Thank you all for the birthday wishes. As I am wont to do, I have a little story to tell, for those that are willing to indulge me on this, the anniversary of my birth. :)
I've had the running joke with +Mark Stevens
& a few others about 'naming' my years after favorite athletes who wore the number of that year. The last couple years in particular have been fun, just for conjuring McHale/Bird vs Magic/Kareem battles of my childhood. So today, in turn, I enter the Year of Shaq.
Shaquille O'Neal was never my favorite player. I was fascinated by Kobe Bryant's talent and attitude from the very start, but to be honest, while happy w/ the big fellas defection to LA (and the subsequent return of the Purple & Gold to its championship pedigree), I had mostly tuned out of the NBA after the sad way my childhood idol, Magic Johnson, saw his career end. Fortunately, at least, that story has become an inspiration; a beginning rather than an end. But I digress...
I enter my #34 year finding a lot of things in common with The Big Aristotle (my favorite Shaq nickname, btw). Gifted in my own ways, I haven't always made the most of my talents. Though I've brought success to the teams I've been on, I've moved on for various reasons without delivering on the full potential of those situations. I've been overweight. I've clowned around while others were being serious; I've spoken out when silence was the more appropriate virtue.
At age 34, Shaq won his fourth & final championship with the Miami Heat, sharing the spotlight with his co-captain and then-rising star, Dwyane Wade. As I hurl myself headlong into my mid-thirties, I, too, am looking forward to raising my game back to a championship level, hopefully in ways I haven't before... by being a good teammate, helping people, and giving others an opportunity to reach their potential, as I strive for mine. Maybe... those of you who have read this far... maybe you are some of those people, but in any case, I hope to see you along the way. Cheers & thanks again, to everyone, for the birthday wishes. - TM