In New Orleans last weekend, I had the opportunity to celebrate former Louisiana State University basketball coach Dale Brown for his lifetime of achievement in basketball. Before Dale stepped up to accept the crystal, Tim Brando of CBS, a TV legend in his own right, introduced Dale.
Brando noted that he had been a young reporter in Louisiana when Dale took an interest in him. He said Dale became more than a good interview–he became a mentor. I could totally relate. Twenty years ago, Dale had taken a similar interest in me as a young writer. I later co-authored his autobiography and years later he served as best man at my wedding. Brando then said that one of the most spectacular things about Dale was that there are “literally thousands of people across this country who could share my story because they, too, had been blessed by coach and they, too, consider themselves personally impacted by his goodness.”
Then Tim hit us all right between the eyes. He said that many of those who were sitting in the audience who have had their lives changed by Dale Brown often take for granted how blessed we all are to have had him there for us. I sat there and realized how right he was. Because Dale and I talk or email each other so frequently, I often forget how much richer my life has been because of this man. I know I can call him. I know he’ll help. And I know if I need him, he’d catch the first flight out and be there in a heartbeat.
Dale turns 77 on Oct. 31, and while he continues to move at the speed of light, we don’t know how long that blessing will always be there for us. Sitting in that ballroom last weekend was a wake-up call for me. Afterward I had the opportunity to grab Dale, tell him I loved him, and remind him how special he’s been to me. I also had the chance to remind myself that I can never again take his special gift, a gift of friendship, for granted.
On the flight home, I made a list of a few other “blessings” who have put their stamp on my life. I called each one before the day was done. I’m committing myself to learning from this moment.
How many of us have blessings out there, special people like Dale, who we just take for granted? Any suggestions on how you can remind them of their importance to you? Join the conversation.