(The other day, I went back into the archives of passages that I wrote to the teachers at my school. I found this piece from 2009. This brought back a lot of memories, and also, with them, the reminder to savor every single moment. That little boy sitting on Santa’s lap is twenty years old. I genuinely miss those wonderful moments from long ago…)
Each year I get a terrific honor. I’m Santa Claus at our annual church fair. For the better part of Friday evening, and on Saturday morning, I am Santa. I’ve been doing this for a long time – since my kids were little.
When my kids were little and they talked to Santa, they didn’t know that the Santa they were talking to was me. It was a very special time – priceless might be the word for it. I savor in those great memories.
Continue reading “Being Santa Claus”
A few months ago, I shared how people who I will never know might be impacted by the words I read from my basement in the early hours before school each day. I read a health report and share words of inspiration for a radio show in the Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania area.
As a high school kid, when I dreamed of being a radio announcer, I thought I’d be doing things a little differently than what I’m doing now. I also thought that if I was on the radio, I’d be talking about baseball – especially the Yankees.
Continue reading “Radio Star II”
The following passage come from my acclaimed book Impossible is an Illusion.
Alex Semendinger is a great kid. All the Semendinger boys are great kids. (Of course, I may be little biased in my assessment.)
Although Alex has many great attributes – he is kind, understanding, funny, smart, hard working, focused – as he grew up, organization was not one of them.
“Alex, is your room clean?” was an often-heard question in the Semendinger house. The follow-up answer, “Yes” also led to an interesting dynamic. Alex’s definition of clean, and my definition of clean, were not the same thing.
Growing up, Alex loved marbles. As marbles seemed to be a frequently gifted item, I believe there was a time when he possessed no fewer than 45,765 marbles. Alex’s collection contained marbles of various shapes, designs, and colors. Cats-eyes, agates, onionskins, alleys, solids, micas, and peppermint swirls, he had them all. It was an impressive array of marbles.
Continue reading “Marbles”
I think, in a way, we are very spoiled. The world is at our fingertips. We can see amazing things whenever we want. Some of the amazing things we see are real, some of them might even be staged (“reality TV”), but, nonetheless, in the moment at least, what we are watching seems real, amazing, other worldly, and significant.
Continue reading “Insignificant?”
(This post can also be found on NYY_Report (“Start Spreading the News”):
We are sports fans. There is something special and wonderful and unique about being a sports fan. We love our teams and certain players. We get excited by special moments.
And when disappointment hits, it hits hard – and it often hurts.
Continue reading “Saying Goodbye to Matsui & Meb”
(Author’s note – I changed the names of the student in this true story.)
Way back, a long time ago, when I was a teacher, I had a student named Beth. One day in class, during a discussion about Pre-Columbian America, Beth shared that she was of Native American decent. That prompted me to bestow a nickname on her. (I gave happy nicknames to lots of kids.) From that day forward Beth was “A Shining Light in the Sky.” Beth loved the nickname. She came to class every day with a warm smile.
Beth was one of those kids who was easy to like as a teacher: She was happy, enthusiastic, a hard worker, and team player. A model student, Beth was the type of kid who makes teaching a joy.
Continue reading “A Shining Light”
(The following passage was included as part of the monthly newsletter that I send out to the parents of my school community.)
It is no secret that I enjoy sports, mostly baseball, and that I have always been a big fan of the New York Yankees. There is something about baseball that resonates with me. The ebb and flow of the game, the simplicity, the day-to-day consistency… Like a good friend, from April through September, baseball is a constant companion. I love it.
One of the big stories that has come out of this year’s baseball season has been the fact that a rookie on the New York Yankees, a certain Aaron Judge, recently set the record for the most home runs ever hit in one’s first season. No player had ever hit 50 home runs as a rookie until Aaron Judge accomplished that feat. Amazing.
Continue reading “The Judge”
…sometimes a picture really is worth 1,000 (well, a lot more than that) words.
(The following is a modified (slightly shortened and less school specific) version of the message I sent to my teaching staff as we begin to prepare for the opening of the 2017-18 school year in a few weeks. The message applies to all individuals in all walks of life and all professions.)
When I was a child growing up in the late 1970’s, the Houston Astros had very cool uniforms.
I was a Yankees fan (that is deep-seated in my blood), but there were times when I wished the Yankees could at least be a little more colorful. I, of course, love the Yankees’ midnight blue pinstripes and the interlocking NY, but for a kid, that Astros rainbow uniform was a lot more eye-catching!
The Astros also were also a pretty unique team. They played in the only domed stadium (The Astrodome), they played on fake grass (Astroturf), they had exciting players like Nolan Ryan, J.R. Richard, and Cesar Cedeno (pictured above). The Astros were even featured in one of the Bad News Bears movies!
None of that influenced me enough to be an Astros fan, but it is undeniable that there was a certain appeal to rooting for the Houston Astros.
Continue reading “The Houston Astros and You!”
Ever since my son Ryan had the same thought I did for an activity during our visit to see him in Georgia (“Three miles up, three miles down…”), I had been thinking of running Currahee Mountain.
Currahee Mountain is the (extremely) large hill that was used as a (very difficult) physical fitness activity at Camp Toccoa during the early stages of paratrooper training during World War II. The stories of the training, and the success of the troops, has been immortalized in the book and HBO miniseries Band of Brothers which tells the story of Easy Company from the 506th Regiment of the 101st Airborne.
Continue reading “Running Currahee”