The Fourth of July is a special day
Today, while the country celebrates Independence Day, my wife and I will celebrate our wedding anniversary.
Covering sports for a living sounds exciting, but in reality it also has its own set of issues.
She has overcome the fast-paced meals together before I rushed out the door to head to a ball game.
She had waited patiently as readers stopped me in the store to say either kind words or to bash my writings.
Thankfully, she is a sports fan and enjoys watching games from the comfort of our home as well as the road trips to watch LSU or UL Lafayette play.
While the life of a coach may be tough on his family, so is the career of a sports editor.
I am grateful that she is understanding, supportive and both my biggest fan and toughest critic.
She is quick to defend my honor and is the foundation that keeps me steady.
She is there for suggestions, constructive criticism and praise when she feels I deserve it.
I have become a better man every year of our life together.
She loves me in spite of my shortcomings.
So today, I want to say thanks to her for all these years together.
As a sports editor, covering athletes and their accomplishments are always a part of my job.
Sports writers often use military terms in describing what they saw during a game, but courage is not facing a 90-mph fast ball or taking a hit from a 290-pound lineman.
The real heroes are not the guys who hit .370, belt 50 home runs, throw for 3,000 yards, or run for 1,500 yards, score 30 points a game or even speed around a race track.
Anyone who has ever served our country and defended our freedom, those are the real heroes.
I grew up around the Navy, Air Force and Army personnel in Northwest Florida and always admired them.
My parents took my sister and I to see the Blue Angels numerous times.
Now my wife and I have taken our daughter and granddaughter to see the shows and the Naval Museum.
On one visit, we toured around the complex with a retired marine who told stories and talked about the old planes.
One man he mentioned was the legendary Ted Williams.
Known as the Splendid Splinter, Williams spent five years as a pilot and flight instructor during both WWII and Korea, many of those years were during the prime of his baseball career with the Red Sox. Williams went down in history as perhaps the greatest hitter in the game.
If he had not spent those years serving his country, no telling what he could have done on the baseball field.
But the world is a better place and we appreciate what he and thousands of others did to defend our freedom.
But besides the obvious reason the country celebrates today, I want to conclude with one of the most famous July 4 speeches.
Lou Gehrig spoke to his fans at Yankee Stadium on July 4, 1939, less than a month after he had learned he had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
"For the past two weeks you have been reading about the bad break I got," he told the hushed crowd. "Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.
"I have been in ballparks for seventeen years and have never received anything but kindness and encouragement from you fans," Gehrig said as he went on to list many famous ball players he played with.
He also talked about his family:
"When you have a father and a mother who work all their lives so you can have an education and build your body - it’s a blessing.
"When you have a wife who has been a tower of strength and shown more courage than you dreamed existed - that’s the finest I know.
So I close in saying that I may have had a tough break, but I have an awful lot to live for," he concluded.
We know ALS as Lou Gehrig’s Disease – a terrible illness with no cure.
Even though he knew he was dying, he was still thankful for all that he had been able to enjoy in his life.
That kind of puts the day in the life of a sports editor – or a day in your world – into perspective.
I am grateful I have my health, my family and especially my wife.
Enjoy today with your family and friends and always remember what makes this day special in our country’s history.
One thing about getting married on the Fourth of July, at least I will always remember my anniversary.