My Blog

One of the joys I’ve found in life has been my long-standing friendships with others. That could explain my love of sports. Through sports, I’ve been involved with many teams and teammates. It’s been through sports, mostly football, that I’ve developed friendships spanning two continents, three countries, and fifty years. Brian was my first friend and neighbor in 1963. In 1965, his family was transferred to San Paulo, Brazil with Ford Motor Company. In 1971, my family was transferred to Mexico City with Ford. In 1974, Brian moved to Mexico City, and was once again my neighbor. Through some quirk of fate, Brian returned to the States in 1975 to the same town to which I would eventually return. He began playing football, becoming friends with my future teammates.

By 1974, I was playing freshman football in Mexico where I met Marty. Martin and I were teammates until I moved back to the States in 1977. Once back in the states, I joined my high-school team with Brian, and his friends Bob, John, and others. We all stayed close through college. John played football at Bowling Green University. He became my weight-lifting partner during the summer months, since I was training for Purdue football.

Brian had gone to Michigan State after high school, where he roomed with Tom, a cross-country runner I’d net during high-school track. Bob was also a close friend with Tom and John since they’d all attended Our Lady of Good Counsel from elementary to high school.

I lost track of Marty after leaving Mexico, but in the 1990s my mother fell and broke her neck. While she was in the hospital fate intervened again. Marty, a native Venezuelan, had moved to the States. Now working for Great Lakes Prosthetics in a local hospital, Marty fitted my mother for and made her neck brace. Following my stroke in 2014, Marty made the AFO brace to assist my drop foot.

Following college, we moved on to grad school. Brian became a naval pilot. John went to law school. Bob went to University of Michigan. Me, to Eastern Michigan University. Tom went to dental school at Michigan. Since Michigan and Eastern are close to each other, Bob, Tom and I shared a house during the 1984 school year.

I married my wife, Monica, later in 1984. Bob married Becky, John’s younger sister. Tom and Brian married nurses. My wife and I stayed in close contact with all the couples, except Brian and Diane. Brian moved to Virginia to fly for Delta while remaining in the Naval Reserve. Some of our other teammates have moved in and out of this group, but generally it’s remained the same. Bob went to work for IBM. John became a local prosecutor, but got sick of unethical lawyers and low pay before joining Honey Baked Ham. Tom is the local dentist, and despite him bringing home cadaver parts during dental school, he is my family dentist. We’ve watched our children grow up, buried our parents, but we’ve always been there for each other.

I’ve often wondered what kept us together, and how weird it is that fate has kept some us in the same area. My wife has/had nine siblings. During her niece’s recent wedding, only five bothered to attend. The rest are dead or not on speaking terms. Fate has spared my friends. Other than my stroke, we’ve all remained healthy, and accident free. John set a local record by bench pressing five-hundred pounds at age fifty.

I’ve always written about things I know. So when searching for new book ideas I came up with the story behind TEAM. I decided to write about team dynamics in the worst scenario possible; ten teammates crammed together in a bomber, flying a B-17 over war-torn Europe during World War Two. To research such a project, I was able to take my friends for a ride on a B-17 to gauge their reactions (all the wives crapped out). Other than fitting John on the plane, they loved it, “It ain’t like flying Delta!” More importantly, we all shared a great experience, and I learned some valuable facts to provide some realism to my story, while preventing some historical errors about the plane that I would’ve made.

Our cohesiveness may have something to do with us all playing football on the same team, but we haven’t kept up with all our other teammates. I played football in college, but don’t even stay in touch with my old football roommates, I do however, stay in contact with several teammates from Mexico City. Looking at the photo of us in front of the plane, shows a couple other similarities. We’re all about the same age, but most my friends are bald. One of the obvious similarities that might explain our cohesiveness is that we’re all white males in the same education and income range, but I’d like to believe fate has kept us together, and we all work at being friends, a unique group.