A Blessed Life – Service & Change
It’s hard for me to go anywhere in the San Francisco/San Jose Bay Area of Northern California in America and not be recognized, stared at, or stopped and told how wonderful I am or the difference I’ve made in people’s lives. It’s interesting to find out whether they know me from my 20+ years sports and newscasting on television & radio, as politician (Mayor of Los Gatos, CA), 20+ years as a yoga teacher, from charity events or just as “that friendly, black guy”. Sometimes it’s because I’m 64 now and look so young and fit.
Or because my wife is the woman I’ve searched for all my life and she looks like this:
I have a circle of male friends I trust with my life. We’re part of an International organization called The ManKind Project and our mission is to save the sacred masculine for our time. We meet regularly to support each other living a life of mission and fulfillment.
I’ve lived a charmed life, born to extraordinary, loving parents who had spent 13 years trying to have a child. My arrival was an answered prayer and they treated me like it. They taught me to read before I was 3, convinced me I was, as my father said almost every day of my life, “The greatest little boy in the world and able to do whatever I want!” I intend my life and work help others feel the same.
Blessings find me to this day. I’ve always been healthy (minus only a tonsillectomy, enough eczema to keep me out of Vietnam and a nasty habit of almost drowning), strong, smart, successful, semi-sane, and lovable.
Tops in my class in Wooster High School (actually second to Pete Klosterman… KLOSTERMAN!). As a senior I captained a championship baseball team, made all conference, got accepted to Yale, found my first love. I lived the All-American, Ohio farm boy dream.
I grew up living like a little rich kid because my parents lived in a suite on the second floor in the home of the richest couple in the county. They’d be butler and maid at parties and companion for the wife while the husband was off traveling as captain of his industries; practicing law and operating a stud farm for top trotting horses.
From age 8 I’d wander the estate, which included a lake, small forest, ponies to ride, horses to watch doing what studs do, and frequently being visited by my heroes. Players from the Cleveland Browns pro football team would drive the 50 miles to “my” house to BBQ lunch at the home of their lawyer/agent! Just imagine Superman, Spiderman and the Hulk coming over to your place as a child.
Right out of college I got a job with AT&T, then the world’s largest corporation, as a management trainee in Pittsburgh, PA. Bored with the corporate culture after only a year I walked into a television station and despite the odds being minus 100% anyone would even see me, I asked for my dream job. The News Director not only saw me, he liked me and recommended me to another station in the market. After some twists, turns and training, I got the weekend sports anchor job at WIIC-TV channel 11 at 22 years old despite no previous experience!
Although scared to death, I wound up succeeding and a station in San Francisco, California asked me to come there and do the same thing. This was not before I said “shitty” on the air describing a frustrating playoff loss for the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball team. I kept my job only because I’d offhandedly asked the venerable news anchor if I could say that, and he, thinking I was kidding, said, “Sure kid”. The outrage (“See what happens when you let a nigger on TV.”) was matched by the good will of having said what any real Pirate fan felt.
San Francisco, California, was (is) hip and sophisticated. I loved sports so much I was great on the air and popular with viewers. Eight years later I left SF to go to San Jose to be a news anchor (mistakenly thinking it was more prestigious) and to escape a mysterious plague that seemed to be killing all my gay friends…
Then twenty years as a broadcaster, reporter, anchor, radio talk show host, being master of ceremonies of choice for non-profits, HBO specials, Norcal Golf Association Journalist of the Year, Radio and TV News Directors Association award winner, Chair of the San Jose Sports Authority Board of Directors, Vice-Chair of the Santa Clara County Ethics Commission, fundraiser for the great job training program, Job Train.
Tired of TV not saving the world fast enough (that was the job I felt I’d been born to do) I left TV news casting and was soon asked by the new owners of the San Francisco Giants baseball team to help influence the SF community to get the votes for a new stadium (Pac Bell). I contributed the deciding vote on choosing a female public address announcer, thought of the old guy “ball dudes”, fought and won the case for making Junior Giants Baseball the team’s community PR identity and brought in professional methods to raise funds for the Giants Community Fund.
The tech gold rush going on in Silicon Valley was too tempting not to try, so I left the Giants to go panning. A robotics start-up trying to create the world’s first robot golf caddy seemed plausible, so I helped raise millions to do the engineering that never quite got it done.
Next stop was creative producer for “Adventures with Kangaroddy”, a TV show featuring a karate-kicking Kangaroo that taught emotional intelligence to 5 year olds. It featured Pat Morita and the wives of Joe Montana and Ronnie Lott and was good enough to go public and experience a 10 plus million dollar valuation until it didn’t. About 20 wonderful episodes exist somewhere but it never made money.
About the time the kangaroo stopped kicking, the members of the community I’d moved to asked me to run for town council. I won the seat, served 4 years and got to be Mayor but became convinced I was not cut out for political office. Approached to run for congress, I was repelled by the requirement to raise money full-time and not convinced frequent cross country flights to be only one small voice in a dysfunctional institution was worth it.
I wore my yoga clothes to my last council meeting, and ran right to a small storefront yoga studio so I might live my dream of teaching yoga and giving massage before I got too old. I invested eleven wonderful years healing others and doing my inner work.
Today my life is empowered by a commitment to fitness. These days it takes the form of running, swimming, calisthenics, resistance training and my invention, The PleasureStretch De-Aging System, which provides the stretch of your life, I’m blessed by my lifetime achievement award – my beautiful wife, partner and best friend Olga.
My mother died suddenly when I was 11 and for my whole adult life I’d been looking for a woman with whom I could feel loved and would be the partner I always sensed could help me fulfill my potential and enjoy my successes. And, just as I was giving up, in December of 2011, she arrived! A fiery, sensuous sorceress from Ukraine, 25 years younger than I, awake, conscious, vibrantly alive, powerfully able to fight her way through all my emotional defenses, to help me reawaken. We married just seven weeks after we met, are blissful and effective together and look forward to many anniversaries to celebrate in joy, sharing our discoveries with others. Together we run an alternative PR & social media marketing agency SocialAgenda Media. We have a speakers bureau, run crowdfunding campaigns, provide clients with quality content. Laughing and loving, we launch remarkable people with remarkable ideas and live in joy and purpose. What a life!
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