Saturday, October 20, 2012

Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?

Dave and his 23rd Kansas state championship squad.
Dave and I prayed each night as little boys in Brooklyn. Guess who is who?
It's been a big week for my brother, Dave. On Monday, his girls' tennis team at Wichita Collegiate School won their 23rd Kansas state championship. I told my classes that between us, we are leading the nation in combined state championships won by coaching brothers with forty-five total. (In the just a little misleading department, Dave has won forty-four,including twenty-one boys' state championships while my teams have a grand total of one.) My students were visibly impressed as they should be! The other big news is that today is Dave's birthday, a holiday he shared with New York Yankee great, Mickey Mantle. (My favorite Seinfeld moment was when George wanted to name his yet to be conceived son Seven in honor of The Mick.) It's been years since we were together on either one of our birthdays. I guess long distance birthday greetings will have to do.

Like most brothers who are fairly close in age, we had our moments. In my classes this week, I asked how many of the boys had ever had fist fights with their brothers- close to 100% responded in the affirmative  (One of my favorite coaching moments came when brothers Greg and Jeff Clayton brawled during one of my baseball practices at Georgia Christian School. Their folks failed to see the humor in the incident!) Dave and I engaged in fisticuffs as well. There are numerous Biblical tales of brothers such as Cain/Abel, Esau/Jacob, Aaron/Moses. In each of those cases of siblings when there was strife, it was inevitably the fault of the older brother.  As the younger of the two, it was always easy to blame Dave for any conflict. (I'm sure Scott had the same thoughts, rightfully so, about me.) But Dave was my primary playmate in early childhood and the biggest influence I ever had. With the exception of personality- Dave is an extrovert like Dad while I'm an introvert like Mom- we are remarkably similar in career choice, interests, etc. The biggest difference is Dave found the lovely Sally and has created a marvelous family and I haven't. Well, that and he's forty-three state championships ahead of me! Did I mention he's also been the Teacher of the Year as selected by all the private schools in Kansas and mentored thousands of kids in his educational career as well as serving as an elder in his congregation and having the WCS tennis complex named in his honor? I hope it's been a great one, Dave; no one deserves it more than you!

I can't end this without sharing an incident that happened before worship several weeks ago. I was sitting with fellow teacher/coach Russell Carr when several pews ahead a scenario unfolded. It went like this: There were two young men who happen to be brothers and who are both great kids about five rows ahead of us. Their age differences line up with Dave's and mine almost perfectly. The older brother was sitting at the end of the pew when the younger brother tried to go past and sit down. Of course, the older brother blocked his path and refused to let him pass by. And, of course, the younger brother got mad after several attempts and walked off. I about died laughing and told Russell it was like reliving my childhood. Russell, who only has sisters, can't relate but I know he missed out on something that helped make me be able to get along with others and handle myself when I left the nest our folks made for us. At Thanksgiving and Christmas, I'll sit with Dave in church and I'm pretty sure he'll let me in. I think I passed the rite of passage!

Applicable quote of the day, # 1:
"As I have discovered by examining my past, I started out as a child. Coincidentally, so did my brother. My mother did not put all her eggs in one basket, so to speak: she gave me a younger brother named Russell, who taught me what was meant by ‘survival of the fittest’."
Bill Cosby

Applicable quote of the day, # 2:
"It snowed last year too: I made a snowman and my brother knocked it down and I knocked my brother down and then we had tea."
Dylan Thomas

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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