My dream as a kid was to be a sportswriter. And even though my passion was baseball, I always wanted to be a hockey writer. I’m not sure why.
When I graduated the University of Miami with a degree in journalism in 1974 there was no doubt in my mind I had the credentials to cover the New York Rangers– I was Sports Editor, Executive Sports Editor and then I channeled my inner Perry White and was selected Editor-In-Chief of the school newspaper, the Miami Hurricane, which was a national award winner for excellence in journalism. I don’t remember what award we won but I still really like saying it.
Unfortunately, the New York Daily News, New York Post, New York Times, Newsday and Long Island Press thought it was a real big deal that I had never covered a hockey game in my life – hey, why let small details get in the way?- and they all decided to put my resume on ice.
Finally, with frustration, I said “puck it” and moved back to Miami in August ’74 and caught on as a general news writer at the Coral Gables Times & Guide, a twice-a-week publication in the same community as The U.
That job lasted about a month. I knew my career wasn’t headed to the writer’s wing at the Hockey Hall of Fame when my editor sent me out to cover an eight-year-old kid jumping over half a dozen milk crates on his bicycle during the Evel Knieval craze. In attendance was me, the kid, his mother and a friend. Finding a parking spot wasn’t a problem. I don’t remember if the kid made the jump or not, but considering I’ve never covered a fatality, I assume he did.
About a week later, a college pal called to tell me the Hollywood Dog Track, about 30 miles north, was looking for a publicity manager for their upcoming racing season. He wanted to know if I had any interest. Though I majored in journalism at Miami, I had a triple minor in greyhound racing/horse racing/jai-alai and I knew that job was for me. I was up there for an interview within the hour and hired the next day.
Those were the origins for my thirty-five year career in pari-mutuel racing. I put the plastic cover on my Royal typewriter for good. My stint as a hockey writer was over before it began, but what followed was a great career in racing just when the sport was very hot and in vogue. I ultimately managed racetracks in eight states: Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Kansas, Iowa, Wisconsin, Connecticut and Massachusetts before devoting my full-time attention in 2010 to being the President/CEO of MedjetAssist (www.medjet.com) in Birmingham, Alabama, where you’ll find me today.
Andi and I have spent eighteen years in Birmingham and have come to love it. With Jason and Scott moving to Los Angeles to further their careers in television writing and hotel management, we decided to bring Ibis home with us from the shelter in early 2009. Next to marrying Andi in 1991, it was the best decision I’ve ever made. And though Bronx-born and Long Island-raised, I have since become indoctrinated as a southerner. I say ‘y’all’ and ‘Roll Tide’ without even thinking about it. The only thing I’ve never done, and never will, is ask for a mess of collard greens.
I started writing again in 2010 when I discovered my deep down frustration with never becoming a Major League Baseball player and went to my first big league fantasy baseball camp to pretend I was something I wasn’t. Even though I told myself repeatedly, “I am only going this one time”, I’ve now been to eleven. Journaling daily, I’ve posted my experiences during these camps and some have told me reading it is the highlight of their day. I feel sorry for them.
It also resulted in my first book, “The Most Wonderful Week of the Year”, published in 2014. It became a best seller among all of my relatives. My second book, “Big League Dream”, will be released in a couple of months; even though ultimately the critics may not agree, I happen to think it’s pretty good. I fully expect you to buy it as soon as it hits the market. Our retirement fund will thank you.
Over the last three years I’ve been musing fairly regularly on Facebook about sports, politics, business, family, travel, music, and things that happen to me that just don’t seem to happen to anyone else. I’ve been told by many, whose opinion I respect (and some I don’t), to “go ahead and publish your own blog, already”. Well, here it is.
Subscribe at your own risk. It’s not only free but you actually may find one or two installments that you actually like.
Ironically though, through all the years, the one thing I still haven’t written about is hockey.
Thanks y’all and Roll Tide.