Sunday, June 1, 2014


Mark Rearick is a New Canaan institution, as much a part of the bucolic Connecticut town
as Gates, God's Acre, and the great little station that trains Wall Street sharks, blue chip
CEO's, and corporate lawyers to and from New York City every day.

But in late June, Rearick, who is known to everybody in town as  "2-5-0",  a name given to
him when he tipped the scales at that number as a senior in high school, will head to North
Carolina with his wonderful wife, Diane, and put New Canaan in his rearview mirror. He
is retiring to the Tar Heel state for the next chapter of his wonderful life.

While the footprints he makes on the beaches of Wilmington will be swept away by the
waves of the Atlantic almost as soon as he makes them, the impact 2-5-0 made on
the people and the entire town of New Canaan will never be rinsed out. Ever.

2-5-0 is 'old school' New Canaan through and through and if  he had a food label pasted on
him it would read, "100 percent all-natural, no artificial ingredients added." He's as genuine
of a person as they come and a refreshingly unselfish character in a world often filled with
selfie-obsessed, self-absorbed people whose first question  seems to be, "what's in it
for me?"

2-5-0 not only graduated from the high school in town, but worked and coached there for
42 years. He was hired by the late, great athletic director Joe Sikorski in 1972 to operate the scoreboard during the basketball season and never left, helping countless students and athletes
through the often trying years of high school.

During his career at New Canaan High School,  2-5-0 coached a lot of different sports and
ruled the cafeteria. He wasn't the in-your-face, spray Red Man tobacco juice on your shirt-
type of guy Bo Hickey, another character and coach is, but 2-5-0 always told it like it was
and few people dared to cross his line.

I transferred into New Canaan High School as a sophomore and like so many students and
athletes, I gravitated toward the mountain of a man who put the "barrel" in barrel chest. He
reminded me of Merlin Olsen, the former NFL Hall of Fame lineman and broadcaster, in size,
intelligence, and towering presence. And yes, he even sported the heavy beard like good
ole Merlin that became one of his trademarks.

2-5-0 seemed to coach everything and New Canaan High School, but baseball was his
true passion and sport. He lived it, breathed it, and knew as much about the game as
anybody not named LaRussa, Torre, or Bobby Cox.

He started  the Babe Ruth program and probably coached, in some way, every kid who picked
up a a baseball in town. 2-5-0 is, was, and always will be New Canaan baseball. His impact
on the sport was that big.

And yes, there was "Chicken Street", a softball team in town he founded that was the New
York Yankees of the softball leagues in the area. It was a dynasty. Heck, I don't know how
many championships we won, but I'm certain we had more fun than 99 percent of the beer
leagues in the enitre country. If 2-5-0 asked you to play for "Chicken Street", it was considered
a pretty special honor.

Several years ago, 2-5-0 was honored for all he did for New Canaan baseball. People came
from all over the state to pay tribute to 2-5-0. I don't remember how many games and
championships they said 2-5-0 won and it didn't matter.  The love, admiration, and respect all
his former players, opposing coaches, administrators, and umpires showed 2-5-0 with was
enough to give you chills. The man is truly, truly loved by so many people.

And that's what it's all about. Nobody remembers the wins, trophies, or final records. It's the
impact you make on others and few people in the history of New Canaan High School have
touched as many lives as 2-5-0.

There will never be another 2-5-0, that's for sure.

New Canaan today is far different than the one many of us grew up in. It has become
extraordinarily wealthy and  now home to celebrities like Harry Connick, Jr. Paul Simon,
 NBC's Brian Williams, Chris "Mad Dog" Russo, and high-powered CEO's like General
Electric's Jeff Immelt and ESPN's George Bodenheimer.

2-5-0 is "our" celebrity, a New Canaan original who has, in a small way, connected so
many people to the town's past. He is a walking history book who knows just about
everybody who has passed through the tony town of 19, 000 and all the events and things
that helped make it a very special place.

