowl Alone: Putting an End to Gun Violence

On Monday, October 23, 2023 I began class with a P.S.A. for the St. Ignatius College Prep Bowling Club. As the moderator, I wanted my students to know that they were welcome to join the club's inaugural event of the year and why they should. I asked them, What are the virtues of bowling? My seniors said it was fun and friendly competition that doesn't require a ton of skill  Another said it's an affordable activity. Still another recognized that bowling is a multi-generational sport. Good input. I added that it is an ideal sport for cold weather climates; warm ones too (e.g. Washington DC in August!). Bowling is largely without bias—meaning— a judge or referee doesn't factor into fair play. It is gender inclusive and can accommodate for all shapes and sizes. In short, bowling is a great way for our community to come together.

And that's exactly what happened all across America this past week, except that one ended in utter tragedy as the site of the thirty-sixth mass shooting of the year. 

In Daly City, CA ten students and I met at the Classic Bowling Center for two games. In that time two sophomores and eight seniors bowled, ate pizza and even watched some Monday Night football together (Go Niners!). We talked a little strategy and scoring, and a whole lot of school, service and sports. Our time was cut short because the Monday night bowling league was about to commence. The club president thanked everyone for showing up and we made plans for our holiday bowl in December. Ugly Christmas sweater or shirt required.

As I exited the alley, I noticed the shared shirts worn by teams in the league. Men and women, ranging in age from their 20s to their 70s were warming up, having a beer, greeting their teammates and the competition. There was a buzz in the air, spares to pick up and strikes to knock down. Only one man has his picture hanging on the wall. Jerry Yee 300 on 10/18/21. 

This experience—the images, sounds and smells of the bowling alley—the energy and excitement made hearing the news about the mass shooting in Lewiston, Maine that much more unbearable. Though we are across the country and it took place two days later, the fact that Robert Card "unleashed a barrage of bullets on the bowling event at Just-in-Time Recreation, where he killed seven people" is harrowing. It is utterly tragic. This is our America.

A woman is hugged by a man at the reunification center at Auburn Middle School, in Auburn, Maine, after shootings in Lewiston on Wednesday.
NBC News writes,

It was supposed to be a night of fun competition.

A group of young people gathered at a bowling alley in Lewiston on Wednesday evening for youth league matches. Four miles away, members of a cornhole team for deaf people hosted an evening of games.

But before long, the revelry was interrupted by gunfire.

“They’re just innocent people out for a night of bowling,” said Kim McConville, whose cousin and his 14-year-old son were killed at the bowling alley. “This was a children’s event. Who expects a shooter to go into a children’s event?”

In ten months time we have had lives lost to gunfire at an Independence Day block party, another on Father's Day, at a Lunar New Year dance, in homes, and now at the Just-In-Time Recreation bowling alley. Incidentally, this is the second in Maine this year. The information about mass shootings in the United States is worth reading carefully, prayerfully and intentionally. We must take ownership for who we are and what we have become.

One need not be a political scientist or a Harvard student to have heard about or read Robert Putnam's book Bowling Alone
The Collapse and Revival of American Community

The truth of the matter is no one needs to bowl alone—on Monday nights or Wednesday nights, in times of tragedy or times of reconciliation. Whether its through a high school club, a new league, a call from an old friend or an outing with your family, we can come together to bowl, to build and sustain community. We simply have no choice, we must take ownership for ourselves and for one another. The stakes are just too high: life and death. Gun violence is a community problem. It is a sign of the collapse of our community. How might putting an end to it lead to our revival?

Prayer: Let the Shooting End by Sisters of Mercy
God, our hearts are broken with pain at the senseless deaths caused by gun violence. Families mourn, children live in fear, and some in our nation respond by arming themselves with more guns with greater capacity to end life. Our disconnection and alienation has caused some to turn to guns for protection and safety. We ask that you touch our hearts with your love, heal our brokenness, and turn us away from violence toward peace. Help us to transform our own hearts and to seek peaceful ways of resolving our differences. Let our hands reach out and connect with those who feel alone, those who live in fear, and those suffering from mental illness. Let our voices be raised asking our legislators to enact gun laws to protect all in our society, especially those most vulnerable. Let our pens write messages demanding change while also scripting words of hope and transformation. We ask this in the name of the God who desires that we live together in peace.  Amen

Photo Credits
Maine reunification 

Monday, October 16, 2023

Not All Rivalries Are Created Equal: Five Conclusions from ND vs. USC

Not every school, city or team has a rival. For those that do, Spirit Week is a euphemism for rivalry week. And, with the Bruce Mahoney football game this Friday night at Kezar Stadium, students at St. Ignatius College Prep and Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory know what this contest, this week and this rivalry is all about.

