Overcoming Adversity!

devlin-obituary-jerry-bergmanOn the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS May 29, 2017, #642 Up Next… “Overcoming Adversity!”

After further review…The Tunneyside admires those who have overcome an adversity which they did not create. Two of those individuals are close professional speaker colleagues: Chad Hymas and W Mitchell. Both are confined to a wheelchair for life yet travel the world – yes, you read correctly, the world – speaking to audiences about dealing with disabilities. As Mitchell has said. “It’s not what happens to you, it’s what you do about it that counts.” Both are in the Hall of Fame of the National Speakers Association.

With nearly 40 years’ association with the Special Olympics, I have become a fan of special athletes. My involvement has been as a spectator, judge, and awards presenter at the California Special Olympic summer games. My assignment was to provide encouragement and congratulations to participants. Yet I came away inspired and full of hope for others in this world for who struggle to overcome difficulties. I have been blessed with the opportunity to speak to Special Olympic volunteers in several states and I remain a fan of those people as well.

The above is a prelude to the following tribute for a fellow NFL official who recently passed away: Jerry Bergman died at 87. He had 30 years of NFL on-field experience. His expertise as an official is confirmed by his assignments to officiate four super bowls, seven conference championships and numerous playoff games, along with the many important regular season games he was assigned. More than a top official, he was valued friend.

But the real story is the disability Bergman had to overcome. As a kid growing up in the outskirts of Pittsburgh, Pa. he was in the field one day as a thresher was mowing the hay, when another kid (horsing around) playfully pushed him and he fell into the path of the thresher, severely disfiguring his arm. A doctor’s skill saved his now-withered arm but left him with just a couple of fingers.

Overcoming adversity, he played quarterback on his high school football T*E*A*M with the late Pittsburgh Steelers owner, Dan Rooney, as his halfback.

Bergman was a high school, then college, official, before moving to the NFL in 1966. He was an official that every official would want on a crew. He “had your back” and was a learned official of the NFL rule book. He never let his disability prevent him from being in front of millions of people every Sunday. Further, he served as the secretary-treasurer of the NFL officials association for 18 years and was part of the committee that convinced the owners to establish the officials’ pension plan. That was a precursor of the plan that exists today.

ll you treat any adversity you face as a challenge to better yourself?

- – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -

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 Sports, Tunney Side of Sports Columns, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

All Rise!

harperweb18s-ew9-webOn the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS May 22, 2017, #641 Next… “All Rise!”

After further review…Or perhaps you prefer the late “Pigmeat” Markham’s hit song title “Here Comes The Judge.” When you hear that command, it usually means you are in a courtroom and the judge in entering to take his seat to preside over a trial. In either case, you would hardly expect it to be said by Paul Olden, the New York Yankees public address announcer, when #99 steps into the batter’s box. While Olden’s voice is not the iconic Long Island accent of the late Bob Sheppard, whose style of speaking remains unmatched, it is surely an honor for Olden, a Los Angeles product, to have this job.

That #99, the “Judge,” in case you haven’t notice is Aaron Judge in his second season as the Yankees’ right fielder. Standing 6’7″ and weighing 282 lbs., it behooves each of us to follow that command. Wait a minute — are we asking you to put Judge in the class of Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Mantle, Maris et al? Well, maybe not yet. But Judge has hit 14 homers in the Yankees first 30 games this season. Further, and maybe that word should be farther, his home run shots are averaging 406 feet, the longest of which was 457 feet. He is currently leading the American League in almost every offensive category. If his Herculean size doesn’t get your attention, his power surely will!

However, this article is not so much about what he is doing at the plate or in the outfield, where his size and reach are robbing opponents of doubles and triples. What is impressive is who he is on the inside! Perhaps his demeanor comes from good parenting. He was adopted at birth by Patty and Wayne Judge, who are both teachers. The family lives in the small town (population under 2000) of Linden, California, a farming community not from Stockton.

When he played at Fresno State, which has a system of fines for players’ negative behavior, Judge was never fined! Even on a professional athletes’ salary, he lives today in the guest room of a teammate or in a small hotel near Times Square. While other New Yorkers are out partying, Judge is in bed. He says he prefers going to bed early so he can be at batting practice early the next day. He spent his off-season last year working on his stance (you can imagine the size of his strike zone!) and becoming more familiar with the variety of pitches he would face. His attitude as a professional athlete is to be admired.

Will you appreciate the approach this young athlete has toward his work ethic?

- – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -

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 Sports, Tunney Side of Sports Columns | Leave a comment

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?

- – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -

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, Tunney Side of Sports Columns | 2 Comments