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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Watching Old Movies

Today was a quiet day. We didn't do much of anything since the Big Guy had a headache. We didn't go anywhere. So we surfed the oceans of channels on the satellite for something that would interest us. I found The Pride of the Yankees (1942) starring Gary Cooper as Lou Gehrig on Turner Classic Movies. I like old movies. The guys generally don't, but big guy does like "true stories" and he doesn't like watching movies we have seen 14 gazillion times, so I selected it. I figured if he commented or acted really bored with it, I'd turn it off. Little Guy wasn't interested, but we watched the whole thing and it was pretty good! We're not big sports nuts, but this was more focused on what kind of man Lou Gehrig was.. The movie was very good. I search Lou Gehrig after the movie was over and read a little more about him. It seems he was a very decent man, even more so than the movies was able to paint. In his time, Lou Gehrig was a rock star of the baseball diamond, hugely famous for his stats, but he also was well remembered for being humble and when he knew his health was preventing him from benefiting the team he loved, he drew even more admiration for stepping back so he wouldn't hinder his team or his teammates. His farewell speech was an awesome example of his humble spirit. That old movie didn't go further than that point in his life, but in reading about him I learned that after stepping out of the baseball spotlight, he accepted a ten year appointment by Mayor Fiorello La Guardia as the New York Parole Board Commissioner. Even though he had been offered other, more lucrative speaking and and guest appearances, he accepted the Commissioner post because it gave him the opportunity to do public service. He took the job seriously and visited the city's correction facilities, always insisting that the visits NOT be covered by the media. 
Sadly, a little less than a year and a half after beginning his term as Parole Board Commissioner, he resigned because the ALS had made it impossible for him to continue the job. About a month later and 16 years to the day that he had replaced Wally Pipp on first base, Lou Gehrig died at his home. 
There are some people that truly deserve to be remembered and Lou Gehrig is one of them. He was a decent, humble man and he had immense integrity. And he didn't let those qualities fade away because he became famous. I am very glad we stopped and watched this movie. I might not have looked to read more about him if we hadn't. 

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