I am going to guess that most people on this distribution can point to a few days every year -- aside from the standard holidays and anniversaries/birthdays -- and say "this is one of my favorite days of the year."
Perhaps it's that day of an annual member-guest golf outing, the opening of fishing or hunting season, an annual excursion with a son or daughter to a ballgame or a show, or a day out with "the boys" or "the girls" for a special outing to a special spot.
These days and the memories created are truly special and make life worth living.
In short order over the course of the last few years, one of my favorite days every year is now the day in which past Holy Cross Football greats are inducted into the Ring of Honor. Why is this day so special?
A number of reasons all of which revolve around the people involved, the setting, the atmosphere, the game itself, and the camaraderie. I feel such pride knowing I am connected to such a quality crowd as that which defines itself as the Holy Cross Football family.
Thinking back just a few short years, I fondly recall the recollections that Vince Promuto shared with us as to how he barely understood what Fr. Brooks was saying to the incoming freshman class in Kimball Hall when that impressionable group first congregated on campus -- but how Brooks and all the Jesuits stood by him as he worked his way through school.
Vince's emotional statement that "Holy Cross is an Ivy League school with soul" is a memory I will never forget. The other honorees that day (Bill Osmanski's son Bob, Ed Murphy, Gordie Lockbaum, Gill Fenerty, and John Provost) also spoke from the heart about exploits and friendships that evoked emotions that were equally palpable. (2010 video)
The victory over Fordham by our Crusaders capped an absolutely fabulous day.
Fast forward a year later to fall 2011, I was struck by the path that Joe Wilson walked us down as he recounted his youth on a farm in North Carolina never even thinking about college let alone about a school on a hill by the name of Holy Cross.
Joe's high school coach from Jamaica Plain High School shared this special induction day with him and his family and it was obvious as to how strong the bond was that had formed between them; Joe spoke from the heart when he said that his high school coach made boys into men. I pinched myself as I watched Joe express his love for his high school coach and then that special school upon a hill.
Dick Regan's recalling the memory of Joe's running for 275 yards against Rutgers also evoked a special personal emotion as I was in the stands that day myself to witness Joe running roughshod up and down the field.
Jon Morris also spoke with real eloquence that day reflecting on the memories of a teenager who grew into a man wearing the Purple. Al Connor spoke superbly as he conveyed how much Holy Cross meant to his Dad who went on to fabulous success on other college and professional fields of play but always with a soft spot in his heart for his days as a Crusader. (2011 video)
The kickoff under the lights vs UMass in front of close to 17k fans for the first ever night game made for a fabulous ending (despite the outcome of the game itself) to a superb day.
Bruce Kozerksi was also honored in 2011 but on a separate day given a personal conflict. His public remarks and then those captured on an interview with TV 3 brought back special memories for those of us who were on campus during those years to see Bruce dominate the line of scrimmage in Purple prior to his illustrious career in the NFL.
Just last year once again I had a catbird's seat to hear Jeff Wiley walk us down memory lane as he recounted his youth football pursuits and then his watching the Prudential College Scoreboard and seeing the name Holy Cross for the first time. In fairly short order he came to Worcester and largely rewrote the record book during his career. Ever the gentleman, Jeff directed the credit to a coaching staff that always had the team prepared and his teammates. It was truly special.
Pat McCarthy and Ron Cahill's nephew Brian also shared some very special memories that left an equally strong impression.
Now in less than two weeks, we get to live this dream once again as we will congregate atop Mt. St. James for the induction of John Turco '52, Tom Greene '59, and Dave Quehl '76 into the Holy Cross Ring of Honor.
I can assure you that this individual date and those of prior inductions are not simple stand alone events. When you listen to the emotion in the comments shared by the honorees and you hear from the friends and family of those being inducted as to just how special this honor is, you truly gain an appreciation that the common bond that runs through all of us goes back a long way and is incredibly strong.
We strengthen it even further as we gather and honor this year's inductees. In doing so we celebrate the greatness that is the Holy Cross Football tradition and the special place that our college occupies among all schools.
On that note, if you are anywhere close to Worcester, I beseech you to make plans to join us on Saturday September 21st as John Turco (whose son will accepts the honor in his name), Tom Greene, and Dave Quehl join prior honorees in reflecting back on their days wearing the Purple and then seeing their names unveiled for perpetuity at Fitton Field.
I assure you that you will not be disappointed as you walk across campus, catch up with friends, tailgate with former teammates, and then capture the Field of Dreams moment when at 5:45pm that afternoon -- as the sun prepares to set -- the 2013 honorees walk to midfield to accept their well earned acclaim. As they are honored individually, they also bring honor to us all.
This game on the 21st will be Holy Cross' next home game. Please make plans now to come and support Coach Gilmore and the 2013 Holy Cross Crusaders.
Recruit your friends and teammates. Get there in plenty of time to set up a tailgate that will create memories for years to come.
Let's set the scene: Crisp Indian summer day. . . tailgate supreme. . . Ring of Honor . . . a 6pm kickoff under the lights . . . cool breeze blowing . . . a guarantee of Purple victory . . . bring the family . . . this is what memories are made of!!
I look forward to seeing many of you both before and after the game. Post game victory beers on me.
As always, in all we do both on and off the field . . .
As an appetizer and thanks to certainly one of HC Football's greatest supporters, Brendan Devlin '01, I welcome sharing video clips from last year's remarks. While the video is somewhat blurred, the audio is crystal clear. THANK YOU Brendan!!
please accept my apology if you receive this more than once...