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.
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, frustrated, 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 were 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 Andi and I spent 19 years before I called it a career on July 1, 2018.
We moved to Las Vegas on October 1, 2018 to begin my second career of doing nothing. Some would say that’s how I spent the previous forty-four years. I knew when we left Birmingham I wouldn’t miss collard greens but the Southern hospitality is second to none.
Vegas brought me back to a place I first visited in May, 1974 when I fell in love with it that first trip. It just was so different in so many ways, not the least of which the desert was something you couldn’t find on Long Island. Countless trips to Vegas through the years for both business and pleasure made me pretty sure one day I would call it home.
When our sons Jason and Scott moved to Los Angeles to further their careers in television writing and hotel management, I knew when I retired we would go West. California taxes don’t really favor retirement, or any other living, so Vegas became the natural destination for us. Like Andi said, “Anything we want to do is in Las Vegas and if we want to do nothing, it’s there too!”
Ibis and Deuce, two former residents of the Greater Birmingham Humane Society, found us: Ibis in 2009 and Deuce in 2016. The four of us now live in a community called Summerlin, right at the base of Spring Mountain, overlooking the Vegas valley. We hit a natural blackjack on this place!
I started writing again in 2010 when I re-discovered my kid 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 fourteen camps which not only led to a hole in my savings account but two books as well
I wrote “The Most Wonderful Week of the Year” in 2014 and “Big League Dream” three years later. Both became best sellers among my relatives. You can get a copy of either, or both, on this site or at Amazon. Buy them; Andi said they were pretty good.
Over the last five years I’ve been musing fairly regularly about sports, politics, business, family, travel, music, and things that happen to me that just don’t seem to happen to anyone else. It’s become my “Sunday Morning Coffee.”
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 done is cover a hockey game. However, living in Las Vegas and a season ticket holder to the Vegas Golden Knights, who knows?