Real Hero's of Sports

I've been doing shows about sports for 40 years, everything from High School through the Pro's but for some reason this morning the most obvious thought finally hit me. The coaches that really make the difference are the one's we never hear about, it's the coaches that volunteered their time to get us all started. The mom's and dad's, whether they were yours or not, that got you started. Spending hours volunteering to coach, encourage, and teach the values of not only winning but the grace of character when you lost. They who suffered the slings and arrows of over exuberant parents who felt they were future agents of big stars. I will always be thankful but especially to my first little league coach, Mando Toninni who's understanding and compassion for a tubby little 4th grade kid who was someday going to play for the Dodgers (never happened) to bring me the true value of participation and the encouragement to work hard in whatever I do. Most of all to have fun win or lose. It may have helped that he was a Funeral Director and we weren't that good. As I once told Bull's Coach Fred Hoiberg. "I helped make you what you are, do you remember when I was coaching senior league baseball?" "Yes "he replied, "But you never coached me." "That's right" I replied, "You owe me!"