Call it Courage: Laugh, Think, and Cry

Welcome back!

And let’s get right into what we’ll call “Dozen Day.” (Yeah, I know we talked about a “baker’s dozen” just yesterday, so, at least, we’re still on topic, right?! (-:)

OK, enough jokes. Just trying to keep you guys loose.

So, here are 12 “12s” for your consideration:

  1. A dozen eggs
  2. 12 (squared) = 144
  3. If/when you hit the tables at Vegas or some other gambling haven, as cool as double-sixes may look in front of you, a “12” (commonly known as a “box car, ” so I’m told ) is a decidedly losing roll.  (In fact, the superstitious gambler will say that 12 just equals
    BAD LUCK.)
  4. For all you Shakespeare aspirants, how about “Twelfth Night?”  (And perhaps for some more harmless fun, you can create your own cast for that classic show. Let’s start with your Viola?)
  5. How about 12th grade for nostalgia’s sake? Who remembers that first day of high school way back when? C’mon, you remember. And then flash forward to the last day of 12th grade, that day when you thought you had it all figured out??  And even better, did your school have some sort of “Senior Skip Day,” where you were all but obligated to ditch? Where was your haven that day? And who did you spend it with?
  6. What do you say to 12 clanging bongs (pardon any unintended double entendre there, please!) of a grandfather clock?  The kind that maybe was passed down to your parents, the first note of which was enough to scare the living Christ
    out of you – every time!
  7. Your favorite #12 in sports, maybe? Whether on the diamond, the gridiron, the ice, the hardwood, the pitch, etc., there are a ton of #12s from which to choose; plenty of QBs, middle infielders, wingers, shooting guards, fly ‘halfs, etc. for you to celebrate.
  8. How about hanging out with a pack of wolves?  By definition, they say that a “pack” can be anything from 2-36 individual wolves.  So if you’ve got a dozen, you’ve got some serious chomping power!
  9. Let’s find a little symmetry – or, at least, let’s try to be clever, by tying a few things together.  Speaking of wolves and wolf pack(s) and the late, great “Jimmy V” Valvano, let’s remember that wiry, over-achieving basketball coach from Queens, NY.
    More on him later.
  10. For you throwback TV fans, you may recall a long-running series, Adam-12. It’s just you and LAPD officers Pete Malloy (Martin Milner) and Jim Reed (Kent McCord), as they ride the streets of Los Angeles in their patrol unit, 1-Adam-12.
  11. If you’re a fan of the hapless New York football Jets, you’ve probably seen one too many 12-men-on-the-field penalties, huh? (Yep, the rules say the max is 11.)
  12. The famous/infamous date of 15 April serves to remind us of the 1,500+ people who never made it across from Liverpool, England to New York City aboard the Titanic, all the way back in 1912.

Lastly, and getting back to a true David vs. Goliath-type showdown, the aforementioned and unflappable James “Jimmy V” Valvano managed to lead his North Carolina Wolf Pack to a stunning 54-52 upset overly the heavily-favored University of Houston Cougars.

The improbable giant-slaying fairy tale became instant folklore when North Carolina heaved up a desperation shot with no time left. The shot fell right into the hands of one of the Wolf Pack’s forwards, and he tossed it in for one of the greatest buzzer-beating
moments ever recorded.

If you can find a few minutes, treat yourself to a viewing of some of the game’s highlights. (It’s the 1983 NCAA Men’s Basketball final, and I’m sure you can find it on YouTube.)  You’ll be treated to a celebration that is still shown today on tournament highlight programs, with the irrepressible Jimmy V jubilantly tearing around the court.

The story of college hoops’ favorite giant killer, unfortunately has a sad epilogue, with nice-guy/fighter J. Valvano losing his battle with cancer a decade later.

What Valvano is perhaps even better known for was his unwavering upbeat nature. In a now-famous award acceptance speech (for the ESPYs only months before he passed away), he told the crowd that it was important to laugh, think, and cry every day, a metaphor for living every day like it could be your last.

And he capped off the night by sending a simple message – a mantra really – that, no matter how elemental, reminds us that courage and attitude must go hand in hand:

“Don’t give up; don’t ever give up.”

Thinking of you, Jimmy V. You were all heart, sir.





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