I have been asked to post the speech I made at the Connecticut Sports Writers' Alliance's 70th annual Gold Key Dinner held April 17, 2011, at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington. Thank you to those who have asked. It was important to me to pay tribute to our mission rather than focus on myself. I'd like to think that weaving in some family and a bit of American history refelects my ideals. Here goes:
One of the first rules dictated by the august body of sports writers who run this dinner is KEEP YOUR SPEECH SHORT. They waggle their finger at you and say, “Five minutes … tops.”
It’s a good rule. If anybody’s going to run long, let it be the other people on this dais, those who have done so much to enrich Connecticut’s sports landscape.
And besides, who says you have to be long to be effective? Seven score and eight years ago, President Lincoln needed just short of 270 words to articulate the most famous speech in American history, honoring the Civil War dead at Gettysburg, Pa.
This one surely isn’t going to change the world the way that one did, but I hope it has some effect in our little corner of it.
The Art McGinley Award is presented for meritorious service to the Connecticut Sports Writers Alliance. Why should I or any other state sports journalist put time and effort into this organization?
As the late, great Bo Kolinsky impressed upon me in a way that only he could, the mission of the Alliance is indeed a worthy one. Our mission is to perpetuate our craft by raising money to help the next generation of sports journalists defray their college expenses.
We do so by honoring these folks who sit next to me. A win-win situation. MONEY GOES TO THE KIDS; AWARDS GO TO THE DESERVING, and the gracious people of the Alliance who donate their time to make this happen recognize that their selfless acts have a way of filling their hearts when this day comes to an end.
Art McGinley and the other Founding Fathers of the Connecticut Sports Writers’ Alliance had some of these things in mind. Bo Kolinsky enabled their vision to evolve into something more contemporary, and since he passed in 2003, it has continued to evolve.
To today’s honorees, I thank you for a lifetime of dedication to sports in our state, and for helping steer the Gold Key Dinner toward what I pray will be a vibrant future.
To those here to honor me in particular, I am humbled by your presence. And by the way today is my mother-in-law’s birthday. God bless you, Fayna. I don’t think you want all these folks knowing how old you are, but leave us to say that next year will be a milestone in your blessed life.
To the men of the Alliance, thank you so much for selecting me to receive this honor. I will cherish it forever.
And to Abe Lincoln who steered this nation through a most difficult test that began exactly 150 years and 5 days ago, every person owes you a great debt that can never be repaid.