Monday, July 16, 2018

PETE BOCK, A GREAT BASEBALL MAN, PASSES AWAY




Less than a month after Durham celebrated the 30th anniversary of a movie classic, the
city is mourning the loss of a man who had a significant role in the making of "Bull Durham"
and was a big part of the fabric of baseball in North Carolina.

Pete Bock, who I affectionately called, "Mr. Baseball", passed away on July 14. In my travels
through baseball and sports broadcasting, I've never met anyone quite like Pete Bock. He was
truly a gem. Bock was as nice as the Pope with a kind, gentle heart, who didn't have an enemy
in the world. OK, so maybe he made a few when he worked as a professional umpire, but
once he put away his gear, Bock was as beloved as any person I've ever met.

I first met Bock back in the fall of 1987. I had finished up an unfulfilled baseball career at
UNC and was taking classes needed to get my degree. I'm not sure how Bock got my name
and phone number, but he called me one day to see if I wanted to be part of this baseball
movie in Durham. I was a Radio, Television, and Motion Picture major at UNC so I figured
I'd see how a movie was made up close and person. I reckoned the movie would be in
Blockbuster three weeks after it was released, but thought it'd be a great experience, nonetheless.

Pete and I hit it off right away. I was fascinated by his career in baseball that saw him
become the general manager of the Durham Bulls as well as the Hawaii Islanders, the former
AAA franchise of the Pittsburgh Pirates, a franchise Bock rooted for all the way up until his
death. There were also stops in Eugene, Oregon and Idaho Falls. He must've wondered when
the heck I'd stop with all the questions about his baseball career. I was like a sponge and
wanted to soak in all of his great stories.


With his extensive baseball background and ties to the Durham Bulls, Bock was a natural
fit to be the baseball consultant for "Bull Durham." He was in charge of coordinating baseball
boot camp, a two-week session where the actors really learned how to play. Bock also
chose which players he felt should do which scenes and also appeared as the minister in
the movie, marrying off Millie and Jimmy.

One evening, Pete tapped me on the shoulder and said, "Get a bat and your helmet and go
see Ron at home plate." Ron was Ron Shelton, the director of the movie. He told me that
Kevin Costner was going to tell me what pitch was coming and I was going to hit a home
run. Four pitches later, that was a wrap. 30 years later, I still get to say I hit a bomb off
Nuke LaLoosh.


Thank you, Pete Bock.

For some reason, Pete and I stayed in touch after the movie ended -for like, 28 years. I
criss-crossed the country for various jobs in television and we still managed to keep in touch.
Maybe it was because of the "Bull Durham" thing. Maybe it was because we were former
Tar Heels, I don't know. I will say this, Pete was a much bigger former Tar Heel than I could
ever dream of being. The man loved the Heels. Went to many games dressed in Carolina blue
gear from head-to-toe.  He was friends with Roy Williams and a big contributor to UNC and its
athletic programs.

In 2015, tragedy struck. After an ice storm hit North Carolina, Bock, who lived near Raleigh, 
slipped and fell in his driveway. His wife, Cindy, rushed to his side only to  fall and break her hip.


Bock hit his head in the fall and was paralyzed below the waist. In an instant, his life, which 

had been an amazing up until that point, was changed forever. Hearing this was like a punch 
to the gut that sucked nearly every ounce of oxygen from my entire body. It was sad, tragic, and seemingly so unfair. Anyone who has walked this earth long enough knows that life can 
be cruel and terrible tragedies occur everyday, but this just wasn't right.

Bock was universally loved and respected in a profession where both don't come easy. Besides
his extensive experience running minor-league teams,  Bock founded the Coastal Plain League, 
a collegiate baseball summer league that lists Kevin Youkilis and Justin Verlander among 
its alums.



Pete Bock was a baseball man through and through. But he was so much more than that.
He was a great father, husband, and family man who was very religious. I will never forget
his kind heart, infectious smile, and great laugh. His was a life well-lived. Pete leaves
behind a wonderful family and friends too many to count.

Pete Bock will be missed, but "Mr. Baseball" is in a great place right now, in Heaven, telling
amazing stories about his life and the game he loved.









k.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

THE GREATNESS OF JASON COOPER


As I was running in New Canaan on a sun-splashed Thursday afternoon, a Jeep Wrangler
with its top off, was waiting for the light to turn green at the intersection of South Avenue
and White Birch Road.  I recognized the mountain of a man in the driver's seat who made
the Jeep seem like a Tonka Toy. We had been football teammates at New Canaan High
School and college rivals, attending schools just eight miles apart in North Carolina.

