My brother Dave celebrated a birthday and yet another Kansas state high school tennis championship last month. This is about Dave and a famous guy who shared his birthday. It is from October 24, 2010.
Last Wednesday was my brother Dave's birthday. When he was a kid, he was pretty proud that he shared the same birthday as New York Yankee star, Mickey Mantle, who also was born on October 20 many years earlier. Dave had a pretty good last weekend as a birthday present. His girls' tennis squad at Wichita Collegiate School defended their Kansas State High School championship, their third consecutive title and Dave's twenty-first overall with the ladies. Throw in Collegiate's nineteen boys' state titles his Spartan teams have earned and Dave has a combined forty state trophies to his credit, maybe the highest total of any prep coach in the US.
On the other hand, The Mick, as he was fondly called during his playing days in pinstripes, is faring poorly posthumously. (He passed away from liver disease in 1995.) A new book, “The Last Boy: Mickey Mantle and the End of America’s Childhood”, has hit the bookstores and the tell all biography is not flattering to one of America's most famous athletes. The excerpt I read made me cringe as it delves into the private life of a man who was a hero to many. Many books have punctured the myths surrounding celebrities but this was particularly painful for me to read. We know there was at the time a look the other way mentality of the media surrounding the news makers; that time has passed and now we watch the famous held up to intense scrutiny on shows like TMZ. No review I've seen has questioned the accuracy of the book but some question the necessity if its publication. Does it do any good to bring to light what happened five decades ago if it embarrasses relatives of those portrayed in the pages? On my way home from Taco Cabana last night, where incidentally they serve terrific quesadillas, I heard Don Henley's song Dirty Laundry, which explores the public's fascination with the tawdry events of the news cycles and television's role in feeding that hunger. Maybe it makes us feel superior to look at Lindsey Lohan's latest mugshot or hear about her next court appointed rehab stint. Our culture gets a great deal of satisfaction out of the latest Tiger Woods-Brett Favre-Fill In the Blank scandal. Jesus warned us about the planks in our eyes while searching for the specks interfering with our brother's vision. I can't see the Savior gleefully discussing the most recent celebrity embarrassment. He did tell a man to, "let the dead bury their own dead.'' Maybe we should concentrate less on the deceased Mickey Mantle's human weaknesses and more on what we can celebrate..... like birthdays and state championships.
Applicable quote of the day:
"Sometimes I sit in my den at home and read stories about myself. Kids used to save whole scrapbooks on me. They get tired of them and mail them to me. I'll go in there and read them, and you know what? They might as well be about (Stan) Musial and (Joe) DiMaggio, it's like reading about somebody else."
*To read about Dave and his team's 2014 state title, copy and paste this link into your address bar!