Thursday, November 17, 2011

1 year ago since my life changed...

Dear Rusty,

It has been a year since you passed. I should say a year since you were taken from us prematurely. I can't think of a single day when I haven't thought of you. Since you've died, I've looked at the world a lot differently. I have learned that friends come and go in this world but best friends stay in your heart forever. I have my Wish for Wendy Warriors shirt from 2010 that I still can't wear because your name is on the back and that was the last time you and I saw each other in person.

This year we took a moment of silence to remember and honor you. I've been there for your Andrea and my Andrea has been there nonstop for your Andrea. She's been incredible to your lovely bride. I've tried to honor your thoughts about Wish for Wendy by incorporating your sponsorship ideas. We even named the sponsorship program after you. Your ideas led to the greatest sponsorship dollars in Wish for Wendy history this past year. I've also worked on my speaking as you suggested I do.

There are things I especially miss about you. I miss you meeting me for lunch and dissecting my blog. You told me you were my biggest fan after reading it. I was always embarrassed when you called yourself my biggest fan. I miss your laugh and your amazing ability to make fun of yourself. No one made fun of Rusty like Rusty. I miss hearing you say "My Andrea" or "Your Andrea." Speaking of your Andrea, she has had a Hell of a lot to deal with the last 12 months but I think she's slowly mending. She has dealt with everything from losing her husband to the loss of the father of her children in a very remarkable way especially having to deal with the media in between.

None of us will ever completely heal from your loss. Whether you know it or not, you were irreplaceable. Giving your eulogy was the first speech I'd made in a long time but since then I've made dozens. You told me I could make a bigger difference. I'm trying. I even spoke in D.C. at the National CF Office and in Roswell at the Chipper Jones Golf Tournament.

Your kids are getting so big. Andrea's dad was showing off Ian's athletic skills the other day. While he may not be there yet, I promise to help him to be the athlete I know you wanted him to be. He and Ethan can play together when they're older and we'll see if we can get the Indians and Braves interested in drafting them though you and I both know that with our athletic prowess, our kids' best chances of making the big leagues are in the front office.

Sophia is a beautiful young girl and has lots of friends. I know your loss hurts her but it will not define her. She and Avery still play together from time to time.

This week I was thinking back to a year ago. This time a year ago our families were supposed to get together to go bowling. We'd just gone to see "The Social Network" a week before Wish for Wendy and we'd recently played on our Warriors team that won one out of three games.

I still remember the day you lost your life. It was a Thursday which strangely enough I figured out if you mixed up the letters in THURSDAY, you'd get "HAD RUSTY" and that was indeed the last day all of us had you in our life. I was shocked when my Andrea called me to tell me you'd been shot. I was interviewing a candidate at work. When I heard you'd been shot, I thought it was some random act and that you were not the target. I know now that you were but rest assured that we have the guy and he'll get what's coming to him though no punishment will ever make up for the fact that he took away a wonderful father, son, husband, brother, uncle and friend. I still remember driving at record speed to get to the hospital when I got the emotional call from my Andrea and those horrible two words "Rusty died." I'd never been so shaken and to this day I still haven't. I lost my "biggest fan" that day. More importantly, I lost as good a friend as a man could find.

There are days when I ask "Why?" There are days that I think God should have taken me and not you. I have spent a chunk of my therapy sessions dealing with your loss. I always wish I could joke with you and tell you how much you owe me for those parts of the session. I know I have to move on but it seems unfair that I can't move on with you and have conversations with you. I miss you, dude. I miss my biggest fan.

Well, my book is coming out officially in January. I know you, my biggest fan, were really excited about it. I have a whole chapter dedicated to you. My softball team finally won a title. I know you would appreciate the fact as a Clevelander and an Atlantan that championships don't grow on trees. Heck, we never seem to see them. The only pro title in this town was won because we played the team from your town to win it. I am also now a Board member of the CF Foundation and working hard to help us raise enough money and awareness to find a cure which seems closer by the day.

I wish I could ask you what Heaven is like. I'm sure you have already made a bunch of new friends (and fans) and are getting re-acquainted with some old ones. A lot of people in Cleveland and Atlanta have suffered since your loss. Please pray for them and if you can, reach out to them and tell them to find peace. The media has been tough but in most instances at least recently I've found that they have been respectful to the privacy of the Sneiderman family.

I wish the story wasn't about some evil man who killed his employee's husband but instead about some innocent man who lost his life yet still accomplished so much before the age of 40. You always got excited that I was going to beat the median life expectancy of 37 yet you didn't get there yourself and that just infuriates me.