I recently took a picture of 2-5-0 at the New Canaan High School and posted it on Facebook.
The response I received was swift and plentiful, many people chipping in with their thoughts
on 2-5
    • Stacey Smith Great man!

    • Vikki Stone Corliss Congrats to him!

    • Tina Swallow Gaines Wow! A true nchs legend!

    • Holly Nichols LOVE HIM

    • Perry Seelert Wow, the Fiver was a legend, who I vividly remember playing for in Freshman baseball and basketball......the belt was the "indicator" for any baseball signal!

    • Heather Bowler Now there is a name I haven't thought of in decades ! Best of luck to 2-5-0. !

    • Whitney LeGard Williams I see him regularly at the HS. He's still so cheerful, loves to chat about the good old days, and loves the kids. It's incredible to me that he could still be there, and yet, I won't be able to imagine it without him…I hope he retires somewhere that has a great baseball team!

    • Jason E. Green My freshman basketball coach, thank you for everything. We only lost one game that year, a great man!!!

    • Paul Karl Fiver - all the best to a true original and more importantly to a caring and compassionate coach and educator that "made a difference".

    • Samantha Loomis He is the best! Hope you can somehow share these great comments with him, he deserves to see them!

    • Laura Celaya Wilson A truly wonderful man! I am sad that my freshman son won't get to see him all 4 years at NCHS!

    • Billy Jalbert Wow...what a run. Congratulations 2-5-0...and enjoy your retirement.             

      Many of us will never achieve great wealth, but those with New Canaan ties
      are far richer for having met and known a person like 2-5-0.

      2-5-0, you are the best! You will be missed.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014


I am proud.

My kid sister turns 40-something today and I've never be more proud of her and the person
she has become than I am right now.

No, Kara is not the CEO of a Fortune 500 company,  a movie star, or anybody famous, for
that matter. She is much more than that.

Kara is a mother who has raised four incredible children, all unique in their own way. She is
the loving wife of Chad who has given her the great life she richly deserves.

And she is my sister. An incredible one.

Kara has  always been there for me through the trying times, and there have been many of
them over the last several years. She has been my Dr. Phil, the one to  make a call, drop a
note of encouragement or kick me in the ass when I needed it.

That's my sister, Kara, who when growing up, was so much like my father: tough, driven,
resilient, but with a huge heart and a great sense of humor to match. It was that drive and
mental  toughness that helped her become a world-class swimmer and an All-American at
both Florida and USC.

But a funny thing happened to Kara almost as soon as she hung up her goggles and retired
from the sport. She morphed into my mother. Kara became so unselfish, thoughtful, and
giving. She put everybody else before herself. Never asked for anything and would not only
give you the shirt off her back, but the sweater, coat and scarf, as well.

Oh, she didn't lose my father's toughness or drive, it just became camouflaged by her
kindness,  thoughtfulness, and spirit. And that sense of humor passed on from my father
hasn't gone anywhere. It just seems to have gotten stronger. Kara is one helluva funny girl.
She is also a fitness junkie, who after four kids, has a six-pack and has the body fat of
welterweight fighter.

Kara is not perfect. She sometimes talks like she knocked off a case of Red Bull for
breakfast. When she's on the phone, the words often come out so fast, I have to get
a translator from the United Nations to figure out what the hell she is saying.

Other than that, Kara is truly amazing.  An amazing mother, wife, and friend. She is my
sister and I admire her so much.

Happy Birthday, Kara, you are the best!

Thursday, April 17, 2014


Carlos Arredondo wasn't the only hero to rise up in the Boston Marathon bombing,
but he became the most famous one.

First responders, doctors, surgeons, and ordinary people acted quickly to save
lives on that terrible April day a year ago, but it was the man in the cowboy hat
who became the face of courage and everything that was good on a day destroyed by
an evil act.

Some would say Arredondo was in the "right place at the right time" as a photographer
clicked what would become an iconic image of him rushing Jeff Bauman to medical
care, but there is nothing right about an event that killed three innocent people and
maimed so many others.

