Platform

Monday, July 18, 2016.  Got a chance to watch the ESPY’s on Saturday morning with Jen (the kids went away for an action-packed weekend at the shore with their grandparents, which was hugely appreciated (the trip also came with transportation to and from!) considering we did not know what our “transfusion” schedule was going to be on Friday and Sunday).

I had not truly appreciated that the ESPY’s was so much more than a review of the greatest moments in the past year of sports.  It is that, but it also so much more.  Yes I had seen the commercials in the past, heard bits and pieces of the Jim Valvano speech and listened to the acceptance speeches from both Michael Sam and Kaitlyn Jenner when they were honored (respectively) with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award.  But I never fully comprehended that the sports is truly secondary when it comes to the ESPY awards.  Instead, the ESPY’s uses sports as a platform to make a difference, whether it be social injustice, gun control, cancer and so much more.  I am sure someone has studied the “evolution” of the ESPY’s, demonstrating that it was sports-focused when at the inception.  But I do know that Jim Valvano’s famous speech (after he received the Arthur Ashe Courage Award) was in the ESPY’s inaugural year (1993).  In any event, kudos to ESPN and ABC for a great and meaningful awards show.  Only one question:  what exactly does the invite say as to the dress code?  [If anyone has watched, you will no doubt understand.]

This year’s awards hit particularly close to home because both Eric Berry (Hodgkins’ Lymphoma) and Craig Sager (Acute Myeloid Leukemia) were honored.  There was also a powerful call to action from Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Dwayne Wade and LeBron James.  And Zenobia Dobson’s speech, on behalf of her son Zaevion Dobson who gave his life (at 15) while literally covering two teenage girls from gang-related gun shots directed at them for no reason at all, was both incredible and hard to digest at the same time.  No offense to any other award recipients, Peyton, Abby or Kobe (honored as “legends”) or the tribute to Muhammed Ali, but these were the four clips that I would watch if I did not have the time to watch the entire show.  The clips and speeches speak for themselves.  Remember, this is coming from a Cavs fan (but watching LeBron pick up several trophies was truly secondary to what the ESPY’s are all about).

Athletes, ESPN and all of the major sports leagues have a phenomenal platform to reach a wide audience for the many causes that they in fact stand up for time and time again.  They all should be commended (and applauded).  As should Zenobia Dobson and the millions of other non-famous people in this world who donate their resources — whether it be time or money — to causes that are important to them.  While athletes have an opportunity to get their message out to a huge audience, we all have the ability (and a platform) to effect change.

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I am sitting in Infusion Room 25 today.  Have not been in this spot before.  Although it is not different (in any material respect) than any of the other infusion rooms.  After not needing blood or platelets on Friday and having the Sunday transfusion appointment cancelled, I was thinking that today was simply going to be a check-up with the doctor.  Turns out my counts were pretty low and I needed two units (i.e., bags) of blood and one unit of platelets.  Notwithstanding the low hemoglobin, it was a good and active weekend.  Got to relax with Jen, catch up with friends, even made it out to a birthday party Friday night, walked outside and on the treadmill, and hung out with the boys at a friend’s pool followed by dinner on the deck and a special trip for yogurt.  Reading to Ryan and Brandon last night was the highlight of the day.  My counts should recover just time for visiting day on Saturday, which I am really looking forward to.  Just being able to watch Jake and have him show us around his camp is going to be awesome.  Then it is back home for the next round of treatment in the hospital.  Although the Doctor suggested giving us a few days “to enjoy” once my counts have recovered, both Jen and I did not hesitate in saying we both wanted to get started on this next round as soon as we can.  After all, the sooner you start, the sooner you finish.

11 thoughts on “Platform”

  1. Thought that Craig Sager’s comments were incredibly powerful ad never knew he was so eloquent. Evidently when its truly personal the words flow from your soul. Also thought the tone of the basketball stars was very appropriate. Given that Michael Jordan and Tiger never commented on social issues it was great to see athletes feel for the issues and so eloquently expressed themselves in a balanced way. Laughed the next morning at the criticism for using the ESPY’s as a pulpit.
    Keep the faith and always enjoy your perspectives.
    Very best,
    Jon

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  2. Keep up the good work my man I’ve been reading your posts, you are inspiring! My wife and I are heading to Maine this wknd for visiting day too. It’s such a great day, enjoy!!! -elks

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    1. The ESPY’s gave athletes an important platform, and the viewers a lot to reflect upon just as you do in each of your posts. Thank you for reminding us about what’s important. Hope all goes perfectly this week so you can enjoy camp visiting day this weekend.
      Much love,
      Susan and Barry

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      1. I was out there. I was a walking scorer. I was up tight and scared. No way do I have your courage, dear friend. By the way, now I am sorry I asked to see your law school transcript. Rick

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  3. My brother. Gracias for being a great warrior. I have no doubt you will beat this thing. We all miss you here at the job. I hope to see you soon! Ramiro

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  4. Josh,
    With our 20 year reunion coming up there’s been a lot of reconnection with The Class of ’96. I just learned of your diagnosis and the blog you’ve created. Even though we haven’t spoken or seen each other in decades, when I think of you and our high school years I can only smile.You always exuded such great energy, and from reading your Blog I can see you haven’t changed at all (minus a few hairs on your head!)
    I am so proud of your success and accomplishments in life, both personally and professionally. I have no doubt that you will tackle what lies ahead with the same gusto you have everything else you’ve put your mind to. I will keep checking in…Sending Lots of Love and Strength.
    Lauren (Bell) Leslie

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    1. No doubt I am down a few hairs. Unbelievably, that started about 15 minutes after high school graduation. But all good.

      Thank you for reaching out and passing along this note. I really appreciate it. Has been great to reconnect with lots of old friends. Wish it was under better circumstances, but I have learned the circumstances really don’t matter — just the fact that we get to reconnect. Would love to hear what is going on in your life. And while I physically cannot make it this weekend, I look forward to hearing all of the details and hopefully seeing pictures of sounds like will be a really good turnout. Thanks again for reaching out. Speak to you soon.

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