Rivalry week offers me the opportunity to discuss one of my favorite topics: What makes for a good rivalry? How and why is it a blessing to have a rival? And on the heels of Notre Dame defeating USC, I was ready to compare and contrast, discuss and debate this topic as long as possible. I think my students are part of one of the best rivalries in all of high school sports and I believe the Notre Dame/USC rivalry is among the best. Here are but five conclusions on the importance of that one.

It's a Family Affair
The significance of the Notre Dame vs USC rivalry is in my DNA. When the Irish defeated the Trojans 48-20, I felt victory deep in my bones. I have always felt the dislike and utter disdain for that red and gold. I grew up hearing the stories of how many seasons, too many national championships all of these dreams deferred because of USC (My Dad really can't get through the 20-17 loss in 1964 without ire).

My grandfather, Dad and his brothers planted this seed. We grew up in Pac 10 territory; two family members actually worked for the conference. The final trip my Grandpa took before he died was to Notre Dame with my father and Uncle Jay for the rivalry game. A picture from that trip hangs on my wall.

For years, I have traveled south over Thanksgiving weekend to join in the game day pageantry at the LA Coliseum—a historic and painful venue. Every time I go, I swear I will not return. I do. Hope springs does the draw of a rivalry.

Parity and Pain
It's not a rivalry if it's a one-sided affair. There must be a sense that the outcome of this game is anything but given. Neither party can mail it in; the stakes and the pressure are just too high.

My favorite shirt of all time commemorated a "Decade of Dominance." This tee had small tares and holes in the right places; it was perfect for running and working out., and, it is emblematic of my time at ND. 

From 1983 to 1993, the Trojans went winless against the Irish. A freshman in the Fall of 1992, the student body I joined didn't know the pain of losing to USC. Fans didn't enter into those match-ups with quite the same animosity and fear that we did against other schools. But our rivals rose again, aggravating and assaulting top ranked teams—pushing their own into the end zone (see Bush Push).

Chatter and Star Power
One sure sign of a rivalry game is that it generates a lot of chatter. For example, one of my students mentioned that a lot of people at the gym want to talk to him both before and after this particular game. These contests offer an easy talking point—and a spirited one at that.

One aspect I anxiously anticipate in a rivalry game is the list of who's who on the sidelines. I'm a glutton for star power. I was not surprised to see Matt Leinhart. I enjoyed seeing Keyshawn Johnson in that loud and proud USC jacket. ND's all-star list was impressive: Jerome Bettis, Tim Brown, and Brady Quinn to name a few. The illuminati however is not just for the fans.

Standing outside the locker room door after the game was Joe and Jennifer Montana. The camera showed Sam Hartman shaking his hand. I thought what a thrill and what a cool connection. From one Irish QB to another—Congratulations are in store! 

Rudyard Kipling, wrote “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” With all due respect to the English writer and poet, I guess he never took history at Notre Dame.

During orientation weekend, the alumni association runs the movie "Knute Rockne, All American" in the Eck Visitor's Center. I appreciate that the University indoctrinates in many ways—including this one. From that film, I learned more about the history of one of football's winningest coaches of all time, and his fingerprints on this storied rivalry.

Therefore, when someone asked me how longstanding is the rivlary between Notre Dame and USC, I had two data points of reference. The Rock and a legendary photo I love that features both Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. 

This photo of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig was taken the night before the 1927 USC-Notre Dame at Soldier Field in Chicago. According to an article in the Dec. 4, 1927 Los Angeles Times, it was an annual All-American dinner thrown by Christy Walsh, who was known as the first baseball agent and agent to Ruth.

Ruth and Gehrig performed a skit at the start of the dinner with Ruth impersonating a Notre Dame player while Gehrig was a USC player.

Below is a photo of Ruth and Gehrig at the game. They were part of the 120,000 in attendance!!!

Emotion. Passion. Fandom.
A good rival brings out the best and worst emotions in us. My own Dad admitted that he kicked the ottoman so hard when ND lost in 1964, that it broke. He said "I totally lost it." I actually thought one of my uncles punched a hole in the wall. Someone might have. Regardless, the family lore lives on (see above!). 

The flip side of this coin is the running on the field and the fireworks. While many fans were critical of this effusive response to victory, my DNA allowed and accommodated for all of it. I couldn't get enough of the social media posts from friends and family—in celebration of a strong, solid W. 

