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There comes certain moments in each person's life where they should and actually need to take the time to reflect on their life and their place in this world. I have had the misfortune to not recognize that fact earlier in my life and the fortune to acknowledge that fact later in my life. Starting with the moment in my mid forties when I realized I knew a lot less than I  thought I knew about what life was all about and recognized the fact that I was not as smart as I had previously thought I was. I stopped consuming alcoholic beverages and have never regretted that painful and hard decision for one moment. Addiction sucks. Recognizing addiction and confronting it with the help of whatever resources are available to you, both humanly and spiritually, are fantastic.

But to paraphrase a line from Arlo Guthrie that is not why I am here today. (Smile)

On April 19th, 2008 I had another moment in my life that was to change my destiny in this life even more than I could ever dream. I lay in my bed with acute pain in my gut that day and after trying to deal with it for two hours made the fateful decision this was not indigestion or gas and I needed medical attention. I was driven to the hospital and to make a long story short had my insides operated on to correct a very serious intestinal problem. Unfortunately a few days later I had a very serious relapse and was rushed into emergency surgery. I was to learn later from the doctors and nurses that I "went through a very lot". I learned to interpret this as "you almost didn't make it." That fact has caused me to take stock of my life once again.

And this is what I have found out. If it was not for the fact that I could depend on two very good ladies in my present life I seriously wonder for my sanity through this ordeal. My mom has taken over my financial necessities while I have been in the hospital and as I now continue to recover at home and provide me with the love that only a mom could ever supply to a son. And a woman that I met on the MLB threads, my dear sweet Rebecca, (you who travel those threads know her as becca), has constantly called me throughout my stay in the hospital after my surgeries and while I was recuperating and going through therapy in a convalescence home and provided me with hope and, yes, news of what was transpiring in my absence in the thread world. She would always temper her talks with me with a very serious tone that she had some either good news or some bad news. The good news was that The Red Sox had won that day and the bad news was that the Yankees had won that day. (Smile)  I thank her with every ounce of my being for her care and love. And acknowledge that I truly am in love with her.

But again this is not why I am here today.

I am here today to testify to the truly amazing reality that the world of sports provided to me throughout my medical travails. Sports Center was a Mecca for me. I watched voraciously as I escaped from my pain and boredom. I watched whatever baseball game, basketball game that was on. The college woman's World Series became a staple of my viewing schedule. And I discovered Lacrosse. What a wonderful obscure sport it is.

I discovered how beautiful and wondrous it is to watch sports and how it truly provided a necessary respite from my reality. I could lose myself from my daily troubles and worries and just be in that other reality. I discovered the true simple fact that we as people, we as human beings, need sports, that we need that time to be free, to lose ourselves in that other world. We need that time to just forget whatever the hell it is that is presently on our minds. We need to watch men and women compete and excel at whatever the particular competitive activity that is to be performed before our eyes. We truly take pleasure in watching as the match or game unfolds, the jockeying back and forth, the strategy and, then, yes, the one eventful moment when some wondrous play or action is unfurled for all to view. Then we sit and marvel, "How the hell did they do that!!! My God!!!!"

In short, sports for me was a lifeline.

(And as a side note is why sports must remain totally drug free. I need to know that what I see is truly and only these men's and women's own naturally developed physical attributes.)

But I discovered something else while I was in the hospital. Through my daily talks with Rebecca I discovered that the people on the MLB threads actually cared and respected me. That buoyed me so much that I do not know that y'all will ever understand how or why. But, if I presume too much and you do understand that fact, then you know the truly great gift you gave to me. My whole thread life has always been predicated on the fact that I give respect to all I talk to. I sometimes fail and I sometimes have had to eat some crow but I have always tried to be respectful to anyone I talk to when I express my opinions and participate in debate. And I have always wanted the same in return. Honesty and respect, simple concepts that somehow seem so hard to adhere to, but it is how I try to live. You have given me that back a thousandfold and I do not know how I can ever repay that gift.

Let this simple thank you do for the moment.

Thank you each and every one of you people. And may whatever God you have faith in give you many blessings in return. (And if you do not have a deity then let whatever good karma may come your way come to you.)

Thank you, sincerely and honestly and respectfully from the bottom of heart.

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