Friday, January 29, 2016


"The greatest tribute to the dead is not grief but gratitude."
                                                                                    -Thornton Wilder

Tim Murphy died Friday morning after a hard-fought battle against cancer. He was just

For all those who knew Murphy from his hometown of New Canaan, CT., he was the type
of guy you wanted to hang out with, confide in, and call a great friend. Murphy was a kind
and gentle soul who had three great loves: his wife, Kimberly, hockey, and his career as
a Norwalk police officer.

Murphy had a sterling and impeccable career protecting and serving a city that bordered
his hometown of New Canaan, but one that was far more dangerous than the tony-town
town he grew up in.

On February 26 of last year, Murphy turned in his badge and retired from the police force
after 33 honorable and distinguished years as a man dressed in blue.

Two days later, Murphy was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer.

It all seemed so cruel, so unfair, and just so wrong. Murphy, whose only mean streak
surfaced while crushing an opponent during a game of men's hockey, was the nicest
of guys, one who would not only give you the shirt off his back but his entire wardrobe,
as well.

Murphy fought the good fight, battling a disease that rarely loses. As I saw pictures of
Murphy posted on Facebook over the course of the last year, I was convinced he was
going to beat cancer.

Friday morning, I was stunned to learn he did not. Murphy passed away at his home in
Florida, taken away from us far too soon.

I choose not to grieve his death, but rather show him my gratitude for all he did for
others in his life. Murphy served a community for more than 30 years, knowing with the
inherent dangers of it, every day could very well be his last.

I am grateful for the times we spent together at the gym, on the streets of New Canaan,
and during work as I spent a good deal of time covering Norwalk and the police beat as
a news reporter. He always put a smile on my face with a good story or made me
laugh with a good clean joke.

Tim Murphy was the best. A man with a heart of gold and an incredible spirit. He was
one of the great ones, a person who touched the lives of many and one who will never
be forgotten.

Rest in peace, Tim Murphy, you deserve it.

Monday, January 11, 2016


It took only one moment to rinse away the stink from Saturday's night's game between
the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals. When Bud Grant walked to mid-field
for the coin toss of the Seattle-Minnesota playoff game Sunday, all was good again
in the NFL.

Grant is the former Vikings coaching legend who drove his teams to four Super Bowls.
He looked like a coach out of central casting with a chiseled face, steely-blue eyes, and
the demeanor of a bad ass.

Grant retired from coaching in 1985 after 18 seasons with the Vikings. The all-time wins
leader in team history hasn't been seen much since then, and there were even many who
actually thought he had passed away.

On Sunday, Grant was 'The Revenant', making his return after a long time away from
the game and national spotlight. The return Grant made was the stuff of Hollywood

The 88-year-old Minnesota icon was the honorary captain for the Vikings, showing up
for the third coldest game in NFL history. At -6 degrees and with a wind-chill factor
of -25, the sell-out crowd showed up in five layers and Parkas. There may have been
a flask or two of Jack Daniels buried underneath all the clothing, as well.

Yet, there was Bud Grant in a polo shirt. Yep, just a thin shirt to protect him from the
bone-chilling temperatures.  How tough is he? How great is that?

Grant has always been tough as nails and expected his players to be the same. When he coached
the Vikings and Old Man Winter took up residence in the Land of 10,000 lakes, Grant
didn't allow heaters on the sidelines for his team. Man up, he told his players, those who
are mentally tough don't let the weather affect them.

Grant knew how to deal with the antartic-like conditions, that's for sure. He coached
the Winnipeg Bombers of the Canadian Football League for 10 years, winning the title
four times before landing a job with the Vikings.

Sunday was a return of sorts for Grant, who went to the University of Minnesota where he
played three sports. After college, Grant played in the NBA for the Minnesota Lakers
and in the NFL with Philadelphia Eagles. He is the only person to  play in the NFL
and NBA. When the Winnipeg Bombers opened a new stadium in 2014, they unveiled
a statue of him. Bud Grant is a god.

Leonardo DiCaprio stars in 'The Revenant", which means a return from a long absence.
During filming, DiCaprio and the crew were in Calgary with sub-zero temperatures, going
take-after-take in some brutally tough scenes.

When I saw Grant come out in a -25 wind chill factor in a polo shirt, I thought for sure
he could've played DiCaprio's character in "The Revenant" because Bud Grant is just
that kind of tough.

They certainly don't make them like Bud Grant anymore.

Thursday, January 7, 2016


Maureen Sloan.

She was one of the first girls I met when I walked into Deerpath Junior High School
in the fall of 1977. Our family had moved to Lake Forest, Illinois and as a 13-year-old kid,
I was starting over in a new town, a new school, and challenged to make new friends.

Maureen was one of my first friends in my new school. She was one of  the prettiest girls
in Lake Forest who seemed wise beyond her years. She was smart, sweet, and seemed to
have the beginning of real life figured out well before the rest of us.

I had a mad crush on Maureen Sloan, too. She didn't return the crush. As I mentioned,
she was wise beyond her years. :)

Maureen was one of the truly incredible people I met during my short stay in Lake
Forest. Our family moved back East after just two years. It was an amazing place
where I forged friendships that still remain strong today.

Thanks to Facebook, I reconnected with Maureen nearly 38 years after first meeting
her. Man, when I write "38 years" it doesn't seem real. Has life gone by this quickly?
Despite the time that accumulated between our last conversation, Maureen and I had
an easy time picking up right where we left off.

She seemed happy in her first year of life after 50. There had been demons that many
of  us face through this journey of life, but it seemed as though she had overcome
them and enjoying herself. That was evident in a text she wrote to former
classmate and good friend, Lisa Pharris.

As I was browsing through Facebook a few days ago, a short blurb caught my eye:
Maureen Sloan R.I.P.

I was hoping against hope it wasn't the Maureen Sloan I knew from Lake Forest in 8th
grade. I went to her Facebook and I read posts confirming that it was.

Maureen Sloan, 51, was hit by a car on New Year's Eve while crossing a busy
street in Sarasota, Florida. Gone tragically and way too early. She was loved and
had an impact on many of her friends, as many posts on her Facebook page indicated.

"I LOVED Maureen Sloan...I am so incredibly sad to hear of this horrible news...
My First friend at LFHS...A TRULY dear and gorgeous soul...You will be missed.
CANNOT believe this....! "  --Maria Salidas.

"RIP Maureen Sloan you truly impacted my life, many serious chats we shared
and how often you comforted me.... I will never forgot you or that beautiful smile....
Such a genuine, strong woman. Say hello to my brother up there!" ---Julie Hilliker

Maureen Sloan, you were truly loved. Anyone who met you, admired and respected
you. Good-bye, Maureen, you will be missed.