Finally, I wanted to thank you. Thank you for being part of my life. While it was only a short time, I consider your friendship a gift...and I have not lost it even after you died. I'm taking everything you gave to me and I'm using it to make the world a better place. It's going to be tough to top the world that once featured a wonderful man named Rusty Sneiderman.

I love you, Rusty. And I'm very proud of the man you were and the man you've turned me into.

Your friend and your biggest fan always,


Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Off The Bench, my softball team which I have captained since the late-2000's, won our first competitive league softball championship last night winning all 4 of our playoff games in the last few weeks (include 3 by mercy rule). We also won our division. Congrats to the people in the picture:

Back row: Left to right: Scott, Jason, Felicia, Josh (co-captain), Cole
Middle Row: Left to right: Gary, Scarlett, Bethany, Ira (co-captain), Keri, Cheyanne
Front Row: Left to right: Jaime and me
Not pictured: Mike (in Japan - but a huge part of our team)
Subs not pictured: Steph, Kelly, Jeff and Kristin

We won on the premise that everyone plays in every single game and that we all play with a good attitude. I'm most proud of that than anything else.

Thanks to Gary, Ira and everyone else who carried me on their shoulders after the game. That was certainly a moment that I will never forget.

Congrats team. I'm a very proud captain today.

Oh and I went 1 for 1 with a walk, a triple, 2 runs scored and 2 RBI's last night. I may be old but I can still play a little ball.

The cutest thing was that Avery climbed into bed with Andrea this morning while I was doing my therapy and asked if daddy won. "Yes, more ways than one."


Monday, November 14, 2011

Off the Bench goes to the Championship Game

After a hard-fought victory on Thursday, my softball team, Off the Bench, will play for the championship tonight at 7pm in Brookhaven. We have been to the finals only once before but fell short. Hopefully we can end the year with a championship. Wish us luck!


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Off the Bench on to the final 4

My softball team reached the Final Four last night. Off the Bench advanced to their first Final Four in several years. The game is at 7:35pm tonight. It's going to be cold out there. I'll keep everyone updated.

In other news, my book will officially be available in January.

I hope everyone is well.


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Whirlwind Weekend...from Wish to Chipper!

So the weekend started with Wish for Wendy this Saturday. It was a tremendous success. We have raised over $241,000 (Gross) so far this year. That's a new record. We're still shooting for a quarter million.

Balls to the Wall turned back time and won their 3rd Wish for Wendy title and their first since 2004. The fundraising champion was General Paton's Third Army followed by the Demons and the Wish for Wendy Warriors. My team, the Warriors, went 1-2 and lost a heartbreaker to the hands of General Paton's Third Army 17-16 in their final at-bat.

Here are some of the other awards from the weekend:

Rookies of the Year: Courtney and Elliot Leson
MVP: Andrea Lipman
Hall of Fame: Pete Bok and Eva Lipman
Ceremonial First Pitch: Pete Bok

Brandon Beachy was as genuine a professional athlete/celebrity as I've ever met. He not only signed more balls than he needed to but he also gave us a generous donation to support the cause. If more people, forget just celebrities, were like Brandon, the world would be a far better place.

On Sunday night, I spoke at Chipper Jones' Golf Tournament. That was pretty cool. I even made fun of Chipper while I was up there as I chose that time to brag about my Dawgs beating his Gators. Even though I had very little voice from the day before, the speech still went over very well as they raised an additional $15,000 after my speech to help promote a cure for the children who battle terminal diseases like CF.

That same night, my dad bid on and won one of my Bucket List things to do. I am going to be throwing out a first pitch at a Braves game next season. I don't know when but I'll let everyone know. I'm really excited. Thanks dad.

My book also debuted this weekend. I'm still waiting for the initial reviews. The marketing campaign for the book will start in late November but I already have another big speech at the 19th annual Larry Bregman, M.D., Educational Conference which will be held at the Selig Center in Midtown on February 25 and 26, 2012.

It was a crazy weekend and to end it off, Monday morning I tore my thumb on my weight bench and had to go to a Physician's Care Center in Duluth. I got a tetanus shot and have my thumb fully wrapped. Our softball playoffs (Round 2) take place Wednesday and Thursday. I'll find a way to play.

I hope everyone had a good weekend. Thanks to all of you who supported Wish for Wendy and helped us move ever closer to a cure.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011


So I ordered a salad today at my gym. I got back to the office and I got the following eating tool (the one in the middle). What the heck is that? Is it a fork? I looked to the left and compared. No. Is it a spoon? I looked to the right and it's not a spoon. Is it a lollipop for Batman? Nope. I have no clue but I plan to spend the rest of my week figuring it out. Wish me luck!