With his mega-watt grin and booming voice, my old friend yelled out, "Devils!", which
brought a big smile to my face. Jogging past his Jeep, I bellowed out, "Big Coooooop!
You are still da man."

Two days later, Jason Cooper, an extraordinary athlete and an even better person, was gone.
He died of an apparent heart attack at the age of 52. His death sent shockwaves through this
bucolic town along Connecticut's Gold Coast.


Cooper was the man during his playing days at New Canaan High School. The football gods
seemingly poured him into a uniform and announced, "This is what a football player should
look like." Cooper was blessed with great size, strength, and immense hands that swallowed up nearly every ball thrown his way. He had a motor that never quit, playing through the whistle
while destroying everyone in his path. Cooper could've played any position on the field and
been named all-state at every one of them. He was that good and that talented. Cooper was
eventually named all-state at tight end while leading Lou Marinelli to the first of his 12
Connecticut championships.

Cooper was all-state in lacrosse as well. At 6'4" and 225 pounds, Coop was a man among boys
and virtually unstoppable playing attack for Coach Howard Benedict's New Canaan Rams.

After graduating from New Canaan, Cooper ascended to even greater heights at Duke
University where he played every single game through his junior year, catching 68 passes. He
also played on the Blue Devils lacrosse team for two years which is quite an amazing feat.


A broken ankle late in his senior year on the gridiron hurt Cooper's chances of being drafted,
but signed free-agent deals with the Miami Dolphins and Dallas Cowboys. However,
he never played in an NFL game.

I can go on and on about the great athlete Cooper was - there were few better in the history
of New Canaan sports - but that would take away from shining the light on the person Cooper
was. As tremendous as Coop was on the playing fields, he was even better off them. He was so humble, so giving, and such a loyal friend and teammate.


I used to get a chuckle when Coop would walk into a restaurant or bar with his close friends,
many of whom were much smaller than him (who wasn't?). They would always be in the lead
with this incredible hulk following close behind. They'd have confident looks on their faces,
ones that seemingly wanted to blurt out, "Hey, if you mess with us, then you'll have to mess
with Coop."

Incredibly gifted and extraordinarily accomplished, Cooper never bragged or started a sentence
by saying, "I did this...." or acted like he was better than others. Coop just wanted to be one
of the guys. He was a man's man whom women adored. Cooper was truly loved, admired,
and respected by everyone he came in contact with. We weren't best friends, but he always made
me and many others feel like we were.


On a hot summer night in 1988, I was in Durham playing in a Carolina League game for
the Lynchburg Red Sox. While in the on-deck circle, I heard a booming voice that was quite
familiar to me. "Hey, Devils!" I turned around and it was Coop with a few of his football
teammates at Duke. He had come down to see me play and just say hello. Two innings later,
I hit a grand slam for my first professional home run. Coop was going crazy. Next time I was
in the on-deck circle, he came down to see me and said, "We have to celebrate that one!"
And boy, did we ever. We went to Chapel Hill and closed the town down. Cooper wouldn't
let me pay for a thing and offered to take care of the fine for breaking curfew - which I did
after arriving back at the hotel close to 6 a.m.

That is one memory of Coop that I'll never forget.

While working at a gym one summer, the owner, who was getting rid of some Nautilus
equipment, told me that "if you can move it, you can have it." I needed the biggest and
strongest person in New Canaan to help me. That, of course, was Jason Cooper. When I
asked him, he didn't hesitate - and didn't expect anything in return for giving his time and extraordinary muscle.

That was Jason Cooper.

Cooper was an amazing guy who touched a lot of lives. He was blessed with extraordinary
gifts and used them to accomplish many amazing things.  Jason Cooper was a beautiful
human being-a great, great man who left this world far too soon.

We will never forget you, Coop.








Thursday, May 17, 2018

IF I HAD 10 MORE MINUTES WITH DAD


May 17, 2008.

It's been 10 years since Patrick Joseph Devlin took his last breath in this world. Sometimes it
seems like yesterday that my father died. Other days it feels like he's been gone for more than
a decade. The heart-searing pain that goes with losing a parent subsided a while ago, but on anniversaries, especially the 10th one, the floodgates of raw emotion open far and wide.

My father's death was not sudden, but it came far quicker than anyone in the family could've imagined. He had been battling Alzheimer's disease when he came down with pneumonia. He
went from the emergency room to hospice care in a blur and facing the inevitable became the
reality that we weren't quite ready for, even if his fate had been sealed with his diagnosis five
years earlier.

