DAY #17:
I need to clarify my Covid-19 comments I made yesterday about – now is not the time to cast BLAME or HATE… while so many people are dying all around the world…. what I meant to say is that right now our #1 priority is to stay “virus free”…. our federal, state & city government officials have all the power over us now….. the only power we have is to hunker down and stay safe…. however, that does not mean to stay “silent”….. I look at it this way: one day a year we the people have the power…lt’s called VOTING — and this year, of course, is the most important VOTING we will ever do ! ….so we have to be alive to do it….. so hunker down my friends….. and, finally, when the pandemic is over (not the danger, that will always be with us), and it finally gets to “business as usual”…..that’s when we can voice our feelings of blame, hate, anger, powerlessness, etc.etc.etc. — and for the most committed and passionate Americans, you can take to streets like never ever before to show our government leaders what we think of them and the way they handled this pandemic….putting politics ahead of the safety of the citizens…..

Now I can relax a bit and get to one of my stories that probably, in today’s world could never ever happen again !

Jacksonville University – 1964-65: that’s when I was the roommate of our new catcher, from N.J., who is still my dear friend to this day! Joe Schlegel. after my baptism by fire first year when the team was predominately made up of Southerners who were weary of Northerners (and they were still fighting that damn Civil War), we got a bunch of guys who took the same path as me and went to the Dick Howser Baseball School, and other Northerners who got the attention of Bob Daughton our coach. I was now among friends and we were the majority… boy did that boost my morale and made me play so much better…. great short stop from NY Teofil Kapp, 2 great pitchers, John VonAchen from the Bronx and a future usher in my wedding party (Oct.11,1969-a future story for sure)!, Eddie Petrosky, from NJ. and another pitcher from NY Phil “Pepi” Karras….. all still friends to this day except for the passing of VonAchen, and Eddie Petrosky….we all got to see each other after 50 years when J.U. invited and honored us in 2015 for our team that went 22-6. (but that’s another story too).

This story is about me and my roommate Joe Schlegel. Joe had a Volvo, that was his pride and joy….. and for me it was “freedom and wheels”….. somehow, I just don’t remember, I came across a blue piece of paper that looked semi-official as an NBC PRESS PASS…. my wacky dreams took flight and I got this crazy idea in my head…. so I laminated the piece of paper so it looked official (today I would get thrown in jail for trying this stunt)…. I told Joe that the pass would get us in for free at the Swamp…. the Swamp being the University of Florida Gators football stadium located just 69, yes that what the maps and the sign said, 69 miles, southwest, from Jax….to… Gainsville, Florida. Joe was up for it so on a beautiful Fall Saturday, we put on dress slacks, white short sleeve shirts and even wore ties too, as we had to look official…. I also took a clipboard under my arm…. we got to the stadium, mobbed with students and football fanatics…and Joe looks at me and says “Now what”?… I told him follow me….we began to walk around the stadium as I eyed the employees taking the tickets, finally I spotted a young looking guy (probably a student) who was taking tickets and once again told Joe “follow me”….my heart was pounding but you wouldn’t know it by the way I carried myself as if I, indeed, was working as a reporter for NBC. I flashed my fake press pass and to our utter astonishment the guy/kid waved us in……now I was really excited. It worked ! I said to Joe…. and once again Joe, laughed and said “Now what”? we went through the entrance straight to the fence that surrounded the field…we were greeted by a conga line of State Troopers who took up positions, in a ring, all around the field…. as I took a deep gulp, I heard the Florida coach in his teams locker room, giving his pregame speech….. and just like that…my brain came up with the perfect answer to how to get on the field. I told Joe, “listen up, when the players and coaches come out of the locker room and come onto the field, the Troopers have to open up the gates to let them roar onto the field…. that’s when we walk in behind the coaches, like we belong with them, and voila’ it worked like magic….. so here we were on the sidelines….my memory doesn’t remember who the Gators played the first time we did this (we did it for next 2 years about 8 more times because we loved the excitement and because the Gators Quarterback was the great Steve Spurrier, who went on to be an NFL quarterback and and even better coach at South Carolina and his alma mater Florida)….. Joe and I have the pictures we took at field level as lasting memories…… that experience made me understand why Tom Brady still wants to play at 42 years old….. to hear the roar of the crowd in a stadium that seats 100,000 screaming fans, cannot be expressed in words… it’s simply “awesome”……if we tried to use that laughable press pass today we surely would get kicked out or arrested….. to this day I still can’t believe we did that !

They say ween your young and naive, you sometimes do stupid things……all I can say is boy I sure did my share……

No risk….no reward ! …. for me a memory for a lifetime!

STAY SAFE ! the country desperately needs your VOTE in November……unless we are still “hunkering down”????

Read the next post Taking Stock Day 18.