“I have a very uncomplicated job, Alderman, to decide if a fire is arson or not and if so to catch the son of a bitch doing it. So if my investigative methods happen to muck up the campaign of certain mayor-wanabes, I got to tell ya I'm not going to lose any sleep over it”.
Now before you think I have gone off the deep end or am turning this blog into potty humor for shock value, please understand there is always a method to my madness.I just got back from the vet with my dog for his annual check-up and between last night’s news and this morning’s radio; I heard more and more about Manny Ramirez of the Boston Red Sox and his latest behavior or Choices.Around Boston it is known as “Manny being Manny”.I call it arrogance and someone who so many have enabled his entire young and adult life that he now has a pathetic sense of entitlement.
I am a huge fan and follow my hometown teams but Manny’s actions a few weeks ago have turned me off to the Red Sox.Some could argue that it is not fair to judge a team or an organization by one player (or employee) but I won’t accept that.Selfish people will ruin even the greatest teams (and I do not just mean in sports) even if those teams are made up of superstars.Look at the New York Yankees the last few years who consistently have the highest payroll and on paper what looks like the best players.We have Manny; the Yankees have A-Rod.If you have not heard, when the Sox were in Houston last month and Manny did not get the 16 tickets he requested for friends on game day, he pushed the Sox 64 year-old traveling secretary to the ground out of anger or frustration.(Click Here) for details.
This is far from the first incident of Manny’s arrogant behavior and now yesterday, there are reports of him insulting Red Sox ownership about not being honest with him.(Click Here) for this story including the response from Red Sox owner John Henry. Good for John Henry.Because the answer to why dogs lick themselves is the same answer to why Manny and so many others that feel that they are above the rules or entitled is “because they can” or rather “because they are allowed to”.This is an issue not just in professional sports but in all areas of our life full of relationships.It happens in the office with negative, selfish, rude employees.It happens in schools and youth sports with disruptive kids that take away from the class or team and it happens in our own families and social circles with people that act in a detrimental way that only looks out for what they want; who do not care about the goals or benefit of the group or whole.
I have written before about how special my dog is to me and even when he is fresh, I forgive him.But discipline is not just for animals and is not a bad word, it means to teach.Too many in all areas: home, office, school, sports, you name it have lost the focus that discipline is needed in everybody’s life regardless of age or occupation.If you have self-discipline, great but not enough people make that Choice and when they are allowed or enabled to act a certain way, and not held accountable, why should they change?Manny Ramirez has rarely been told “No” or been called on the carpet for his behavior and thus keeps pushing – literally.
As much as I love watching sports, I have no desire to go to Red Sox games right now and have been selling or giving my tickets away.I know this does not impact the Red Sox as I am one of 35,000 fans that go to games each night but if more people start responding as John Henry did, it is a start.It starts with kids and it must be a consistent process through adulthood that is delivered regardless if they hit the ball the farthest or have the best sales numbers.Behavior and attitude are Choices regardless of wealth, culture, religion, sex, occupation, age, you name it.I have met some of the most arrogant executives and athletes in my life as well as some of the nicest in the world.It is not an earned right to treat others poorly.
Today’s entry and opening quote from the movie “Backdraft” is dedicated to a man I met less than a year ago who died suddenly this week of an apparent heart attack while visiting family out of state.Howard Mastropiero was a semi-regular in my poker games and left us much too early at age 48.One of our town selectmen described him this way: “A husband, a father, a volunteer, an on-call Fire Fighter, a neighbor, a friend, and a person who would go completely out the way for anybody who asked”.His life was about helping and serving others.Manny Ramirez and so many could learn a lot from how Howard lived his life.
I couldn't agree with you more. At times it seems the privileged believe they've earned the right to act inappropriately without repercussions. Treat each other with respect, dignity and handle yourself in a way you would like to see your kids behave. As a side note to your dedication, I am one of many long time friends of Howard Mastropiero. My heart breaks for his 3 beautiful daughter's and his wife Cindy and I only wish everyone has a Howard in their life. His servant's heart was beyond any I've ever met before. To say he would go out of his way to help anyone who asked is an understatement. There are many many people in our community that are much better off because of Howard's selfless approach to life. Howard, you're with the father now and we will miss you dearly my friend.
Thanks for the note Robert and I do feel blessed even though I only knew Howard a short time. I knew the first time he came into my home he was good people and no doubt a great family man. I think he was looking over me tonight playing poker as I vowed to give half my winnings in his honor to the Fireman's fund which he was so passionate about and sure enough I won the tourney. God must need some help and took one of our finest community members. God Bless and thanks again.
We were lucky to have known Howard for the two years we lived on "his" street. He was, by far, one of the most generous people we met while living in Pelham. We moved there from Florida, and our first morning there we recieved a foot of snow. We awoke to the sound of an ATV snowplowing our driveway. Of course it was Howard, feeling pity for the newbies who probably didn't own a shovel! That act was what we will always remember as one of our fondest memories as new residents of NH. We were saddened to read of Howard's death, he was unforgettable.
Ellen and Wayne Grudzien
Thank you so much for the note Ellen and that was Howard - others first, before himself. I am glad you found the words I wrote about him as I can only imagine your surprise when you saw the title of this entry but I think Howard is laughing about it. You brought up a great point that Howard was also a great ambassador for our town of Pelham which has its share of issues to say the least. If more in town had Howard's committment and attitude, we would get more things done. Thanks again. Lou Longo