I was lucky,though, because I got to say good-bye to my father. Some people don't get that
opportunity because death is often sudden and there isn't even a chance to say one last, "I
love you."

I did.

My father was conscious but incoherent as I nestled up to him on his hospital bed to give him
one last hug, the kind he gave me countless times while I was growing up. As morphine
continued to drip from the IV next to his bed, I hugged him a little tighter, hoping to
provide a bit more comfort during the last difficult moments of his life.

I knew my father heard me when I thanked him for everything he gave to me and the entire
family. I know he felt the love, admiration, and respect I had for hm. My Dad was my hero.
A self-made man with the heart the size of Texas and a person who always put others ahead
of himself.

That was never more apparent during a visit I made to him about three weeks before his
death. I always came up from Rye, New York to see him on the weekends. One Saturday
afternoon he was at the kitchen table with the New York Times spread out in front of him.
I went over to see what he was reading and saw a bunch of circles in the classified section.

I asked him what he was doing and he told me he was looking for a job. I said, "Dad, you
don't need to work anymore."  He responded by saying something that nearly brought me
to my knees.

"I need to get a job so Mom is taken care of when I'm gone."

In the midst of his battle with Alzheimer's Disease, my father was thinking about the
well-being of others. That moment defined who Patrick Devlin was.

10 years after his death, I still think my father is going to come around the corner and give
me a big bear hug. When I'm in need of advice, I want to reach out to him and ask him what
I should do.

Man, if I just had 10 more minutes with Dad.

If I was granted a few extra moments with my father, I'd tell him that Mom has been a pillar
of strength since that fateful day in May a decade ago. It hasn't been easy, but Mom has
been amazing. Oh, she has her moments. As tough as she is, being alone as one gets older can
be a challenge. But Mom has never complained - instead she has been resilient, something
I know would make my Dad very proud.


I'd tell my Dad that he should be very proud of his daughter, Kara, and son, Patrick, who
followed his lead to become terrific parents. They've raised six remarkable kids, all of whom
inherited the a few character traits of their grandfather. Sergei, who is 12-years-old certainly
has my Dad's appetite and can crush a buffet with the best of them.



I'd tell my Dad how much I miss him. I'd tell him how correct he was in every piece of advice
that he gave me.

Most importantly, I'd tell my Dad how much I love him. You can never say that enough. Ever.





Friday, April 27, 2018

BRY-GUY: SELFIE KING TURNED CAFE MARTIN PITCHMAN


When it comes to selfies, Bryan Brennan is without equal. In a social media world polluted
with self-portraits, Brennan has managed to produce thousands of pictures of pure hilarity.
He can turn a frown into a smile with a simple picture and a post.


However, the Selfie King is proving that he's not a one-trick pony. The all-world photographer/
videographer who helped take NESN to a different level has morphed into a great pitchman.
Once obsessed with selfies, Brennan has devoted the last month calling on his friends, family
members and total strangers to purchase Café Martin baseball hats.


The baseball hats were produced to help promote the hottest spot in Boston and raise money
for John Martin, who was diagnosed with ALS in 2016. Brennan and Martin worked together
at NESN where they formed a special and unbreakable bond. Brennan and Martin, along with
Pat Gamere, weren't just videographers, they were amazing storytellers who helped the talent
and network look good - damn good.


Brennan has taken to social media to promote the Café Martin baseball hat with more passion
and determination than the Kardashians do in promoting their talentless selves. He reached
out to those he knows and even the thousands he doesn't. He is posting creative shots of the
Café Martin hat all over Boston - mostly at Fenway Park.  Brennan has encouraged, pleaded,
and all but begged people to buy the Café Martin baseball hat.


I'm sure many out there had thoughts of blocking or defriending Brennan on all their social
media vehicles, but the drive and determination of Brennan has paid off. As of this writing,
the Café Martin campaign has sold 210 hats and raised more than $4,000 for Martin's battle
with ALS. It was all possible because of Brennan's drive, commitment and love for Martin
and his family

Brennan, Martin, and Gamere were the three amigos at NESN - their dedication, commitment,
and passion for the jobs and network was off-the-charts. They are the best at what they do.
However, their talent is only surpassed by their friendship. They are as thick as thieves, forming
a friendship that can't be accurately measured or described. It's a beautiful thing to see.


Brennan's salesmanship is also pretty damn special. In a world of self-promoters, Brennan
has expended a great amount of time and energy promoting a great cause and the franchise
that is Café Martin.