Oh, and Avery's line of the week this week was when Andrea was going to the store and asked if I wanted her to pick up anything...I said Gummy Bears please. My daughter followed with "Gummy Bears, dad? I thought you were going to quit." I felt lower than low. At least I have the spork tool attached to keep my mind busy this week.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Wish for Wendy, The Drive at 35 and a hilarious Top 10

I finished my 28 days of TOBI this morning and I'm glad I can finally get some rest prior to Wish for Wendy on Saturday. I am hoping that with our match that we can reach a quarter of a million dollars this year which would break our record by nearly $75,000. This is a great year to break the record as some really big CF treatments are soon to be FDA-approved and out on the market.

I think this is going to be by far the best Wish for Wendy ever. First off, the weather looks awesome for Saturday. Thanks Wendy! I start freaking around around the 10-day forecast until the morning of the event. I can't even watch the Weather Channel right now but I do check when I'm feeling gutsy. Our silent auction is definitely the best. We have already had a lot of great smaller events prior to the big event. The Demons did a terrific job with their event at Slacks last week. We have some cool personalities coming out to Wish. We have some neat new activities during the event. We are definitely getting more airtime locally as Wish for Wendy has become well-known in the Atlanta community. In fact, I was just on WSB promoting the event and we may have another big promotion on 680 the Fan later in the week. More to come...

My book The Drive at 35 will be arriving at my house this week. I can't wait to read it! Oh wait, I wrote it. I can't wait to make sure that there are no awful typos!

I'm proud of my Dawgs for beating Florida and continuing to make my early season prognostication come true. UGA in the SEC Championship Game where we will get ripped by Alabama or LSU.

The Braves are paying $10 million for Derek Lowe to pitch somewhere else. Wow, talk about a slap in the face. I think for that fact alone, Frank Wren should already be eliminated from GM of the year for 2012. I'm worse than Derek Lowe. Maybe he'll pay me $20 million not to pitch for the Braves. I'll make a call.

I trick-or-treated with my kids last night. Avery appears to enjoy handing out candy more than receiving it. Ethan loves grabbing candy and immediately asking if I can open it so he can eat it. I have been tabbed as the "guy who always wears his Braves jersey on Halloween" by my neighbors. Next year I'm going as one of the Kardashians. Let's see them laugh at me then...wait a minute...

Ok, it's time for my Top 10 "Why" questions from the last month:

1. Why does the school bus in my neighborhood stop at one house and then literally go 2 more houses and stop for another kid? Hey son, you are an example of why kids are not exercising in the world today. Move your butt over to the other house or compromise and have you both go to the house in between.

2. Why is it that when I'm trying to call a business and it's urgent and I hit ZERO, I always get "Sorry, that is not a valid extension?" Zero should always be a valid extension!

3. Why is it that political candidates spend a majority of their time criticizing their competitors? I'm looking for someone who can tell me what they CAN do for me rather than what their competitor CAN'T.

4. C.C. Sabathia just accepted a deal worth $122 Million over 5 years which he said had nothing to do with the money. There's no why here except maybe "Why am I laughing so hard?"

5. Why is it that when you turn your lights off after you're done giving out candy, there are still kids who come to your door and knock? Next time I'm putting a sign on our door..."We are old and tired. If you want candy, there is a CVS just 2 miles away. Ask the kid who waits for a bus from 2 houses away to walk you over there. He needs the exercise."

6. Why do kids say the darndest things? My daughter called a family meeting the other day and when she was done saying what she had to say, she said, "Ok, I'm done now." How old are you???

7. Why is it that Bernie Madoff seems to be the most hated man in America? I have a better one. I don't know his name nor do I even know if he is a male. What I do know is that this person invented something that ruins my day every day...the REPLY TO ALL button. That guy should be on the FBI's Most Wanted List. On the other side, the guy or woman who invented blind copying should be able to eat in any restaurant they want whether he or she has reservations or not.

8. What is more shocking? Kim Kardashian getting divorced before even reaching the century mark for days being married or Lindsay Lohan posing for Playboy? Take your time. Here's the "Why" for this one. Why should anyone care?

9. Why doesn't someone come up with the opposite of Facebook where you have enemies instead of friends. The more you have, the less people are going to want to be enemies with you. I can see it now. "Andy wants to be enemies with you. He thinks you seem like a schmuck. Please accept his invitation." We could call it Hatebook.

10. Why is it that in fancy restaurants there is a guy who gives you a towel to wash your hands in the restroom? I learned how to wash my hands a long time ago and I'm not paying someone to teach me something I learned for free years earlier. This might be perfect though for the kid waiting for the bus in my neighborhood. There's no doubt that he is too lazy to wash his own hands much less walk one house over...I know, I know. I'll get over it now.

Have a good one!