So if there was a glaring omission in my WWCS post about teachers, it was these 3: Mr. Lesko, Mr. Michels, and Mr. Fazzari.
There were some subtle oversights from middle school that I realized upon reflection , the biggest of which was Mr. Poole (god rest his soul), senorita Sarah the 6th grade Spanish teacher who was only there for one year, and the ever popular campus minister Mr. Glatt.
But the 1st Triumvirate were not just teachers, they were my basketball coaches and thus, occupy a completely different sphere of influence in my life. (My apologies to Todd Kimble, who would be Cicero to Caesar, Pompeii and Crassus.)
This is one of the most profound influences on my life. It encompasses many many different people. I thought the effort to write a post long enough to include everyone I wanted would be way too long to expect anyone to read. So I decided to try and just record a video addressing each person quickly off the top of my head. The result is a video so long I had to split it in two. I cover the school system at large in the first, and my graduating class specifically in the 2nd.
Sunday May 31st, 1980, a day that will live in Infamy. This video explains why. Its by the Smithsonian Institute. Its nice and scientific. Educational. Fascinating. Nerdy.
It's like reading a text book.
But wait..... you might ask "you weren't even born until 1981, how could some thing that happened before you were even born be a greatest influence of the last 40 years?"
In the original 30 for 30 I did this as Teddy Riley and Dr. Dre in a tie for #23 on the count down. I still think that Teddy Riley as the poster boy of New Jack Swing and Dr Dre as an emblem for the hip hop of the early 90’s appropriately encapsulates the music that has influenced me. However at this time I want to also acknowledge the heritage of that music back to Motown, funk, classic R and B music etc, as my appreciation for the genres has expanded with age, and, lets be honest, the early 90’s sound was a fad. It has some classic staying power, but it’s all very “dated” and definitely not timeless, where as I would argue much of the black musical heritage that came before it is timeless. And an old skool old soul like me appreciates classic and timeless and tends to ignore and discredit the new and trendy. But not when I was 10 years old.
So as much as I would like to share my many thoughts on the artist’s intentions, motivations and execution of each of my many many favorite songs, I know nobody cares. So I will just link to YouTube videos of my favorite artists and songs from the period and genre. (Your welcome!)
But first I will hazard a brief comment on the elephant in the room, and in current American society......
About the time my baby brother was born my family moved into anew house. In this house I was finally old enough to play outside by myself. The problem was I wasn’t really I to sport or running around outside. I was mostly interested in playing with my He-man toys and Construx. I would remain a bit of a homebody until I broke my leg as shown in the post on #35. But the exception to that rule was Brody Quiggle.
Brody was my neighbor. We had adjoining back yards that we could run back and forth in. I don’t quite know how we met. I kind of think our parents might have done a play date. But You take two 5 year old boys and put them together and they are likely going to be friends. And that is what we were
Growing up most kids have superhero’s they idolize and aspire to be like. Batman, Superman. GI Joe. Astronauts, Race car drives and Knight Rider. Navy seals, Cowboys, Detectives, cops, and Spies. Even Indiana Jones, or Luke Skywalker were heros in the struggle of good vs evil . My hero, or idol, as in the person I aspired to be like to keep the world safe (#38 aside) was MacGyver.
Angus MacGyver as portrayed by Richard Dean Anderson in the show of the same name was a hero, but also kind of an anti-hero. The heroic self sacrificing part was there, but not the overt strength, and thirst for danger. If anything Mac was always stumbling into bad situations on accident. An accidental hero who really just wants to take a nap, eat a veggie burger and play hockey, Monday’s at 8/7 central on ABC.
This one will be short and sweet.
My first “friends” that I can actually remember were Mitchell and Matthew Brownfield.
They were twins.
Which means I got 2 friends for the price of one.
So here we have the first 40 for 40 that was an original 30 for 30. I think what I said in the 30 for 30 pretty much stands up for the last 10 years. Of course there was a recent surge of Jordan hysteria thanks to the recent Last Dance documentary on ESPN. I watched the 10 part series as religiously and as excitedly as anyone. But while the miniseries was billed as “never before seen inside look at Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls,” I’m not sure I actually learned anything new. Growing up I read every Michael Jordan biography, basketball card, and magazine article. I watched every highlight video and documentary. I actually was hoping to learn more about the other Bulls in the documentary. I learned things about Pippen, Rodman, Kukoc, and Kerr. But all the Jordan stuff was pretty much old news. Except for the flu game actually being bad pizza/food poisoning, that I had not heard before. I was kind of bored and disappointed at the supposed controversies and conversations after each episode.
Everyone always has a “best friend.” That one person you identify above all others. And it has no objective criteria. It doesn’t have to be your oldest friend, or the friend you have known the longest, or the person you have the most in common with. It doesn’t even mean the person you trust the most as plenty of best friends exist in kind of a hazy rivalry and exploitation territory were, where you expect them to take your money, steal your girlfriend/boyfriend, and leave you hanging in a Mexican Jail cell, and then simultaneously expect they would take a bullet for you or cut off a foot a la Saw for you and so you trust them with your life, even though you may not trust them with anything else. Usually forged by random circumstances and chance encounters, there is no rhyme or reason for any particular pairing. Best friends are Best friends, period.
My Best Friend is Casey Richard.
Now the temptation for me here is to just start telling stories from our childhood together. Particularly ones that are cherry picked to embarrass him, which is exactly what Casey did for his best man toast at my wedding. But my intention here is to demonstrate the profound impact my Best Friend has had on the first 40 years of my life,...........
and embarrass him in the process.
Growing up as a kid in the 80’s I pretty much had no choice but to become a He-man fan. Thanks to the culture of cartoons and the billion dollar (Even in 80’s terms, hate to think what the numbers would be in today’s terms, accounting for inflation) toy market, He-man was literally designed as the bait in a trap for young boys like me. Through the cartoons, comics, books, bed sheets, movies and every other avenue possible He-man and the masters of the Universe was broadcast into my awareness and I of course was powerless to resist. Now days, “the product is the marketing” and every detail of a product is designed and tailored to a specific demographic. But before He-man is was kind of the other way around. People created movies or books or what ever, and then they had to find ways to make them into toys and find ways to appeal to the general population. Star Wars was the quintessential example and it was The fact that Mattel passed on making Star Wars toys that led them to invent a line of toys and media they could mass market. And the result was He-man and the Masters if the Universe. This was a product line designed specifically to ensnare me, the little American boy, and ensnare me it did!
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