Head cold, aching muscles, and Mr. G's nightmare keeping me up last night aside, I'm a fulfilled gal this morning.
Frank Deford was lovely. But no, Mrs. G, I didn't kiss him. Didn't even come close.
Our seats were in the middle of a jam-packed banquet hall and it was obvious that my predictions were correct--99% of the people were there to see Aaron Kampman. They were not disappointed, he did a fine job speechifying. And Bob Gibson, his speech and presence alone made the entire evening memorable.
Then Frank Deford took the stage.
He has such a lovely voice, and most of the people who didn't have a singular clue about his greatness hushed up and after a few moments started to look surprised. He was funny. He was provocative. He was charming and winsome and full of great stories and observations.
He told us that "men do not watch TV because there's something on. They watch TV to see what else is on."
He bemoaned the statistics that indicate 2/3 of college students are now girls and we need to balance our emphasis on academics AND sports with our sons so they don't fall behind. And he celebrated the accomplishments of women, both in sports and in other fields, making it a point to name again those young ladies who had won scholarships that night.
He shared memories of sports legends like Bubba Smith and Tommy Lasorda and Al McGuire and Billie Jean King.
He provided his analysis on why teamwork is the most valuable experience to be had from sports--and why working together keeps our local teams, clubs, organizations and communities great.
Listening to him in person was as satisfying an experience as hearing Frank McCourt speak 7 years ago--another great voice and gifted storyteller. I don't think anyone left disappointed. In fact, the surprised expressions of those around me morphed into sheer pleasure midway through Frank Deford's talk.
It's a good thing to anticipate something so very much and feel genuinely contented afterward.
And then I got to hear his tribute to Sir Edmund Hillary this morning on NPR--it was like finding one more tiny present at the toe of your stocking Christmas morning when you thought all the presents had been opened.