Tuesday, March 22, 2016

My Jim Valvano St. Patrick's Day

When people say to me how do you get through life or each day, it’s the same thing. To me, there are three things we all should do every day. We should do this every day of our lives. Number one is laugh. You should laugh every day. Number two is think. You should spend some time in thought. Number three is, you should have your emotions moved to tears, could be happiness or joy. But think about it. If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that’s a full day. That’s a heck of a day.
 Jim Valvano

For those of you that don’t know, Jim Valvano was a college basketball coach back in the 80’s.  He was a classic, passionate, expressive, crazy, Italian man, and at the age of 47 he died of bone cancer. He gave the speech that includes this quote 8 weeks before he died in 1993 at the Espy’s.

I’ve never forgotten it.

It really made me stop and think. What makes a great day anyway? How do you measure it?

Jimmy V seems to nail it here.

I recently had a chance to think about this as I celebrated my first St. Patrick’s Day overseas. Having lived in Chicago for 20 years (and managing a nightclub for ten of those), I know a little about St. Patrick’s Day. In Chicago it’s a green Armageddon, and I’ve had a lifetime of memories originate from those experiences.

So I wasn’t expecting much from Auckland.  It’s a big city and all, but it’s no Chicago.

But boy was I wrong.

Getting an early start, I walked into O’Hagans on the Viaduct and heard some great Irish music playing and hundreds of people singing and dancing along. 

I was home!

So I jumped in with full gusto. To the front of the dance floor! I met a couple crazy Irish guys who were arguing who got there first. They both started at like 8 in the morning, so really it was kind of a moot point. But God was it funny, and I ended up laughing my ass off with these guys.

Valvano point 1? You should laugh every day? Check

The day turned into night, and the musicians launched into some traditional Irish music. These two little ladies aged 75 and 92 slowly addled to the dance floor, determined to dance like they did back in Ireland when they were young girls back in the old country. It was a wonderful lesson for me. Never stop dancing. And I’m not ashamed to admit I cried watching about those little old ladies doing an Irish jig thousands of miles from home.

Valvano point 3? (Yes I know I’m out of order here) You should have your emotions moved to tears, could be happiness or joy. Check.

Later some American friends met me and we sang and laughed and danced the night away.

It didn’t seem like a good time for thinking, but believe it or not I summoned the power at the end of that wonderful day.

And what I thought about? Life always has the capacity to surprise you. Even though I’m a little older now and a long way from home, I still had an amazing St. Patrick’s Day.

Life is what you make of it. That’s a fact.

Valvano point 2? Think. You should spend some time in thought. Check

And that my friends was a heck of a day.