I hope this message finds you doing well. With the official start to summer upon us tomorrow, I hope you have the opportunity to slow down, enjoy increased time with family and friends, and reflect on that which is good in your life. For me personally the fabulous relationships I have with so many on this distribution and throughout the extended Holy Cross Football family brings me untold pleasure. For that, I thank you all.
1. On that note, many of us had a chance to reconnect recently at the annual Holy Cross Football Golf Outing held this year at Cyprian Keyes Golf Club in Boylston. The winning team consisted of Bob Hurley, Craig Cerretani, Mark Roman, and Jack Laurendeau. The camaraderie was as good as ever although we do need to increase the numbers for this outing and that was a topic of conversation among many of us that day. To that end, we will implement a formal Golf Committee next year to turn out the troops. I thank Glenn Verrette and Curt Bletzer for already stepping up to be on the committee. More on this after the season but with an evenly distributed range of graduating years on the committee, I am confident we can make sure the outing is an SRO event every year.
I want to thank all those who played in and/or sponsored the outing with special shout outs to Mark Cannon, Joe Marcaurele, Greg Draddy, and Bob Hurley for being particularly generous. To review photos from the day, check this link.
I thank Coach Gilmore for providing great insights on the program and the upcoming season. I also thank LuAnn Hennessy and Heather Palmer who were integral to making the day a real success. I also want to thank AD Nate Pine -- and his deputy Joe Bertoletti -- for joining us and sharing his perspective and vision for the futuire of Holy Cross Football and Holy Cross Athletics. Lots of work and lots of excitement are right in front of us.
2. We should be out by the end of the month with the announcement as to who will be inducted this year into the Ring of Honor. Thanks for your patience. I can inform you that the reception and induction ceremony this year are scheduled for Homecoming September 27th when the Crusaders take on Fordham. The 2014 induction represents the fifth year for this program. For those who have attended any of the receptions and been in attendance for the on field inductions and unveiling of the banners to honor the individuals already in the ROH, I think I can speak for all in saying how sweet it is . . . and given the quality and quantity of those yet to be inducted, we will be at this for a while.
3. As I write about the ROH program, though, I am forced to pause and reflect on the fact that there are so many true legends who may never have their name prominently displayed at Fitton Field but have left their mark on this program in ways that some certainly know and appreciate but others may not.
I ask you to pray for two of our brothers, those being Paul Digangi '80 and Tom O' Brien '59.
I was recently informed by some of Paul's teammates/classmates that he has suffered serious ailments. Rather than my trying to write on Paul's condition, I think it far better if I provide this link that details his plight and offers an opportunity to provide support. May the good Lord watch over Paul and his family. I thank you.
The Holy Cross Football Family lost one of its finest last week with the passing of Tom O' Brien. This self-proclaimed bird dog left his mark upon Holy Cross Football and countless Crusaders in ways that are impossible to properly describe. As I recently wrote to another Crusader about Tom, "he has not really left us, he has just taken his game to an even larger field of play. In doing so, you can rest assured that Tom O' Brien is working the sideline and chewing the good Lord's ear on behalf of the Cross." Ever the Crusader, in Tom's obituary we read, "Donations in his memory may be made to the Holy Cross Gridiron Club."
On that note, here is the link to make that gift. If you need further inspiration to make a gift in Tom's memory, here you go. I recently received the following message from Mark Tolzein '12 who developed a very special relationship with Tom. I thank Mark for putting into words what makes Holy Cross, Holy Cross Football, and Tom O' Brien so special.
"During my four years at Holy Cross, I had the pleasure of being mentored by Tom O'Brien. Everything that makes Holy Cross a special place can be summed up in Tom. For me and many of my classmates, the unique alumni connection Holy Cross provides was a major draw in bringing us to Worcester. However, what Tom provided was much more than I envisioned the impact of alumni to be - a connection to fellow alumni for future interviews.
Every moment with him was a chance to learn as he always wanted to share from his past experiences. As those who knew Tom would agree, he wasn't afraid to tell you what he thought whether you liked it or not. There was always the firm handshake test upon every greeting, the careful study of how I ate my meals, and most importantly there was always his challenge to me to get more active within the Holy Cross community and with our alumni.
More than anything, he wanted me and my classmates to succeed in life and he took pride in taking us under his wing. When I was struggling, he found ways to help even so far as calling professors he knew to get me the tutoring I needed. What Tom created best was a friendship and feeling of family in an unfamiliar area far from home.
He opened his Cape Cod home to my teammates and I during long Easter breaks when we couldn't make it home. He connected with our families and made long trips to places like Hamilton, New York for big games when he knew we didn't have family in the stands.
Tom O'Brien gave me so much more than I expected when I stepped foot on Mt. St. James. He was the most influential person I came across in my 4 years and should stand as the blueprint of what an alum can mean to a student-athlete. There are so many values and lessons that he taught me that will continue to shape how I live my life.
Tom O' Brien's passion for Holy Cross is unmatched along with his dedication to giving back to the football program he loved so much. He will surely be missed but his impact will live on with all of those who were lucky enough to know him."
That's what it is all about boys and girls.
May the good Lord bless Paul, Tom, and Crusaders everywhere.
HCGLC: committed to excellence in helping Holy Cross Football win on and off the field.