I usually enjoy when the real world, especially things I enjoy, such as sports, intersect with what I do for living. This afternoon was not one of those times. As I was driving and listenting the Michael Kay Show on ESPN radio I heard the breaking news that former Mets great, Tom Seaver, was diagnosed with dementia and would no longer making any more public appearances. You could hear the emotions in each of the radio hosts’ voices as they mixed in their own personal experiences with the dreaded disease.
Those who know me, know that I love my Red Sox. Living in New York, that makes me a de facto Mets fan. I remember the later years of Mr. Seaver’s career and wasn’t around to experience his glory days with the Amazings. Like any baseball fan, however, I am well aware of his great accomplishments.
One memory I do have is from 1989 and sitting in the new student orientation at Boston College. As I sat there next to my parents, my father tapped me and said “look behind you - it’s Tom Seaver.” I remember my father sounding like an excited little kid seeing one of his sports idols. Trying not to make it obvious, I turned around slowly and sitting in the row behind me was Tom Terrific and his daughter. The next thing I saw was the gigantic World Series ring on his hand. I was too afraid to say hello to him or tell him that I was a fan. He was there with his daughter like any other proud parent on accepted student orientation.
Hearing this sad news today reminded me how this horrible disease can affect anyone regardless of their sex, social, economic or even celebrity status. So just like that day at BC, where Mr. Seaver was like any other parent, today he is like thousands of our own parents, brothers, sisters, friends and loved ones who are given the terrible news of a dementia diagnosis. On the radio, Michael Kay emotionally spoke about how the government and the private sector must find a way to find a cure for this disease that causes such pain and hardship to everyone it touches. I couldn’t agree more.
Let’s all remember the Miracle Mets and hope for one more miracle for one of the greats of the game. My thoughts and prayers go out to Tom Terrific, his family and too all others who have to deal with dementia.