Today I gave my dad probably the best Father's Day gift I could: a game of catch. I felt this was a better gift than suffering through a mass I almost fell asleep during after getting up at eight-thirty, after falling asleep at two, to make breakfast. So I decided I should play some catch with my old man. It was great. I hadn't thrown a baseball around with my dad for as long as I could remember. I had thrown the softball around with him to get him ready for the annual faculty softball game, but I don't think I had actually thrown a baseball around since my last game, which was exactly two years and one day ago. Playing the game of catch brought back memories of being taught the game from my dad.
This brings me to another man who has had a profound influence on my life: Tim Russert. Yes, a teenager influenced by Tim Russert. There is something we all could learn from this man. I barely watched Meet The Press growing up. I have become disgusted with U.S. politics in recent years and I felt that it was pointless to hear the talking heads talk. But there was something about Russert that was different. He wasn't like Bill O'Reilly or those other guys who made their agendas known; he just loved politics. During the last six months, I became enamored with Russert on Tuesday or Wednesday mornings, getting his opinion on the primaries for both parties.
During these interview sessions with Meredith Viera or Matt Lauer I noticed something about Russert: a genuine excitement. On some of the mornings he was giddy as a schoolchild discussing the results. He knew there was change coming for the country in one way or another, and he was just thrilled to be a part of it.
There is something we can all learn from Russert. I have learned that we are all part of something bigger than ourselves and we need to embrace that. Russert knew that he was part of the political world, which was bigger than him. Chad Johnson, you're part of the Cincinnati Bengals and the NFL. They both happen to be bigger than you. Terrell Owens, same goes for you. The same goes for all athletes. The team is bigger than the athlete. The league bigger than the team. All of the selfish players in the various sports leagues should realize there are things bigger than them and embrace their job with excitement and joy.
Just like Tim Russert and Dad taught me to do.