This past Friday afternoon I attended the funeral of the father of a long-time friend at Arlington National Cemetery. I’ve blogged often about my three heroes — my father, my Uncle Art and my best friend’s father, General Guthrie. All three men were retired military officers and all have been laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery over the past four years.
Although it’s obviously a very solemn and difficult time, it’s simply incredible how the US Military pays respects to its’ veterans. From carrying the body in the coffin or urn to the final resting place to the gun salute to the playing of Taps to the crisp and precise flag presentation, it is done with great honor and distinction by the military soldiers of the Honor Guard.
There was also one unique and special part that I had not previously seen. Since our friend’s father was an Air Force veteran, in his honor, there was a 4-plane flyover which included one jet pulling away in the “Missing Man” formation. Wow, there is not a more powerful sight to witness. It is stunning to watch.
It was raining on Friday afternoon so I used the umbrella to shield my face since the tears were flowing. The tears were flowing for the loss of my friend’s father as well as the thoughts of my three heroes. But, inside of me, I was also bursting with pride. Proud to be an American. Proud to be a US Military brat. As always, thank you to the many, many US Military service personnel who have proudly served this country for so many years. And, thank you to the US Military for honoring your veterans in such a honoring and deserving manner.
I continue to read with amazement every day in the news the perseverance and civility of the Japanese over the past 6 weeks after the tragic combination of the major earthquake, tsunami and nuclear reactor leakage. I pray every morning for the safety of the citizens of Japan.
As background, I’m half-Japanese, half-American. My mother is Japanese and I spent 13 of my first 16 years growing up in Japan. I attended American schools on US military bases but I spent a great deal of time with my Japanese relatives, particularly my beloved Grandmother, with whom I was particularly close. I do visit Japan at least once a year and I always take the time to go our family cemetery, which is over 600 years old and located in Yoshikawa, to pay respects.
I was in London with our Georgetown University grad students when I first saw the incredible news footage of the earthquake and tsunami. I was riveted by the news coverage. We immediately contacted our relatives in Japan. Fortunately, they live in Tokyo and none of them were harmed. But, I feel badly for the citizens of Northern Japan who had their homes and lives demolished.
I do take great pride in watching how the Japanese remain peaceful and in-control … no wild looting or others actions that have taken place elsewhere when natural disasters strike.
One of the things I used to fear most about living in Japan was the earthquakes. It’s a completely helpless feeling. There’s simply little one can do — except ride it out. I used to crawl under the dining room table or stand in the doorway. My father and brother used to tease me about it but I figured that’s one of the safest things to do.
My thoughts and prayers will continue to go out to the citizens of Japan. You are strong, resilient people. And, although I’ve always been proud of my Japanese heritage, the actions over the past six weeks have me even more proud. Peace.
There’s been lots of discussions at Sports conferences I’ve attended over the past year about the issue of fans attending live sporting events vs. staying home to watch games due to advancements in technologies.
Some experts argue that more and more fans are preferring to stay home due to the excellent coverage provided by HD telecasts. That is a valid point … so many sports, from NFL to MLB to this weekend’s coverage of the Masters … looks amazing on HD. Also, the argument is made that more and more fans love watching sports on TV while also using their laptop, desktop or i-Pad. That also is a valid point … more and more people are multi-tasking. While watching sports, fans are also following their fantasy sports teams, interacting online with other friends, etc.
The sports fan who chooses to stay home also doesn’t have to deal with traffic, high parking costs, the obnoxiousness of drunk and rowdy fans. Also, it’s not fun to watch Sports if your team is a so-so team playing in a half-empty arena.
But, on the other hand, there’s absolutely nothing as electrifying as being there to witness a live sporting event that can create a lifetime of memories. Personally speaking, a couple of sports events stand out … being there to watch George Mason Univ upset UConn in ’06 to make it to the Final Four; watching Cal Ripken Jr break the all-time consecutive games mark at Oriole Park in ’95; watching Sergei Federov score the game-winning and series-winning goal for the Caps over the NY Rangers in ’09. Unfortunately, I wasn’t there at Nats Park last June for Stephen Strasburg’s electrifying debut since I was on a flight to Tokyo. But, my friends that were there claim it was an all-time highlight.
I’m blogging about this topic as the NHL Play-offs are about to start this evening. Watching NHL action live is one of the greatest things to do in Sports … the game is so fast-paced and action-packed. But, watching NHL playoff hockey takes it one more notch. The fans definitely are louder. It’s a fantastic atmosphere. I won’t be there tonight for Game 1 of the Caps v Rangers series since I’m guest lecturing at AU tonight, but I’m so very much looking forward being there for Game 2 on Friday night at the Verizon Center.
If you have the chance to get a ticket to go to a NHL play-off game this Spring, go for it! It beats being at home. Let’s go, Caps!
