Tuesday, August 12, 2014
WHAT WILL YOUR VERSE BE?
You’ll have to forgive me right off the bat. This is not really a post on the New York Yankees. I am sure that I’ll touch on their rapid return to hitting like they are afraid of the baseball, but the Yanks aren’t the reason for my wanting to write today.
Yesterday the world truly lost a great soul and it has affected me more than I thought it would. As a kid I drempt of being two things, the centerfielder for the New York Yankees and/or a comedic actor.
My heroes were people like Reggie Jackson, Dave Winfield, Graig Nettles, as well as Eddie Murphy, Bill Murray, Richard Pryor and Robin Williams.
When I saw that I wasn’t going to suit up in the Bronx I decided to take the second road. The great thing about both professions is that they allow you to remain a big kid. You get to perform for people and make them forget their troubles and enjoy the ride for a while. Robin Williams was a Hall of Famer when it came to that. He was an entertainer of “Ruthian” stature.
I can remember walking to school everyday with my little knockoff Radio Shack Walkman. I had “A Night at the Met” on cassette tape and would listen and memorize every bit of the legendary comedian’s routine. I get kicked out of class more than a few times for impersonating Robin’s voice and mannerisms. To most of my teachers I was being a disruptive class clown, but to me I was learning to be an entertainer. I was studying. Sure, it wasn’t Math, Science or Social Studies, but it was art. It was like taking reps in the batting cage or taking grounders with my Dad at the Little League fields after dinner. My teacher was the great Professor Williams, and I will miss the laughs he gave me as well as the characters he brought to life on stage and screen.
When I heard the news of Robin’s passing I didn’t want to look at twitter. I have become so fed up with the masses making someone else’s tragedy a chance to grandstand. However I did send out a quick Rest In Peace, because, to be honest, the man really did mean a great deal to me. I wanted to write this piece because I needed to do something with what I was feeling. It really bothers me that a man who brought so much joy to the world in so many ways was hurting so much himself. It is a sad truth that too often the clown is the only one that leaves the show with a heavy heart. I really do send my deepest sympathy and prayers to Mr. Williams’ friends and family. When all is said and done in this world you are measured by those you were able to touch and help. Robin Williams did so much good with the time he had. He was involved in charities and causes like St. Jude and the USO, and gave to those who needed him without hesitation. It is no wonder why his death has saddened so many from all walks of life.
One of my favorite Williams’ characters was John Keating, the Welton Academy English teacher in “Dead Poet’s Society”, I felt that that role was as close to the actual Robin Williams as any he’d played. His portrayal seemed effortless and although he’d win the Oscar for his work in “Good Will Hunting” I felt that Mr. Keating deserved the nod as well. No matter what you do in life the words from that “Carpe Diem” scene should ring true. We are all given a chance to do something with our lives, to contribute a verse to the power play as it were. Why can’t a young man follow his dream and become the Captain of the New York Yankees, a 5 time World Champion and the 6th All-time hits leader in baseball history? If you believe the lines uttered by Williams’ Keating there is no reason at all. Live your life out loud.
Again, I apologize for the fact that this post wasn’t on the Yankees…or baseball really. But sometimes things happen that make you see that people are bigger than a game. What we do with our lives can and should be as important as hitting a walk off home run to win it all…if only to ourselves.
“What will your verse be?” It, like Robin Williams himself, makes you think and feel. If you are a fan of the show that life really is, I think we’ll all miss Robin Williams.
I will say this of the Yankees after the last few games… as of now their verse seems best suited for a Britney Spears song…over produced and auto tuned and utterly forgettable. Carpe Diem, gentlemen, because there aren’t too many “Diems” left in the 2014 season.
** Thank you, Robin. You were one hell of a teacher in so many ways.**
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