We’ll take some time to wish you all the most wonderful of holidays on this Christmas eve…and share with you how you have enriched the day to day at Press Pros by simply caring about more than the score of the game, and who wins!
Like most of you, I’m always moved on this day, December 24, to take stock in the blessings of the year and the fact that so many people contribute to those blessings without even knowing it.
For instance, when we started this thing in August of 2010 none of us (at that time) dreamed of attracting 60 million page views, annually, and a million people each month! In publishing terms, that’s impressive for a small website generated at the top of the steps, first door on the left, in my son’s vacated bedroom. He’s now 38 years old, doing great things with Ali in San Diego, and only occasionally asks if anything’s changed at home. He knows better.
But numbers and readers aside, this year has been a different, difficult year – one where the lip service of counting one’s blessing are simply insufficient when I tell you…take nothing for granted. Even things at the top of the steps. Life can change so quickly, in such devastating fashion, and leave you in a place that offers you little in return, except faith in each other.
By now nearly all daily Press Pros readers know that we suffered a pair of setbacks in 2024 that made us – with no other choice – turn to that faith.
We were shocked, first, in July, to learn of the loss of Morgan Wright, the youngest son of long-time staffer Julie McMaken Wright. Morgan was 24, the apple of Julie’s eye because he was the ‘baby’…and none of us will ever be the same as a result of his death, and the human failings that we all feel, still, in coping with Julie’s loss.
But, so many of you have reached out to console her when she needed it most, because there is that universal understanding that something which brings you the most joy on one day…can bring you the most sorrow the next. I will share that she’s in Florida this weekend, with friends, and making the most of a difficult Christmas season, as you might expect. Her spirit is remarkable, despite her star being dimmed. But it does continue to shine…because of people like you.
Another shock came in August when we learned that long-time friend, writer, and administrative associate Bruce Hooley was diagnosed with brain cancer – that he needed immediate surgery, and would be lost to the day-to-day activities of the site for only God knows how long. Through his past work covering area high schools, the NFL, the Buckeyes, and his work as a talk radio host in Columbus, hundreds have contacted us to inquire about his current condition, and prognosis for the future.
I can tell you that I saw him this week, he looked good, sounded good, and that he’s just completed his first course of both chemo and radiation therapy.
I can also tell you that there isn’t a day that someone doesn’t come to me on the sideline, or in a press box, to say, “Will you tell Bruce that I’m praying for him and his family.”
Remarkable…and I just did, along with Sheri and their three girls. Bruce has a great support system going for him, and your caring in the manner demonstrated buoys him through the lowest points of cancer. Truly, his greatest blessing this Christmas…is you!
I was fascinated this past week to read from so many who appreciated my writing about going to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania last week to experience a blessing from those who gave everything they had in this life…so the rest of us can enjoy whatever little, or much, that we have on Christmas day.
I posted a photo on my Facebook page of soon-to-be-85-year-old friend Dean Shultz (below), of Gettysburg, who for nearly a quarter century has taught me what the beaurocrats and wokes of modern culture refuse to acknowledge about the Civil War – truths far too harsh for modern consumption. Without going into specifics, I will share that Dean is a third generation survivor of a Gettysburg family during the battle, and still lives in the house of his ancestors on Baltimore Pike. Remarkably, the darkest realities of that war are still in fresh evidence on his property, even after 150 years.
But what impressed me was correspondence from people, who while they don’t know Dean, understand his significance as the last vestige of Americans from that period, with the ability to teach why it was so important to the rest of us, even now.
Historian Edwin C. Bearrs once said this at a cemetery dedication at Gettysburg: “Those of you who tear down the monuments to that generation of patriots – you can never condemn the human monuments…the ones buried beneath where we stand.”
Someone wrote to say, “It’s nice to meet you, Mr. Shultz.” Another: “Thank you, sir, and your generation, for your patience to teach those of us too selfish to feel the gratitude.”
That, my friends, is a Christmas blessing, and we echo to Dean and wife Judy…thank you!
Finally, we’re exactly one month out today from another sad anniversary – January 24, 2021 – and the passing of our dear Ohio State friend, Bill Wells. Few people I’ve ever known have done more for others through his work with the Davis Foundation, in Columbus, his generosity to Ohio State University, his commitment to Ohio State baseball, and just passion for others…than Bill Wells.
I know I speak for hundreds, or thousands, of people impacted by the influence of his short 60 years in this earth, but Bill, literally, was the patron saint of not only Buckeye baseball, but the spirit of Ohio State University throughout the world. His compassion for others was remarkable, as was his commitment to do more than just the minimum with anything he tried.
And I say this now because the actual anniversary of his passing will surely go unnoticed by too many in January. But anyone who ever met Bill, or benefited from his influence, can truly count it as a blessing.
I spent time this week with his wife, Jackie, and I can truly say for all the afore-mentioned…there is no greater holiday gift than the people we’ve met, loved, and learned from as a result of 14 years of Press Pros Magazine. Its not always the score, or who wins.