I’m very much looking forward to today’s final round of the Masters. I’m pulling for Tiger to win but he had a tough day y-day – it’ll be hard to come back from 7 shots down.
As usual, CBS Sports is doing a fantastic job of covering the Masters. I love the spots they’re doing of Jack Nicklaus’ historic win in ’86 — especially the poignant pieces about fathers and sons — the clips of Jack and his son caddying for him — as well as the voice-over about the 9 yr old who used to wonder why his own father cried when witnessing that incredible day.
Watching the Masters always reminds of my father. I used to go my parents’ home on the final round of the 4 majors to watch it with my father, especially the Masters and the US Open (which usually was played on Father’s Day Weekend). In the last few years of my Dad’s life, it was tougher to watch golf together since the Alzheimer’s robbed him of his memory. And, although I’m still deeply saddened that he passed away three years ago, I have nothing but positive and strong memories of watching so many golf tournaments together.
He and I used to love to watch Tiger — there was definitely a connection since both my father and Tiger’s father were US Army officers. And, of course, Tiger and I both have Asian mothers. I know Tiger misses his father dearly … as I miss my own father. But, as noted in the past, we are fortunate my father lived a long, full life.
So, I won’t be sad today watching the Masters … instead I’ll be sitting there with a smile on my face thinking of the many wonderful lifetime memories that Sports creates for fathers and sons.
Baseball … my favorite sport. It was my favorite sport growing up as a kid and it’s still my favorite sport … to both play and watch (at a variety of levels).
I grew up on US Army bases in Japan … I have great memories of playing Little League baseball against other American teams but also against the local Japanese teams. Those teams were so dominant. That’s also the time when the Japanese teams used to regularly win the Little League World Series. I stopped playing when I was 18 … and ended up playing softball for many years … but then 10 years ago I was introduced to Ponce de Leon Baseball — a 30-and-over hardball league. It’s now 10 years later and I still love playing the game. We have our first game of the season tomorrow morning.
I also love to watch baseball … from Little League to high school to college to MLB. I went to see one of my students at Georgetown Univ, Sean LaMont, play last weekend. What a blast to watch college baseball. One of the cool things for me is that our Ponce team occasionally plays on the Hoyas’ home field – Shirley Povich Field. Of course, I’d much rather face a Ponce pitcher rather than these young college kids who throw some serious heat!
I’ll also be attending my first Nats game of the year this week. It’ll be a game against the Phillies and their vaunted starting pitchers. What an incredible rotation they’ve put together … Halladay, Lee, Oswalt and Hamels. Wow. But, the Nats are playing much better baseball … stronger defensively and an improved offense. I also look forward to going to a couple of O’s games in Baltimore this summer — Orioles Park is still one of my favorite places. And, I assume I’ll be making it to a couple of minor leagues games to watch Bryce Harper and some of the other young Nats.
Let’s play two!
I haven’t blogged in a while since I’ve been so busy with work, teaching, advising and mentoring. But, I’m ready to jump right back in — and will do so 2 – 3 times a week. In particular, I want and need to blog when I’m really inspired and motivated. That’s the case right now.
I’ve blogged many times in the past about a wonderful non-profit organization, Year Up, as well as our GAMBLE students from Georgetown University (Georgetown’s Aspiring Minority Business Leaders and Entrepreneurs). With the great leadership and vision of Norean Sharpe, the Dean of the Undergraduate Business School at Georgetown, and Tynesia Boyea-Robinson, Executive Director, Year Up’s Capital Region Office, we’ve created a fantastic partnership.
Last year, 30 of the GAMBLE students mentored approximately 90 Year Up students in how to write business cases. After a 3-week period, this culminates in a Business Case Competition at Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business. Last year’s event was a resounding success. And, I”m so glad to see it start today with Year 2.
I was given the great honor of providing the Kick-Off Speech this morning at the Year Up Office in Rosslyn. I focused my speech on Philanthropy, Mentoring, Education, Sports and Networking. The students — both from Year Up and Georgetown — were attentive and engaged. The one hour flew by. Nearly half of the students came by to shake my hand and thank me. What a great thrill.
We also two special guests … Jimmy Little from Under Armour and Todd Alston from AOL. Jimmy’s story is remarkable and I will blog about it separately.
Last year, I wrote an article for the Washington Post about this dynamic partnership. Here’s the link — http://views.washingtonpost.com/leadership/guestinsights/2010/05/business-mentorship.html.
In summary, I’ve been mentored by two great individuals, Ted Leonsis and Mario Morino. So, in our “Pay it Forward” scenario, as frequently as I can, I try my best to “give back” and share lessons I’ve learned from them — and pass it on to the next generation. A sincere thank-you to the students — from Year Up and Georgetown Univ — for wanting to make a positive difference.