When I was eight years old, I liked school, but it was very hard – I think teachers make third grade really hard on purpose. Since I went to a Catholic elementary school, each morning began with a mass at church followed by a day full of class work. My teachers were nuns and boy were they strict. I remember getting my hands slapped with a ruler on multiple occasions for not listening or talking back. I really like math, because I treated every math problem as a challenge, and to this day I love to solve problems especially math ones.
I loved playing baseball and my favorite team was the Cincinnati Reds. I remember staying up really late at night and listening to games on the radio. I also remember going down to my best friend Donnie Blankman’s house and replaying all the highlights from the Reds game the day before. We were the ESPN Top Ten highlights before ESPN was even invented. I also loved playing football with my brothers and sisters inside and outside the house. For some reason my parents did not like us playing football in the house, and I really know why now – makes a lot of noise and surprisingly things seem to get broken.
The funny thing I remember was back then neighbors shared phone lines called party lines, and I remember trying to call my friend Donnie and hearing my neighbors’ voices on the phone. My Mom and Dad always said to say “excuse me,” but sometimes I just hung up the phone as soon as possible. Today, we take for granted that every house has at least one phone line, and most people have their own cell phone as well. PCs and email that’s another story we’ll cover when I get 16.
My brother Jerry was born when I was eight, and shortly there after we found out that my Mom was going to have another baby, and it turned out to be another sister – Sarah. Having a lot of brothers and sisters taught me a valuable skill that has helped me be successful in both sports and at work – that skill is teamwork. My parents would assign us each parts of chores e.g., clear the table, wash the dishes, dry the dishes, put the dishes away, sweep the floor and take out the trash. Each person could do a great job with their specific chore, but if we did not work together it would either take forever, we would argue, or we would do a bad job or all the above. Teamwork is all about talking to each other nicely, encouraging each other, and helping each other. It is amazing how successful you can be in life if you excel at teamwork.