Category Archives: Social Media

Icing the Iron Horse

“For the past two weeks you have been reading about the bad break I got. Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of this earth. When you look around, wouldn’t you consider it a privilege to associate yourself with such fine looking men as are standing in uniform in this ballpark today? That I may have been given a bad break, but I have an awful lot to live for. Thank you.”

~Lou Gehrig~

Photo Credit: Willie Zhang via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Willie Zhang via Compfight cc

Lou Gehrig was a gentle soul with a wicked sense of humor and was also a humble man. He was taken too young by a disease called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). As Lou died pre-“me,” I never had the opportunity to meet the baseball legend. However my father did when he was with the Yankees during Spring Training in 1936 and 1937.

Pops was a pretty good player, but never actually played a game as a first baseman. The problem? Lou Gehrig, the “Iron Horse” himself.  Gehrig played 2,130 consecutive games – games where he was ejected (after receiving credit because he was already up to bat), injured (including being knocked unconscious), and ill.  But dad was in training with Lou (and Joe DiMaggio, Kemp Wicker, Frank Crosetti, Bill Dickie, Red Rolfe and other great Yanks) for two seasons before transferring to the minors.

Lou Gehrig impacted dad’s life quietly. He wanted to emulate the legend in many ways and Pops told me how Lou and Joe helped change his life not only on the diamond, but on the train rides to St. Petersburg, FL. Pops was a smoker on and off during his life. Trying to be “cool” like some of the other ball players, he was lighting a cigarette up on the train. Lou leaned over to my dad and instead of reading him the riot act, he softly explained to him, “If you keep that up, you’ll lose your wind.”

Dad kept in contact with Gehrig after leaving the Yankee organization and there is a letter tucked safely away written in 1938 or early 1939 (I can’t remember) to pops explaining Lou’s illness and that Eleanor, his wife, was taking care of him.

75 years after his death, Lou Gehrig seems to be finding himself in the spotlight again, not for his baseball prowess, but for the disease that took his life.  I’ve been watching the ice bucket challenges on social media to raise money and awareness for ALS. ALS is also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease or just plain Gehrig’s disease.  ALS is a neurodegenerative ailment that is as debilitating as they come to the human body and someone with ALS does NOT have a good quality of life.  Gehrig died when he was just 37 years old. You don’t have to do the challenge to help a really worthy cause. To make a donation today:  http://www.alsa.org/

If you want a weekend in, check out a movie called “Pride of the Yankees” starring Gary Cooper as Gehrig as well as real members of the Yankee organization: Babe Ruth, Bob Meusel, Mark Koenig and Bill Dickey. This was my father’s all-time favorite movie – most likely because of the representation of Lou’s character. To find out more about my father’s friend, Lou Gehrig: http://www.lougehrig.com/about/bio.html

Neither dad nor Lou are here today to witness the ice bucket challenge. I personally think both are probably sitting in a dugout in Heaven looking down and wondering what we’re all doing. However, I just know that as silly as dad would think the concept is, he’d agree it’s a brilliant piece of marketing in bringing awareness and funding to ALS research.

Advertisements

Is There Hope in the Middle of Hell?

“There are two big forces at work, external and internal. We have very little control over external forces such as tornadoes, earthquakes, floods, disasters, illness and pain. What really matters is the internal force. How do I respond to those disasters? Over that I have complete control.”

~ Leo F. Buscaglia ~

It looks like a scene from the middle of Afghanistan, Iraq or Iran – a bombed out warzone.  But instead of bombs, it was an EF4 tornado that ripped through the middle of America and desimated the lives of hundreds of people in Oklahoma. Entire housing blocks were razed, cars mangled beyond recognition and what remains are scraps of the lives of normal communities on what started out as a normal day.

Among the missing and the dead, children. These children went to school at Plaza Towers Elementary School; they laughed and ran and played on a playground that exists no more. Rescue workers worked through the night and are still working today to find those children who have not been located in the rubble.  I choose to believe there is hope for these children and their frantic parents.

People across the United States are pouring out their wallets, their closets and their homes to help those affected by this disaster. Facebook pages have been created to help people locate property that was dropped miles away from where they were originally housed. Photographs and documents that landed on the ground as so-called falling debris up to 100 miles away (at this point,) might look like detritus but are in fact irreplaceable artifacts or documents for somebody.   Facebook, Petfinder and other organizations are helping people find their furry babies and reunite them with their families.

Here are some of the community pages set up on Facebook at this time:

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=o.477306085682757&type=1#!/MooreTornadoLostAndFound  -Moore Tornado Lost and Found

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=o.477306085682757&type=1 – Photos of Moore Oklahoma Tornado Pets Lost & Found

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=o.477306085682757&type=1#!/MooreTornadoRelief – Moore Tornado Relief

And here’s the link for Petfinder. http://www.petfinder.com/ 

There are many other pages on Facebook designated to help those in Moore, Oklahoma try to rebuild their lives. There are also many more organizations around the area and the country taking donations.

Everyone is talking about how so many have died or were injured.  It could have been worse. Much worse.  Moore has 36 sirens in their community. These sirens in Moore, Oklahoma saved many lives.  Residents had 16 minutes to find shelter. If you haven’t experienced the process, the sirens sound once the National Weather Service issues a tornado warning. They serve as a signal to turn on a television or radio to get more detailed information about the storm and instructions on how to seek shelter.  Most people that live in Tornado Alley know how it works. We are taught from a very young age what that sound is – what it means. 

I’ve lived in Tornado Alley, which encompasses 12 states, my entire life. As a child, the tornado drills in school prepared us for what “could” happen, but hasn’t occured here in Amarillo as long as I have been alive. I always assume when the sirens sound danger is moments away.  This is a danger I pray doesn’t happen any time soon.  And as the threat of more storms lay on the horizon, I pray none find their way to Moore, a town of 55,000 that has been decimated twice now by mother nature. I pray these survivors find peace and hope in the middle of hell.