A Tribute!

Father Robert William Hunt, O.P.BOn the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS May 15, 2017, #640 Next… “A Tribute!”

After further review…Trading in his glove for a cassock!” Occasionally the TUNNEYSIDE is privileged to digress, ever so slightly, from the traditional sports story to pay tribute to a person who made a difference in the lives of others. Today’s tribute recognizes a man who played an important part in my life: Father Robert William Hunt, O.P.B., a Roman Catholic priest who was part of my life for the last 35 years. He died of natural causes April 30, 2017. While we are saddened by his departure, the sadness is for us, not him. In his last hours, he said to me, “It is time for me to be with my Father.” He served his Lord for over six decades.

His sports connection was in his early days as a seminarian at St. Joseph’s College in Rensselaer, Indiana. He was a catcher on the seminary’s baseball T*E*A*M. He was so good that the St. Joseph’s baseball coach wanted him to play for the regular college baseball squad full-time. However, the seminary’s rector would not allow it, reasoning that doing so would take away from his preparation for the priesthood.

When his priestly duties assigned him to St. Mary’s Parish in Alexandria, Virginia, he formed a parish baseball team, where he played shortstop and was the team’s star. On game nights, while keeping his assigned counseling appointments, he would wear his baseball uniform underneath his cassock so he could quickly change from counselor to shortstop. I would often kid him that the shortstop position was aptly named for him. He was 5’9”!

Fr. Bob and I met as fellow professional speakers at the National Speakers Association conventions held annually. During these gatherings, he volunteered his priestly duties to say the Catholic mass each Sunday morning. At first, it was only Catholics who would attend, but his homilies were so chock-full of non-denominational messages and universal humor that many others would pack the room. He had an Irish wit that at times resembled the side-splitting attacks of the late Don Rickles, but he always employed it in fun.

His homilies led to counseling other speakers who needed advice in their personal and professionally lives. Fr. Bob never charged a penny for his valuable wisdom. Further, he wasn’t just an NSA member, but took time earn his CSP designation (Certified Speaking Professional). Later he was inducted into the Veteran Speakers Retreat (VSR), an organization honoring the legends of the speaking profession. He traveled the country with his “Mission for Today: A message of love, life and hope!”

Will you give of your time to help others as did Fr. Bob?

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To contact Jim, go to JimTunney.com or email Jim@JimTunney.com.

Jim’s books are full of inspiration and interesting stories. Please visit his online store to learn more.

Another 101 Best of TunneySide of Sports

Be sure to get Jim’s book ‘Another 101 Best of TunneySide of Sports’ by clicking this link or using the email above to contact Jim directly.

These TunneySides take issues from real-life situations and relate them as inspiration for the betterment of others.

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Be at your best—every time!

ON THE TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS May 8, 2017 #639 Up next…Be at your best—every time!On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS May 8, 2017, #639 Next… “Be at your best – every time!”

After further review…It has been the intent of these TunneySides to look for the best in every current situation. Yet we remind our readers to not erase the past. A man and his son were riding in a cab in Washington D.C., when the son spotted a sign on a building inscribed with the saying “The past is prologue”. The son asked his father what that meant, and the father was speechless. Whereupon the cab driver spoke up and said: “It means y’all ain’t seen nothin’ yet.” The saying is from Shakespeare’s play The Tempest Act 2 Scene 1, and the cabbie was right.

With the 2017 NFL draft completed and 273 players selected, hopeful becomes a key word. How many of those drafted will make a positive impression on their T*E*A*M? Perhaps more importantly, how many will remain hopeful, including #273, the last player chosen? He is Mr. Irrelevant, Chad Kelly quarterback from the University of Mississippi, nephew of Jim Kelly, the Hall-of- Fame quarterback for the Buffalo Bills. Everyone at this point believes they all will make an impression. Can you blame them for believing so? Not at all.

I can remember my first year as an NFL game official in 1960, believing that I would be successful, yet as my career progressed there were many Sunday afternoons or Monday nights when I left the stadium wondering if I did my job to the best of my ability. My mantra after every game, was: Did I leave this game better than I found it? To maximize my performance, I created a self-evaluation form. I analyzed each game’s outcome with the following:

  • Was I prepared both physically and mentally?
  • Had I worked out daily so that I could keep up with players who were years younger?
  • Mentally speaking, had I studied the rule book so that I could administer the rules with confidence and without hesitation?