We must relish moments like these for the truth of a rivalry is that they will return next year for one more. They remind us of who we are, what we value and why we care....and do.

Great win Irish! Enjoy a much-deserved week off! I look forward to seeing my friends that went to USC. I don't have many of those.... ;-) 

Photo Credits
Babe Ruth
Inside the Stadium photo taken in 2013!
All others are from @NDFootball

Friday, October 13, 2023

My Favorite Kelce

Long before Taylor Swift starting showing up at NFL games, I was a fan of Travis Kelce. In addition to his appearance on Saturday Night Live, I've loved seeing him inside Harrah's Casino in South Lake Tahoe and on the course beside his QB Pat Mahommes in the American Century Golf Championship. He's a goof ball off the gridiron and a gladiator on it. Though the Niners have a great tight end in George Kittle, it' hard to argue that #87 for the Kansas City Chiefs isn't the best in the game. But, he's not my favorite Kelce.

And, as much as I admire Travis' older brother Jason, he's not my favorite Kelce either. Sports fans know Jason is the reason Travis is even in the league. He has paved the way for his little brother—from convincing their college coach to give Travis a second chance to starting "New Heights." This is the podcast that created the platform and buzz for TayTay to take notice. In short, Jason is NOT to be underestimated. At center/offensive lineman for the Eagles, Jason has been team captain for the past six seasons. But, he's second to someone else.

My favorite Kelce is "Mama Kelce," but not the one that the public knows by now. Jason and Travis' mom Donna is famous for her two team shirts at the Super Bowl, sitting next to Taylor in a box on a game day and ubiquitous ads for Campbell's soup. However, the Mama Kelce I am talking about is the wife of Jason and mother of their three daughters. Her name is Kylie. And if If Taylor Swift marries into this family, I hope she knows what she's up against. Kylie grew up an Eagles fan and is a woman that I believe all female sports fans can appreciate and admire. 

One can "meet" Kylie and get to know her story/their story vis à vis Amazon's tremendously popular video "Kelce" which came out in September 2023. As noted on the Prime Video page, 

NFL All-Pro center Jason Kelce started documenting what he thought was his final year in the NFL. Instead, the film intimately captures the most epic year in Jason and Travis’s life, from starting a hit podcast together, Jason’s wife Kylie being pregnant with their third child, and ultimately meeting each other at the Super Bowl. All while Jason grapples with the decision of his retirement.

Football fans know, Jason Kelce is still in the league. While his brother is getting most of the attention right now, Jason is the primary focus of this documentary. And with Jason, comes Kylie.

"Kelce," reveals that Kylie and Jason met on Tinder, a popular dating app. Although none of his profile pictures showed anything Eagles or football, she admits that he looked familiar. Let's give credit where credit is due. It's unlikely for most women AND men to recognize players on the O-Line. Go Ky.

Early on in the program, she states "I feel like it's the true Philadelphia way, but when I'm watching broadcast, I'm like, can you STOP focusing on the other team?" You don't have to be from Philly to feel that way. What sports fan hasn't uttered that cry. #PreachOn.

Kylie's father—a background figure in the film— is a diehard football fan, too. I thought how he must have felt when his daughter married an Eagle. JACKPOT. He lays low, setting a good example for his daughter and she too keeps it real. For example, following the NFC Championship—when the Super Bowl became a reality—the camera shows Jason, Kylie and kids in their living room.

She says, "
Alright so I'm doing the maximum amount of tickets that you can purchase—because that's what we were counting for." She pauses and puts the phone down."This is why I don't go on the calculator on my phone," she said.

"Yeah it's a lot of money," said Jason.

"$50,000 DOLLARS!" said Kylie. 

"Yep." said Jason.

Kylie responds "We are paying $4k to for a f***Ing kid who is not going to sit in her seat to watch her dad play in a game. That's bananas!"

"It is," said Jason.

My jaw, which dropped upon hearing the price tag, suddenly closed and then smiled as their two year old daughter said (as she pushes a baby stroller), "I''m going to the Eagles game. My baby wants to go tot the Super Bowl, too." This is as real as their life gets....and I love it. But not as much as what she said about her team. The one that her husband happens to play for. 

Kylie said, "to be clear, I am an Eagles to the extent that If Jason ever went and played for another team,  I would wear Kelce, but I would not wear another team's stuff. I've genuinely thought about that a number of times. I just couldn't do it. Travis was in the playoffs one year, and the Eagles were not and so we went to a playoff game in Kansas City and I was so like--Do I have to? Trav knows that I always want Travis to be successful, OBVIOUSLY I always want Jason to be successful but I'm not going to be out there doing the Chief's chop, whatever that tomahawk thing. No."

