May 16, 2013

What Is Priceless To You?

Written by BPK on Saturday March 13, 2010 at 0900!

"Time is free, but it's priceless. You can't own it, but you can use it. You can't keep it, but you can spend it. Once you've lost it you can never get it back." — Harvey MacKay

What do these hats with a lake in the background have to do with my time being priceless?

How should a person spend a "rainy" winter day in South Florida?

Rogers Hornsby gave me a hint when he said, "People ask me what I do in winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window & wait for spring."

Even though the so called weather experts predicted a 40% chance of thunderstorms throughout the day & a 60% chance of the same throughout the night, I was off on a journey to Jupiter at 0930!

Arrival in Jupiter was at 1120! Memories of Jack Buck on KMOX filled my mind & even though many Cardinals fans would think of "Go crazy, folks. Go crazy!" I remembered the heartfelt poem Jack wrote just days after 9/11.

Jack Buck’s Tribute to America after 9/11
September 17, 2001 @ Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri

Rick Weinberg
Special to

Six days had passed since the horrific, unspeakable terrorist attack that took the lives of more than 3,500 people and destroyed extraordinary buildings in ugly clouds of black and gray dust and ash.

Only six days had passed, and the world was no longer the same. For certain, America was no longer the same. Hearts were heavy. There was still disbelief in the air. Sadness too. Fear and anger, as well.

But life, at some point, had to return to some kind of normalcy. The anger and sadness felt for the families of the victims, for all the heroes of 9/11, will never subside, ever, but life still had to go on. Family beckoned. Work and chores too. Living life as it should be, the way it’s supposed to be.

The entertainment and sports world had to get back to work too. People had to start laughing again, even though it hurt a little, even made you feel a little guilty. Sports was needed, only if to take your mind off that unforgettable day of horror, despair and helplessness.

It’s September 17, 2001. Baseball returns. In St. Louis, the Cardinals prepare to take the field against the Milwaukee Brewers. Sadness permeates the air. Broken hearts need mending.

Everyone in the stadium wave small American flags. Nearly 500 firefighters and police officers line the warning track from the left field line to first base, honoring the heroes who perished six days earlier. There are tears in their eyes, emptiness in their hearts.

As firefighters unfurl a huge American flag in center field, a video tribute plays on the scoreboard accompanied by the beautifully chilling Lee Greenwood song, "Proud to be an American."

Then longtime Cardinals Hall of Fame broadcaster Jack Buck, wearing a bright red jacket with an American flag pin on his lapel, strolls to the microphone. There is total silence in the huge stadium. Buck is shaking because of his infirmities and the emotion of the night, the despondency of the moment. He looks out at the crowd, normally a sea of red but on this night it is a pulsating, patriotic sea of red, white, and blue.

Buck reaches into his pocket and pulls out a piece of paper. He leans forward, puts his lips to the microphone and begins reading a poem, a moving, spectacularly heartwarming and patriotic poem that he wrote.

Since this nation was founded…under God
More than 200 years ago
We have been the bastion of freedom
The light that keeps the free world aglow
We do not covet the possessions of others
We are blessed with the bounty we share.

We have rushed to help other nations

War is just not our nature
We won’t start…but we will end the fight
If we are involved we shall be resolved
To protect what we know is right.

We have been challenged by a cowardly foe
Who strikes and then hides from our view.

With one voice we say, "There is no choice today,
There is only one thing to do."

Everyone is saying — the same thing — and praying
That we end these senseless moments we are living.

As our fathers did before…we will win this unwanted war
And our children…will enjoy the future…we’ll be giving.

His voice cracks as he utters the final words of the poem. His eyes are watery. So are the eyes of everyone in the stadium. Tears are shed. Then, following a poignant "21 gun" salute sprinkled with fireworks above the stadium, the game begins with players wearing US flags on their jerseys, helmets and caps.

Leo Durocher said, "Baseball is like church. Many attend, few understand."

I understood as I relaxed on the berm at Roger Dean Stadium as the Florida Marlins hosted the St. Louis Cardinals.