Secondly, did I represent the NFL without prejudice toward a player, coach or fan? I always felt that sustaining the integrity of the game rested with me.

Thirdly, did I treat each player and coach with respect? No matter how unruly a player or coach became, it was my responsibility to maintain dignity and composure.

Fourthly, in my referee position, as crew chief of the officiating team (once comprising four, then five, and now six others) did I work with them as a T*E*A*M to ensure we did the best job possible? We’ll explore other evaluation points later.

Will you strive to maintain your job, your family with the best you can offer, every time?

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To contact Jim, go to JimTunney.com or email Jim@JimTunney.com.

Jim’s books are full of inspiration and interesting stories. Please visit his online store to learn more.

Another 101 Best of TunneySide of Sports

Be sure to get Jim’s book ‘Another 101 Best of TunneySide of Sports’ by clicking this link or using the email above to contact Jim directly.

These TunneySides take issues from real-life situations and relate them as inspiration for the betterment of others.

Posted in Tunney Side of Sports Columns | Leave a comment

Don’t give up on others too soon!

On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS May 1, 2017 #638 Up next..Don’t give up on others too soon!On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS May 1, 2017, #638 Next… “Don’t give up on others too soon!”

After further review…May is here and major league baseball is in full swing. Coaches are thinking about their Little League summer schedule. A friend sent me this coaching story:

“When I stepped in as interim coach for my son’s Little League T*E*A*M, I met Harry. He is every coach’s dream. He shows up for practice early, stays late and is enthusiastic.  However, he is also every coach’s nightmare, as he has neither the instinct nor the physical talent for the game. He was a thin and awkward kid with his best throw about five feet and terrified when batting.

When Harry tried batting, he would close his eyes each time the pitch approached. So, as we prepared to play a team that beat us 22-1 previously, I went to the dugout and got a different bat for him, and said, ‘I want you to use this bat. It’s a magic bat. All you have to do is swing and it will hit the ball.’ Harry was skeptical but said he would try.

Beating this overpowering team would be a challenge, but our kids were doing their best. When lo and behold, we came to bat in the bottom of the final inning with runners on first, second and third, bases loaded, and you-know-who was next at the plate That’s right – it was Harry. Our opponents had already seen Harry at the plate and expected an easy out. How easy you ask? Well, all the infielders were in close (from their usual positions), the left fielder was lying on the grass, and the right fielder was chasing butterflies (oh, you’ve seen Little League games).

The pitcher was confident, having faced Harry earlier. First pitch, strike one. Harry didn’t swing, but he kept his eyes open. Second pitch, he swung with his eyes open but missed. Strike two. Coaching from first base, I yelled, ‘Good swing, Harry. You can do it.’ Harry looked worried. The opposing coach yelled to his pitcher, ‘Fire it past him and let’s end this thing.’ The pitcher threw a fastball and Harry swung. The magic bat did its trick. It found the ball, which sailed over the shortstop’s head.

Harry stood in wonderment as I yelled, ‘Harry run, run Harry.’ As Harry ran toward first base, our entire T*E*A*M was cheering him on. Our three base runners were waiting at home plate when Harry, who had never run this far, finally crossed the plate. A Grand Slam! Tears were streaming down my face as I hugged Harry, who looked at me and excitedly said, ‘Coach, the bat – the bat did it!’ I said, ‘No, Harry, it was you who hit the ball, not the bat.’”

Will you not lose faith in others who may appear less capable, until…?

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To contact Jim, go to JimTunney.com or email Jim@JimTunney.com.

Jim’s books are full of inspiration and interesting stories. Please visit his online store to learn more.

Another 101 Best of TunneySide of Sports

Be sure to get Jim’s book ‘Another 101 Best of TunneySide of Sports’ by clicking this link or using the email above to contact Jim directly.

These TunneySides take issues from real-life situations and relate them as inspiration for the betterment of others.

Posted in Current Affairs, Sports | Leave a comment