I am not in this position, but I do not and have never had it in me to wear anything but Notre Dame. I have no interest in wearing another team's stuff. None. If someone asked me to do that, the closest indicator of support for another school I can offer is in the form of their colors. Maybe. You will not see me taking on another school's cheers, traditions or logos. Ever. And I won't apologize for this. No way. Kylie, I got you. I get you. Thank you.
In the Netflix series "Beckham," Victoria Beckham said loud and proud "I am NOT into football. I wasn't into football then. I'm not into football now." While some partners will appreciate Posh Spice's point-of-view, it does not resonate with me in the least. 

Rather, Kylie has captured the Kelce crown because she is so relatable. (She might be my soul sister?!) I appreciate how she is super supportive and low key. She is beautiful and funny. While watching your husband and brother-in-law play in the Super Bowl or convincing your OB-GYN to travel with you to the game is far from real life, in the midst of that madness I think she does all she can to keep things grounded. She keeps her priorities straight—and that starts with support for her team.
Yes, it's Team Kelce, but that name happens to be on her favorite team's green/silver/black/white jersey. 

Taylor, I hope you get to sit next to her in for a game sometime soon.

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Stay Close to the Sound of Sport: Here's Why

The poet Hafez suggests, "stay close to any sounds that make you glad you're alive." 

Sports is riddled with such sounds. Some are simple notes—the crack of the bat, the golf ball hissing through the air, the break of a clean tackle or the check of a field hockey stick against another. Others ring louder and stronger. They are communal—almost congregational. They are infused with electricity, each one a staccato note amplified to 11. And this video reminded me of this truth; see for yourself!

What fascinates me about sound is that its power can be both felt and heard when accented by the absence of it. This is an essential ingredient to good music. For example, the rest—that interval of silence that corresponds with a particular note value—makes the other notes ring true. It is evidenced in sports, as well. When I coached cross country, I was ever aware of the collective silence on the start line just before the gun goes off. I felt the intensity of the moment deep in my bones. In golf, I pay attention to the summons for "quiet please" as a golfer prepares to address the ball. I expect the same when I address the ball. I invite you to think of other examples. What are the sounds of silence? Especially when it comes to sport. 

Phillies fans however are anything but silent. In fact, I stand in total awe and appreciation of their collective voice. Baseball and Citizens' Bank Park feels and sounds LIGHT YEARS away form Oracle. Once known as "Roaracle," I would love to hear sounds like theirs—chanting the walk up song, clapping and cheering. Victory may taste sweet, but it sounds pretty good, too!

"Bryson Stott Grand Slam With No Commentary And Pure Crowd Noise" reminds me that we ought to lean into the sound of sport, and of sports fans, too. 

Vin Scully knew this tactic. He was the play-by-play announcer for the Brooklyn / Los Angeles Dodgers for sixty-seven years, beginning in 1950 and ending in 2016. As much as I truly love the voice of San Francisco Giants announcer John Miller, Scully is considered to be the greatest baseball broadcaster of all time. Indeed, he stayed close to the sounds mentioned by the lyrical poet. 

As written in The New York Post, "Scully avoided gimmicks, hype, signature calls, forced belly laughs, endless stats and hollering over nothing." He will be remembered for the steady tone of his voice along, his great knowledge of baseball and most distinctly for knowing when he should speak and when the game ought to speak for itself.

In class, I showed the winning home run in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series. I provided some context for the setting—the Dodgers' Kirk Gibson facing off against A's closer Dennis Eckersley. (NB: One has to wonder why we don't have baseball players that look like the Eck today...or maybe some try to...). I taught my students who Vin Scully was and invited them to pay attention to his play-by-play. 

I asked them, "What did Scully say? Why is this call so famous?"
My seniors didn't know how to respond.
One brave student said "I don't really think he said anything."
"Exactly," I said.
I added, "In that moment, on the highest stage in baseball, Scully got out of the way and let sport speak for itself."
Whether or not you're a Dodger fan, I think baseball fans can recognize that moment was poetry. 

In "Badlands," Bruce Springsteen sings "it ain't no sin to be glad you're alive." That song, the entire album: "Darkness on the Edge of Town" is one I stay close to. But, the Live 1975-1985 3-CD/Tape/Record drew me in to that record first. I'm convinced the Boss' energy and the enthusiasm of the crowd make it sound that much better...

Stay close to certain sounds. Remember and relish them. Behold and believe. Happiness awaits.

Photo Credits
Youtube and The Live-Album