Mike loved sports. But you might be surprised to know that he never watched the NFL, or the NBA. He only watched Major League Baseball if it included attending a baseball game with his kids. Athletics wasn’t about entertainment for Mike.
Mike believed that athletics were a tool for children to better themselves. He believed that sports provided kids a way to learn a good work ethic, good sportsmanship, how win and, more importantly, how to lose. Sports teaches kids healthy habits in exercise and time management. Athletics can keep kids in school, who otherwise would choose to drop out. It can help kids build social skills and discipline. All of these things will help our children become helpful, productive and happy adults.
Mike would tell you that sports saved his life. He felt that many adults didn’t expect him to graduate high school, much less go on to college. But because he wanted to be on the Football team and because he wanted to be on the Baseball team, he wanted his chance to wrestle, he showed up everyday and did everything he could to keep his grades above passing, just to get the chance to play. And college for Mike seemed out of reach both educationally and financially, but Football provided him that opportunity he didn’t think he had. Football gave him the drive to then keep the college grades up and eventually graduate with his Bachelors degree. By then he knew he could do it and went on to earn his MBA.
Athletics can be such a positive influence in so many children’s lives. Too many kids are being steered away from athletics at an early age. In Mike’s honor, we want to do everything we can to hold up the organizations that provide these opportunities in the community that Mike served, the 59th district of Pennsylvania.