In my childhood, I idolized my sister. I wanted to do everything she did, be everywhere she was. So when we were in middle school (maybe she was high school age?) and she read a book on Hank Aaron, I, too, chose a baseball book to read. Of course I didn’t want to be a copy cat, so I picked a different author, different ball player.
My Luke & I, the (auto)biography of Mr & Mrs. Henry Louis Gehrig was my first selection. After that, I read every book about the Iron Horse I could get my hands on. My love for the New York Yankees started that day, as I stood between the stacks of my local library.
Seeing the Yanks play in the same stadium where Gehrig played so many of his 2,130 consecutive games was near the top of my bucket list. In the final season before it was torn down, my love and I traveled north for a game.

Tomorrow marks the 75th anniversary of Lou Gehrig’s legendary speech.

…yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth…look at these grand men. which of you wouldn’t consider it the highlight of his career just to associate with them for even one day…when you have a mother-in-law who takes sides with you and squabbles with her own daughter, that’s something…when you have a father and mother who work all their lives so that you can have an education…I might have been given a bad break, but I’ve awful lot to live for. Thank you.

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis is a monster, which slowly robs its victims of their motor skills. How could Gehrig stand before the crowd and say he was lucky? He’d already lost the the ability to do his job, his sport. He eventually lost his mobility. Less than 2 years after declaring himself “the luckiest man” he lost his life to the effects of ALS.

Perspective changes everything. 

 

On this Independence Day – it seems fitting to celebrate a son of immigrant parents who rose above his meager beginnings, set records which would take decades to be broken, and humbly inspired a nation for generations to come.

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