Thank you, Bry-Guy, you're a helluva man.

Bill Titus, the Godfather of cameramen in Boston has also been a big help in promoting the
Café Martin hats. We had to make a special order to get a hat that fit Bill's dome and he loves
it. Bill has been in John's corner from day one and has to done a lot to make sure everybody
knows about Café Martin and what a great man John is.



Oh, yeah, Bryan and Bill wanted me to pass along the link so y'all can buy some more hats
to help out John Martin in his battle vs. ALS

https://www.customink.com/fundraising/jpm-legend?ref


Monday, March 19, 2018

WHITNEY GRUMMON: A BRIGHT LIGHT GONE FAR TOO SOON





Only the good die young.
                       
                                             -Billy Joel


Whitney Grummon was too sweet, too pretty, and just too damn good. Oh, sure, Whitney
had a bit of a wild side and was a free-spirit who spoke her mind, but she was a bright
light to all those who knew her during her days at New Canaan High School.

Unfortunately, she has left us far too soon. Whitney passed away recently after a brief battle 
with melanoma.

She was just 53-years-old. 

I met Whitney shortly after moving to New Canaan as a sophomore and we were both
part of the Class of 1982. She was a natural beauty with the high-cheekbones of a cover
girl and near perfect teeth that ignited her mega-watt smile. Whitney never called me by
my first name. It was just "Hey, Devlin," which always gave me a chuckle. Every
guy wanted Whitney to be their prom date. Every girl wanted her to be their best friend.

She was smart, funny, and someone who made a lasting impression on all the people she
came across. I never saw or heard much about Whitney after graduation. She had gone off
to the University of Colorado and that was pretty much all I knew until I ran into
her sister, Wilder, in Atlanta several years ago.

When I asked about Whitney, she told me our former classmate was out west teaching
English in high school. And teach she did.


Since 2010, Whitney was at Carmel High School in Aptos, California. She was the Chair
of the English department and the girls soccer coach, as well.

"I was drawn to the teaching profession because I wanted to help other people find their voice
and to articulate what they feel is important, " Whitney told Jaydon Zimmerman of The
Carmel Sandpiper during an interview in 2014.

Whitney was named Mentor of the Year as well as Teacher of the Year at Carmel High
School. She had an impact on nearly every one she came across.

"She takes everyone under her wing and treats everyone with the same kind-hearted
compassion and understanding," Olivia Doskey Mulvaney, a former student and a member
of the girls soccer team said about Whitney in 2014. "She's not only a mentor or teacher or
coach to her kids, she's a mother who cares about all aspects of their lives and wants to
help them grow and learn."

Whitney, right, and sister, Wilder.

Whitney's death has shaken Carmel High School as well as the entire New Canaan community.

Whitney LeGard Williams wrote in a Facebook post to Whitney's mother, Margot:

I moved to New Canaan in 10th grade and having the name Whitney had always been
a burden to me. No one knew what my name was. I had never met another until NCHS.
Your Whitney was so kind to me when others were not. I'll always remember her warm
smile and beautiful spirit. She was a good person and I think that while the rest of us
lost a bright light, heaven gained a good soul.

Steve Tonra, a good friend and classmate of Whitney remembers her as "smart, funny, fun,
beautiful -no drama and no BS."

Whitney was a beautiful person who touched so many lives. She was like a comet shooting
through the sky. Spectacular, but gone too soon. Everyone who saw and met her, will
never forget Whitney Grummon.

Good-bye, Whitney, you will be missed.

















Monday, March 5, 2018

I WAS BORN A JEWISH MUSLIM


Let's face it. Our society is reading less and less, unless, of course, the subject matter is on
social media where you can get all the news you can use in 140 characters or less. I know, I
know, Twitter doubled the number of characters to 280 last November but who are we kidding?
Nobody really wants to invest a lot of time and energy reading a lengthy story when most of
us believe we can ascertain everything about it just by reading the headline. 280 characters?
Man, that's like reading an entire book to some people.

When knowledge was indeed power, most of us acquired it by delving deep into books. That's
not the case in this A.D.D. world we live in where we swipe, scroll, and scan 100 stories to
get our information in what seems like 20 seconds or less so we have the ammunition needed
to comment on another ridiculous post about politics, gun control,  or religion, which no one
can possible be an expert on by reading a five-word headline or 140 characters on social media.

Oh, but I'm probably wrong about that since everyone has become experts about everything
because we read a paragraph or less on social media!