But if everything, indeed, does "happen for a reason," then nobody can ever resent
Arredondo for being the one to carry the torch and for the hundreds of heroes who
emerged that day and morphing into the celebrity he has become.

Arredondo deserves everything is he is getting and then some.

In the decade leading up to the 2013 Boston Marathon, he had been in the darkest of
places, experiencing pain and tragedy that no man, or parent should ever have to endure.

In 2004, Arrendondo lost a 20-year old son to the war in Iraq. Seven years later, his
other son took his own life, unable to bear the searing pain of losing a brother and best friend.

No parent should ever have to bury their own child,  doing it twice seems just so
unimaginable, not to mention unfair. Think about the pain, mental anguish, and the
guilt that arises from not being able to save or help either one of your children. Two
beautiful children that you helped bring into this world gone, in an instant.

When Arredondo was sitting in the stands near the finish line last year, he did so in
that cowboy hat. In a city where nearly every resident has a Red Sox hat, this guy was
in a cowboy one. He stood out like a Boston accent in a high school's French club.

Arredondo was there cheering on some members of his son's battalion who were
running in the race. How many times do you think he thought about his son killed
in the war and the other one who took his own life because of it?

Then, it was as if God touched him on the shoulder and said, "Carlos, this is your
moment. I have tested you long and hard enough. This is your time to shine."

Carlos came out of his personal darkness and became a hero. When a sudden catastrophic
event occurs, different people act in different ways. Some become paralyzed with fear
and do nothing.

Others become like Forest Gump and just start running until they don't feel like
running anymore.

It's hard to blame anybody for they act in those moments of terror, but it's easy to
admire, adore, and appreciate the people like Arredondo who show tremendous courage
and save a life.

Arredondo, like so many other first responders did everything right that day, and
deserves to be rewarded. He is more famous than all the rest, but there isn't a person,
even if this sometimes petty, jealous, and resentful world, that has a problem with it.

Carlos Arredondo is a true hero. It may never extinguish the blaze of personal pain he
suffers everyday, the result of losing his own flesh and blood, but I hope it has given
him great joy and satisfaction that he saved many others from experiencing the
mind-boggling pain he's had to endure.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


April 15, 2013.

That was the day that two bombs rattled the core of Boston and brought the world class city
to its knees. There was death and destruction thanks to a deliberate act of terrorism by brothers
who were filled with anger and hell bent on making other people's lives as miserable as theirs.

In the hours after the bombings, I heard more than a few Bostonians say their town, their city,
and their marathon would never be the same, as if those two bombs destroyed everything.

Those pessimists were partially right---Boston isn't the same as it was before the bombs
went off. Today, 365 days after one of the worst moments in its storied history, Boston is
stronger, much stronger than it was before those homemade bombs detonated.

It was a great city before April 15, 2013, now, because of its strength and resiliency, Boston is
far beyond being just great. It is spectacular.

I lived in Boston on two different occasions.  I occupied an apartment on Newbury Street,  the
next one over from Boyleston Street and less than 1,000 yards from where the blood was shed
and people died or were maimed for life. I knew all about the heart, soul, and mind of the city.

Boston had been a tough as nails city before those bombs went off on Patriots Day, one of the
biggest holidays in New England. People in Boston rarely want any help from anybody, especially from an outsider. They may reluctantly give you the shirt off their backs just as long as you make
sure it's dry-cleaned when you return it.

They don't have time for small talk and if you don't worship at the altar of the Red Sox, Patriots,
Celtics, and Bruins, you're invisible to them. And Lord help you if you ever utter a bad word
about Tom Brady, Bobby Orr, Larry Bird, or Ted Williams. It that happens, be prepared to fight.

However, the soul of Boston was scorched on April 15, 2013. The entire region was shattered
and emotions were as raw as a cold night in February. Their town was damaged, their people
were killed, and their brothers and sisters were maimed for life.

