Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A chance to right a wrong

Four years and two months ago, Georgia was favored to beat a young Alabama team in Athens. We were favorites to win a national title with all of our future NFL stars. Instead the Dawgs got their brains beat in 41-30.

I was amongst the 95,000 attendees who wore black for the ceremonial blackout at Sanford Stadium that evening. Tide fans still won't let us live it down. They called it a funeral especially since we all wore black.

The 2 teams went in different directions following that game. The Tide won 2 national titles. Georgia lost to teams like Central Florida and Kentucky and didn't even win an SEC title.

The Tide fans have been looking forward to this game since last Saturday's shellacking of Auburn. For Georgia fans, meanwhile, this matchup has been anticipated for more than 2,000 days.

It's our turn!

Go Dawgs!!!


Monday, November 26, 2012

Remembering Rusty 2 years later

A few days ago marked the 2-year anniversary of Rusty Sneiderman's death. I'm not going to discuss the craziness that ensued following Rusty's death. Instead I'd like to talk about the wonderful man we lost.

There are situations where I still talk to the big guy or I think what would Rusty do in this situation. I miss him. Sadly though, as time goes on, I remember less and less about him. Thanksgiving marked 4 years since Rusty, Andrea, my Andrea and I first met at a Thanksgiving day party, the same party we attended this past Sunday. What followed were intriguing lunches, fun double-dates and lots of kids' birthday parties. In fact, Rusty filmed one of our kid's parties.

The world was a far better place before Rusty died, at least it seems. There was no chaos in our small community. I could laugh at Rusty making fun of himself. I had a friend who would do whatever it took to make me successful in my endeavors. I still miss our lunches and whenever I pass by his old workplace, I think of him. Whenever I see anything concerning Cleveland, Harvard or Indiana, I think of him. I remember our last dinner together and the last movie we all saw together. I remember his amazing lake house and how he loved to drive his boat.

I remember him fixing our oft-broken gutter which since has not had a single issue. I remember him telling me he was taking a break from his diet when we went to the Blue Ribbon Grill to celebrate another Wish for Wendy meeting. I remembered how much he wanted to make it in this world. He was constantly coming up with ideas. In the back of my mind, I thought we might one day work together in between taking cruises with our families.

Rusty was born on June 18th and died November 18th at 36. The interesting thing is that 18 is the Jewish symbol for life and considering he was born on the 18th and died on the 18th and lived 2 x 18, that's pretty symbolic as he lived quite an amazing life although it was too short.

I have a lot of saved e-mails from Rusty. As I read them, I remember his personality and his zest for life. I found one today where I wished him a Happy Birthday and instead of writing me back to thank me, his first response was "How is your dad?" because my dad had been under the weather. He didn't even take a moment to think about his birthday. It was just like when we used to go to lunch. He always asked what he could do for me to make me successful. He rarely gave a thought to himself; he was always more concerned how he could lend a hand.

Rusty should be here today taking Ian to baseball practice and Sophia to ballet. He should be taking Andrea to dinner preferably with me and my Andrea. We should be talking about the fact that it was nearly 4 years ago that we first got acquainted. We should be celebrating that mark. Instead, we have lost 2 of those 4 years and even mentioning the name Rusty Sneiderman brings disagreements wherever you go.

I know that regardless of how the trial goes early next year that Sophia and Ian will grow up having very few memories of their father. I'm sad that these children won't remember what a wonderful man their father was. They'll hear a lot second-hand but it's just not the same. I'm also sad that a community has been torn apart due to one man's act and several people taking advantage of the opportunity to make names for themselves. I've grown tired of seeing Rusty's picture on the news. I've grown frustrated with all of the ugly blog posts. Mostly though, I wish I could get in a time machine and go back to 2008 so that I could tell Rusty how significant, while short, our friendship was to me.

I ask whether you side with Andrea or you side with those who are against Andrea that you take a moment today and remember Rusty. Remember the wonderful man that he was. Remember what a great family man he was. If you didn't know him, I ask that you say his name without discussing the trials that have followed his tragic death. I ask that you pray for his children.

Rusty, we miss you. I wish you were here to tell me what I could do for your family. I know you though and I know what you'd say. "We'll be fine. How is your family doing?"

We'd be a lot better if you were still here.


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Wish for Wendy 2012 breaks all sorts of records!

We raised a record $332,000 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation this year at Wish for Wendy. That gives us a grand total raised in 13 years of $1.6 million. Thanks to everyone involved for making a difference. The weather was beautiful this past Saturday so thank you also to my sister Wendy who year after year puts us in the best conditions.

Liz Love sang our national anthem. The Falcons Cheerleaders and Chick Fil-A cow paid a visit as well. Braves pitcher Brandon Beachy (seen below) threw out the first pitch on Saturday and a record 24 teams fought tooth and nail to determine a champion.

In the end, Choke & Poke knocked off Better Baseball 25-24 in extra innings. It was a tremendous game and thanks to the volunteers, sponsors, donors, teams and umpires, it was a terrific day.

We also had a few celebrities stop by including famed meteorologist Paul Ossmann and Braves MLB.com Beat Writer Mark Bowman.

Thank you to Andrea, my parents Charles and Eva, my sister Emily and the rest of my family for all they did on Saturday and all they've done for me throughout my life. I'm very blessed.

To the day when CF stands for Cure Found.

See you next year!