I have a good friend who is an outstanding top administrator at ND. I won’t embarrass him by naming him here. He has been a great source of encouragement to me when I send out an occasional story; so I keep on sending them. Anyone who is getting bored with my stories can blame T.B. Here’s three more……..
This afternoon, I was at the Athletic Department, paying for some sports tickets, when I bumped into Becca Bruszewski. Becca was an outstanding basketball player for the Irish, graduating a couple years ago. She is also a lovely lady, with movie-star looks; great smarts; and the glibness and personality to become a TV sportscaster (all traits of her Head Coach, by the way). Becca played in Finland last year and will be joining former Irish teammate Melissa Lechlitner to play in Puerto Rico this year. Becca is well aware of the great opportunities she has gained through her sport and is taking full advantage.
One of the little-known benefits of my previous work as Chief Usher in the Stadium, was that the Women’s Basketball Team sat in Row 1 of Section 36, immediately behind where I stationed myself in the end zone. Muffett McGraw and her staff always recruit a spirited group of talented ladies. I always enjoyed a great banter with the gals during football games. We had a little “tradition”. I would swipe a big, fat, juicy, red apple from the Notre Dame Band’s basket and bring it to the wall, picking one of the ladies to give it to. I hope the NCAA statute of limitations has expired on that gift. I miss seeing those kids.
A few years ago, the ND Alumni Association gave out three Alumni awards in the arts. A sculptor from New York won the fine arts award; Hannah Storm won the media award; and my 1966 Classmate Barry Lopez won the literature award. Barry has won the National Book Award for non-fiction and has been called “the nation's premier nature writer” by the San Francisco Chronicle. He was unable to attend the presentation because of a shoulder injury (I quipped that he injured his shoulder attempting to carry all his other awards), so he asked me (his award-less Journalism classmate) to read his speech. It was my extreme highlight to sit next to Hannah Storm and share a wonderful conversation. I was reminded of this while watching her host the Olympic Coverage for NBC.
My final story gives me a lot of personal pleasure. I played one semester of bridge, during my first year at ND. I earned no awards, but I got a g.p.a. which attested to how much time I spent playing. By the next semester, none of the four of us were playing any longer. LOL. Ten years ago, I started playing duplicate bridge at the South Bend Bridge Center. After two years, I was still an award-less player, but, after getting some good mentoring, I started moving up the ranks of members of the American Contract Bridge League (ACBL). I am now a Silver Life Master, with 1,700+ master points. I was honored last year when I was asked to join the ranks of Bridge Mentors at the Club. Recently, I started mentoring a lady named Iris Mensing Goerner. I selected her because of something that happened to me 50 years ago on Thanksgiving Day. I was a frosh. I didn’t have the money to go home to Massachusetts and had no other plans. One of my fellow Bay Staters told me that Professor Ed Goerner had invited students to his home if they had no place to go. I was very pleased to accept the invitation. It was a lovely meal, in an elegant home, just south of campus. I have not spoken to Professor Goerner since that day. I told his wife that I am pleased to give a little back to him by serving as her bridge mentor. I’m sorry I had to wait 50 years to repay him.
This gesture by Professor Goerner meant a lot to me and the other dozen or so guys that benefited from his caring concern. We have many outstanding profs at Notre Dame and he is certainly in the first rank.
Thanks for reading.