This Father’s Day is the 31st I have spent
remembering my father who was taken too young by pancreatic cancer, the 19th
I have cherished my fabulous good fortune to be a father to two wonderful men,
and the 9th I have sent out a note to my family and friends urging
them to join me in supporting the Live Strong Foundation.  Notice a theme
so far?


In the past 8 years, I have used the words “I”, “me” and
“my” to great effect.  I am still as self-absorbed as ever (I know that
must be a huge relief to you).  But this year rather than focus my annual
invitation on me, my story and my family (not to worry, details about all of
these scintillating topics are below) I wanted to let you know that for the
first time I have started a team and I would like you to join me.


The team is called “Team Fathers and Sons”.  The team began with me and my two heroes, Cameron and Michael.  Our first ride was this year’s 5 Boro Bike Tour. We rode in support of the Live
Strong Foundation one week after Michael finished his freshman year at THE Ohio
State and one week before Cameron became a bar mitzvah.  That I could
share the ride with Michael so soon after his freshman year was particularly
poignant.  Michael was named after my father and my father passed away a
mere month before I began my freshman year.  While Michael began college
more mature than I did (a low bar indeed) and has matured more over this past
year than I did during my freshman year (again, a low bar that he cleared with
room to spare), I can only now begin to truly imagine what my father was never
able to experience and what I, in turn, truly lost. 


As I said Michael and Cameron are both men now and I knew
that beating them both across the finish line would be a tall order as they are
not above ganging up on me.  Sure enough, as per usual, Michael ditched me
on the ride in the manner only a 19 year old young man can humiliate his 50
year old father.  So I divided and conquered and worked to guarantee that
while I didn’t finish first, I didn’t finish last. 


You may be asking yourself what kind of idiot is so fixated
on defeating his own children rather than reveling in the fact that his sons
are joining him in his favorite activity?  I can’t answer that
question.  Or, you may be asking yourself, how could I be so sure I
wouldn’t finish 3rd?  Easy: We rode a tandem.  Our day was fabulous. 
Cameron soldiered on despite a dismal view that never changed.  Michael
hanged back with us for most of the ride and the three of us got to catch up
for the first time in quite a while.  As we did so, and as Cameron
continued to work hard, I was reminded of how powerful a team can be. 
More importantly, I was struck by how much more rewarding it can be to
accomplish goals with the help of others than it is to do in solitude.


In years past, I have explained that my motivation in
raising money for the Live Strong Foundation is tied to the fact that when my
father was stricken with, and fought his valiant battle against, cancer he did
so alone.  Yes, he had my mother to rely on. Yes, he had his friends. But
he had nowhere to turn to get his questions answered. No experts he could speak
to.  No community to help him anticipate and address his
needs.   


It is with both those thoughts in mind that I have decided
this year to start our team.  That’s right.  Not my team. Our
team.  So let me tell you a little about our team.  Teams generally
have three characteristics.  One, a common goal.  Two, membership
requirements.  Three, a uniform.  Team Fathers and Sons will be no
different. 


The goal is obvious: to raise money and awareness to benefit
the Live Strong Foundation and its invaluable work to provide unique services
to meet the needs of cancer patients, survivors and their care givers. 
Just this year my cousin Stan was struck with cancer of the salivary glands and
the Foundation was there for him when he needed them most.  Among other
services, they put him in contact with a fellow salivary gland cancer patient
who could help Stan to understand what he was in for, what to expect and what
to ask.  Thus, from the outset he knew that he was not and would never be
alone.


Our team’s membership is also fairly obvious.  Team
Fathers and Sons has extremely rigorous membership requirements.  To join
you must either: a) have the good fortune as I have to be blessed with a son;
or b) have or had a father.  If you think you don’t qualify but would
still like to join I will promise to keep an open mind in reviewing your
appeal. 




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