Once upon a time, we got our news and information from powerful news sources like the New
York Times, Washington Post,  Boston Globe and Los Angeles Times. They were credible,
trustworthy, and home to some of the greatest writers in the world. If something was reported
and printed in those papers, it was almost a stone-cold lock of being true.

Today, a good majority of our society gets a tsunami of news and information from Twitter
and Facebook where very little is ever right and a good majority of it just so ridiculous and
outlandish that most people with a smidge of common sense would, dare I say, LOL.

We hear about endless stories of Fake News, yet, most people still believe everything
they read - especially if it's on the Internet! We often tweet and re-tweet links to an article
without having fully read it, comprehended or figured  out if the body of it is close to
being the truth. Just as long as long as the headline appears to fit our narrative, well, that
is good enough for us.

Several months ago, during the height of the national anthem protests in the NFL which
were ignited by the kneel-down of Colin Kaepernick, there was a story spreading around
social media where the flight crew of the plane carrying the New Orleans Saints all took
a knee, refusing to take the team to its destination as a protest to the players' protest.



The article was fronted by a picture of a plane that appeared to be owned by the Saints,
complete with their name in big letters with the team's iconic quarterback, Drew Brees,
plastered on the side of the 747.

I couldn't stop laughing.

The comments posted beneath the article came in fast, furiously, and were freakin' incredibly
ridiculous:

"Yeah, that is awesome. Screw those players disrespecting the flag."

"Every flight crew everywhere should take a knee and tell the players to take a hike."

It was all highly-entertaining only because people were exposed for their extreme foolishness.

First of all, before this season, not a single NFL team owned their own plane. That changed
when Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, purchased not one, but two 767's
to fly his team to and from games.

Secondly, nobody would plaster a picture of Drew Brees on the side of a plane.

Thirdly, the news source was something called the FreakingShun. com. Google the story and it
also comes up on other sites like Snopes.com and Godzilla.com.

Yeah, those are three very credible new sources. Snopes.com? Love it!

I'm sorry. If you want to check the validity of an article, start by looking at the source.
If it's the website of the New York Times, Washington Post, or Chicago Tribune - there
is a decent chance of it being true. However, if it's from some wacky site called Freaking
Shun.com and doesn't have a reporter's name behind it, then it's trash.

If there isn't a single quote from anyone involved in the story - there's a good chance you've
been played. Yes, our society as a whole is reading less and less and we think for ourselves
even less than that.

In the never-ending question to get maximum clicks, standards and credibility of news
gathering operations have taken a hit - even ones like ESPN who have chased the clicks
and ratings by catering to the likes of LaVar Ball, a total buffoon whose only talent is his
big mouth. As for credibility, he has none.

The World-Wide Leader in Sports seems to have dipped into the Fake News pool in an
effort to gain attention or go 'viral' which seems to be ridiculously important in our society
today. In February, ESPN cast their line with the biggest name in sports, Lebron James, who
is a magnet on social media. 


ESPN.com used a headline saying the King James could be on his way to Golden State
next year if they created cap-room for him. Knowing we are a society that gets hooked by
a headline, ESPN accomplished what they set out to do. They created a huge buzz and
won the Internet that day. Anyone who bothered to read the second paragraph, would've
known the story was pure garbage:

                 "There is no indication that Golden State is evaluation such option to
                   acquire the Cleveland Cavaliers star at this time."

So, if there was no indication that Golden State is evaluating such an option then where the
hell did it come from? Lebron? Cleveland? Donald Trump? Good, Lord. Why would anybody
buy this garbage? Simple. Most people just read the headline and ran with it. Our society buys
headlines all the time.

As for me being born a Jewish Muslim? Well, go ahead and believe what you read and don't
bother thinking for yourself, either. You are probably in good company.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

FIVE YEARS DRY: WHY I QUIT DRINKING


February 10, 2013.

That was the last time I voluntarily drank poison.

For those keeping score at home, that's 1,825 days without alcohol. No sips, shots, or
supercharged funnels at a tailgate before an NFL game. No Jack with Ginger or Tom
with his good friend Collins for five entire years.

My liver loves me and the scale no longer spits out  big crooked numbers that had
me screaming to the heavens, "What the f#*k?!!!"

It's all good. Real good.

When I tell people I don't drink, the usual response is, "Do you have a problem?" And
before I can respond with the smallest negative word in the digital dictionary, I get
ambushed with the, "Are you in AA?" thing.