REALLY? It almost seemed like I was back in St. Louis enjoying a Cardinals home game as red was worn by 90% of the people.

A pitching duel with numerous sparkling defensive plays, reminded me of what former LA Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda said, "No matter how good you are, you're going to lose one-third of your games. No matter how bad you are you're going to win one-third of your games. It's the other third that makes the difference."

After 6 innings there was no score but the Marlins scored a run in the 7th & another in 8th to make a Cardinals win unlikely.

Not so fast my friend. Let’s not forget Yogi Berra who grew up on "The Hill" in St. Louis. He said, "It ain’t over ‘til it’s over."

This game was a perfect example of why I don’t leave games early as the Cardinals scored 5 runs in the 9th to take the lead.

Surely the Cardinals were assured of a victory, or maybe not?

What was going on in the mind of the Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa as the Marlins scored a run in the bottom of the 9th & had the winning run at the plate?

I hope it wasn’t another Yogi Berra quote like this one, "90% of baseball is mental. The other half is physical."

The final score was the St. Louis Cardinals 5 & the Florida Marlins 3!

Was it time to make the 2 hour drive back to Homestead?

Have you already forgotten the photo of the 2 hats with Lake Wolfe in the background only 10 yards from my patio?

The Cardinals baseball cap has "STL" on it & the unmistakable "[]_[]" is for the University of Miami Hurricanes.

So I went to another baseball game?

"College football would be much more interesting if the faculty played instead of the students, and even more interesting if the trustees played. There would be a great increase in broken arms, legs, and necks, and simultaneously an appreciable diminution in the loss of humanity." — H.L. Mencken

Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale was the place to be that night for the 2010 Spring Scrimmage of the University of Miami Hurricanes Football Team.

In addition to enjoying the athletic talent on the field, I was encouraged as a quote from the coach who won the first 2 Super Bowls came to life while young men battled their teammates on the field.

"The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack in will." — Vince Lombardi

How did that quote come to life for me?

If you check out my Facebook photo album "The Storm Emerges!" you will hopefully see in a sequence of 20 photos how powerful the will in a young man is!

The will to be great has been a common trait among former Hurricanes players that are now enjoying success in the NFL such as these former CANES "Flashing The []_[]" after this years Pro Bowl at Sun Life Stadium in Miami!

Vince Lombardi did not believe that perfection was attainable but that did not stop him from trying to be perfect. "Gentlemen, we will chase perfection, and we will chase it relentlessly, knowing all the while we can never attain it. But along the way, we shall catch excellence."

So how did someone like me who was born in Minnesota, who began ice skating at 2 & started playing ice hockey at 3 become a fan of the St. Louis Cardinals & the University of Miami Hurricanes?

It didn’t hurt that I have spent more time living in St. Louis than any other one place & that I currently am on my second stint of living in South Florida.

BUT, the main reason may be the Cardinal Nation & “The []_[] Family" that exist.


Former Cardinal players are always welcome in the clubhouse or spring training & I saw the best base stealer of all time & the player who made me a front row in the left field bleachers fanatic…#20…Lou Brock!

"The []_[]" takes the family aspect to another level as former CANES who are playing in the NFL regularly workout together on campus during the summer & helping out at spring practices is also a common happening.

A recent example of this was on Saturday March 6 when former QB Ken Dorsey, Safety Ed Reed from the Baltimore Ravens, & Linebacker Jon Beason from the Carolina Panthers were all part of practice.

"The []_[]" family is not limited to just players as former Wide Receiver Coach at "The []_[]" & current Wide Receiver Coach for the Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints Curtis Johnson was a guest speaker on Friday March 5.

What is my conclusion?

For me . . . it's virtually impossible to find anything better than enjoying Cardinal Baseball or Hurricane Football & to enjoy both on the same day . . . priceless!

But if you don't like the St. Louis Cardinals or the Miami Hurricanes, don't fret . . . there is hope for you!

Whatever is important to you is worth spending time doing as it helps to fill your life with memories that last a lifetime & that my friends is truly priceless! 

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