Monday, January 19, 2009

The Victorious Neighborhood Hero Returns

The Year of the Impossible Dream continues to churn out miracles. The squad that has been called the worst team ever to make the play offs is going to the Super Bowl. One of the fans at the game was wearing a t-shirt with the words FINALLY, A COLD DAY IN HELL. The grizzled old quarterback teamed up with Superman, Larry Fitzgerald to make it happen one more time, connecting for four touch downs. And of course there’s our neighborhood hero, Antonio Smith, the heart and soul of the tenacious strong right side defense.

It’s worth mentioning another miracle manifested itself when my wife sat next to me and watched the entire game. This woman is not a sports fan. I once asked her how many players she thought each team put on a basketball court. Her answer was, “I don’t know fifteen, twenty?” My wife is a football fan today.

The neighborhood went ballistic when the game ended. There was cheering and fireworks. A representative of the Chandler local police department showed up. Clearly, he was the one guy on the street who wasn’t celebrating. I told him the neighborhood was doubly excited because Antonio is a resident. He looked me dead in the eye and sounding exactly like Dirty Harry, said he didn’t care, that he was a Pittsburg fan. Thank you for being such a stick in the mud, Mr. overly serious Steelers fan police officer. I had plenty of reasons to like the Cardinals, but until I met you, I didn’t have any reasons to hate the Steelers.

The kids made signs for Antonio. We duct taped them to trash cans, fire hydrants, trees and sign posts around the cul-de-sac. My daughter Barit very is particular and she couldn’t figure out where she wanted to hang her sign. She finally decided she wanted to duct tape it to Antonio’s garage door. I told she couldn’t because it could damage the paint. Frustrated, Barit threw her sign down and I was gesticulating like a crazy man when Antonio’s family caravan pulled up. I told Barit to pick up her sign and wave it around. The neighbors came down and cheered for Antonio as he climbed out of his Cardinal red hot rod. Although his leg was banged up, Antonio was more than happy to pose for pictures and share his big day with the neighborhood kids. It was a good moment, a memory my family will treasure for years to come.

You might expect a young athlete to celebrate this great accomplishment by painting the town red with his buddies. And there wouldn’t be anything wrong with blowing off a little steam. But not Antonio Smith; it doesn’t fit his m.o. This young man clearly has his priorities in order. He celebrated with his family. It’s really nice to have a professional athlete in the neighborhood our kids can honestly look up to. I’ve said it before; Antonio Smith is one of the good guys.


I suppose January 21, 1996 ranks highly among of the luckiest days of my life. Twelve years ago today I met my wife. She was stunning. The memory of the perfect evening is crystal clear. We had dinner at the Red Devil. I had the lasagna with a glass of house red while she had the eggplant parmesan with a glass of beer on ice. After finding a lucky penny, we sat together on a Mill Avenue bench and agreed upon the importance of always picking up a lucky heads up penny and always leaving an unlucky heads down penny. She explained that Campbell’s tomato soup is one of the worst things a person can eat. She told me she loved MASH and Seinfeld and that once at the Tempe Improv, she touched Jerry Seinfeld’s index finger. We agreed that To Kill a Mocking Bird is a great book and movie and that Atticus is, hands down, the best father in literature or film. When we said good night, I told her I liked her eyes. She said she liked my – cowboy boots. Obviously things went well. It was a good date and she turned out to be a perfect wife. We even named one of our girls Scout.

My wife doesn’t really read my blog. So if you’re happen to one of my regular readers who know her, tell her a said a few nice things about her.


beFrank said...

Looks like it must be somewhat difficult to only post a couple of time a week.

Anonymous said...

Stuff keeps happening...