On my drive home from class (45 minutes or so), I often have a lot of free time; especially after my CD player was stolen. Today, I was thinking of people I would like to meet and talk with. This is the list I came up with today:
Mitch Albom – One of the finest journalists I’ve ever read. He writes with conviction, states issues and isn’t afraid to say when an opinion is his. His sportswriting is top-notch, as evidenced by the numerous awards he’s received in that area. Additionally, he has written two of the finest novels (in my opinion) in the last twenty years, Tuesdays with Morrie and The Five People You Meet in Heaven. It’d be an honor to meet with him to discuss sports, life, issues, death, taxes, etc.
Bobby Fischer – One of the greatest chess players of all time, though he didn’t even consider including himself on a list of the top ten that he wrote some years back. I’ve commented before on how much I respect his knowledge of the game, and I would enjoy few things more than the chance to take a lesson from him over dinner.
Tommy Smothers – A great entertainer, with a quick wit and a clever insight into the world. His songs entertain without relying on sex or swear words. He works hard on his work, refusing to surrender for the easiest outlet for the joke. He stood up for his convictions, pushing for more leeway on the air with respect to the First Amendment. I’d love the chance to sit down with him for a day, as well.
Justice Clarence Thomas – The man is brilliant. He’s rational, reasonable, and sagacious. I’d be thrilled for the opportunity to spend an evening hearing his take on most issues. For example: He rejects affirmative action on the premise that it might perpetuate a stereotype that minorities need help, he believes in an America where everyone is equal not because the government said they had to be, but because that’s what America is about.
Steve Yzerman – The greatest sports leader I’ve seen. The man was captain for the Red Wings longer than most hockey players’ careers. He led by example. He led through hard work. He was there during the thin times, and he worked hard then. His teammates respond when he takes the ice, or laces up the skates, or shouts encouragement. Tenacious: He had an osteotomy in 2001 to correct a curvature of his femur. The surgeons cut his bone, shave it, and reform it so that it is straight. This is a surgery that senior citizens have so that they can walk with less pain. He did this and played in 16 games THAT SEASON, skating on their days off, saying “what kind of leader would I be if I didn’t show up for voluntary practices?” This was also the very same season that Alan Iverson complained about “practice! I show up to the games! Practice, man. (The Coach) is complaining about Practice!” Who would you rather have as your team’s captain? I’d cherish the opportunity to spend time in that sort of leadership.