For just a short time, Boston let its guard down. They showed the world they were hurting. But
if anyone thought the bombings would weaken the city,  they were sadly mistaken. We saw the
strength of the city well-before the smoke from the bombs had vanished into thin air.

First responders responded in a way that few have ever done in a life-changing catastrophic
event. Heroes like Carlos Arredondo, the man in the cowboy hat who suffered his own
personal tragedy losing two sons, one in military action, the other from suicide.

It's easy to ask how much pain can one man handle? But Arrendondo put his personal pain
aside and ran to aid others, not knowing if another bomb would go off and take him.

Arredondo saved Jeff Bauman, whose legs were shredded. He pinched a gushing artery to
keep Bauman from bleeding to death. In a world dearth of heroes, Arredondo was a knight
in shining armor.

More than 15 people who were enjoying marathon Monday, woke up with limbs missing,
their lives changed forever. But they have battled through emotional and physical pain to
try and resume their  life's journey.

They showed much more courage, fight, and will than the athletes on the professional
teams in town can only dream of.  They inspired us, moved us, and made us appreciate the
human will and spirit like never before.

April 15, 2013 ripped Boston apart for short period, but a year later, the city is stronger than
it has ever been. Ever.

It is not Boston Strong, but Boston Stronger. The city is better than its ever been, and next
Monday, the Boston Marathon will be the greatest marathon on American soil--bar none.

People are running in this race to raise money for charity and just to be part of the healing
and reconstruction process. It will be the most watched, most covered, and most exciting
marathon this country has ever seen.

And it's Boston's Marathon. That will always be the case. However, this year, it will be better
than it has ever been. Ever. Just like the city itself.

Monday, February 24, 2014


Long before people amused themselves and punctuated every text with LOL, Harold Ramis
blessed us all with his creative genius. Thanks to his imagination, "Animal House," "Caddyshack",
"Stripes',  and "Ghostbusters" became instant classics that made us laugh out loud
 over and over and over again.

Ramis died on Monday, bringing sadness to many who got so much joy and comic relief from
his movies. He gave us Otter, the Gopher  and that psycho marine, who if you called him Francis,
he'd kill you.

There was Flounder, Niedemeyer, (Dead!),  Lacy Underalls, and even Sergeant Hulka. I often
said to myself in wonderment, "Who the hell makes all this stuff up?" And it was usually Ramis.
He was to comedic writing what Zuckerberg is to algorithms: brilliant, pure brilliant.

Ramis wrote or co-wrote the aforementioned classics, in addition to National Lampoons,
"Vacation", "Groundhog Day", and "Analyze This." I watched a documentary about the
making of "Caddyshack" which Ramos also directed. That was a film no big shot in Hollywood
wanted any part of, the feeling was that it was going to be an epic disaster.

Ramis said most of the actors and crew shot all day and partied all night, with many folks
arriving for work coming straight form a house party. A majority of the movie was made up
on the fly, and you know that gopher? Yep, that gopher was added long after most of the actors
had gone home for good after Ramis said, "That's a wrap."

"Caddyshack" worked because of Ramis and his genius. A movie that many expected bomb
at the box office became one of its greatest and most profitable hits.

30 years after "Caddyshack" and "Animal House", people can still recite many of the lines
from them. There is the "Cinderella story!", "It's in the hole!,"  "Did we give up when the
Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?", "That's fact, Jack," and "fat, drunk, and stupid is no way
to go through life."

Ramis went through most of his life making us laugh. I can only imagine the amount of
fun he had on the sets of "Caddyshack", "Animal House", "Stripes" and "Vacation". Nobody
would've been surprised if he himself, died from laughter.

I was surprised today when I heard Ramos passed away from a rare disease in his blood
vessels. He was 69 years old. I'm not sure he ever put LOL at the end of his text, but it'd be appropriate if they put it on his tombstone because that's what he made most of us do, over and
over and over again.