After ordering a cranberry and seltzer, the bartender gives me the look, the nod, and
asks, "Are you a friend of Bob?"

No, no, and no with an exclamation point.

I realize that's our society. Thinking and almost hoping for the juiciest piece of gossip that
becomes fuel to keep pace in this social-media driven world. Sorry, folks. I never had a
problem.

Five ago today, I gave up alcohol along with bread, butter, baked goods, ice cream,
candy, and pizza. Pretty much anything that was poison to the human body, I gave up.

The original plan was to give it up for the Lenten season, which starts with Ash Wednesday.
I was so anxious to clean up and clean out my system, I began my mission the Sunday before
it.

Getting through the six weeks of Lent was a breeze, so I went without some of life's guilty
pleasures for the next 10 months. That's right. No cookies, candy, bread, pizza, ice cream
---and most importantly, alcohol, for almost a year.


I started working out like a maniac, completing seven half-marathons in preparation for
the grand daddy of them all, the New York City Marathon. Man, I felt great. Those early-
morning alarm clocks were like music to my ears. Yep, jump out of a bed for a 10-mile
run.

It's all good.

I wanted to continue my journey without alcohol so I signed up for an Ironman. I more or
less used training for a 140.6 mile event as an excuse not to drink. "Hey, Paul,
you want a Jack & Coke?"

"No, thank you. I'm training for an Ironman. That's a 2.4 mile swim, a 112-mile bike
ride, and a 26.2.  Nope, can't do it." Whatever it takes.


Not one, not two, but four Ironman events later, I still haven't had an ounce of alcohol. And I
don't think I ever will again.

Oh, life has kicked my ass many a time over the last five years. Ripped my heart, soul, and a
few other things out along the way. It would've been easy to give in and tie one on, so to speak.
Could've medicated myself to take the pain away for a night and  just forget about everything
for a while.

That's the easy thing to do. With Jim (Beam) and Jack (Daniels) staring me in the face,
ready to soothe my soul and bandage whatever ailed me, I just said, "Whatever,
it's not worth breaking the streak."


(Huge: definitely when I was drinking)


Sure, Peyton Manning can ask me over to drink a lot of Budweiser and hum the
Nationwide jingle, but I'm not going to give in. A Papa John's pizza, yes, because I'm
indulging in that again, as well as bread every once in a while. An ice cold
Budweiser? Um, no.

The streak has become kind of sacred to me. I don't count the days, but I always
remember February 10th as the anniversary. 2-10 is a good number and is just about
what I tip the scales at now which is what I weighed as a senior in college when
I was drinking them big 'ole blue cups of beer at "He's Not Here" in Chapel Hill.


I have friends who've tripled my abstinence streak for alcohol and I sincerely
applaud them. I discovered what they have: alcohol is an unnecessary evil. There is nothing
good about it. 

People can judge me all they want for not drinking. They can think whatever they want,
as well. I do not care one iota.

I never had a problem. Ever. I didn't start drinking until I got to college and regret that
I ever did. It is the single biggest waste of time, money, and poison to your body and
mind in society today.

I do often wonder if nobody ever drank. I wonder how much money this country
would've saved in lawyers, court costs, and civil suits. I wonder how much property
damage and bodily harm could've been avoided.


I wonder how many marriages and families could've been saved if over-consumption
of alcohol didn't result in infidelity, unwanted pregnancies, and the like.

I wonder about the pain that goes with the death of a loved one because of a DUI. I wonder
about the nightmare parents experience when getting a call from a university president
telling them their 19-year-old daughter died at  a sorority party because she consumed
so much alcohol her heart stopped.

And I wonder about the embarrassment a parent feels when they learn their son away at
school got so intoxicated, he lost his mind and killed a girlfriend.

Yep, it happens nearly every day in this country. Don't believe me? Google is just
a few clicks away.

I have friends with kids just entering the work force and enjoying the spoils of a
big city. I've heard them complain about $10 beers and the tab a night of drinking
adds up to and the hangovers they endure.

I don't preach, but I try to tell them the quicker they learn that alcohol serves absolutely
no purpose, the better off they'll be, physically, mentally, and financially.

I do not judge and I don't like to make it seem like I'm standing at the pulpit. But
drinking is not a sport. You don't get medals or win anything for doing it. Nobody's
obituary has ever read, "Yeah, but that boy sure could drink."

Drinking is a badge of nothing. Not courage, not manhood, not toughness.

One way or another, it catches up to you. The only way you can outrun it, is to quit.

And trust me, it's not a hard thing to do, even at my age.