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Arnie Garinger's
College Misericordia
Awards Speech

A final wish of our father was to post a speech he wrote and delivered at the College Misericordia athletic awards banquet in the spring of 2004. Our dad loved having an audience. Telling jokes and giving speeches were some of his favorite things in the whole world; probably second only to his love for our mom. When he wrote the speech that follows, he knew it could most likely be the last one he gave due to his illness -- Wegener's Granulomatosis.

 

My name is Arnie Garinger. I am older than dirt and began working here before Ben Franklin touched the key on the kite string.

I probably seem no different to those who know me in that I had chemo today and have enough pain killers in me to appear much as I always did on a couple two three Manhattans.

Speaking is something I normally do well (humble though I may be). Tonight I am scared to death. In order to do well it is normal to be nervous in front of a crowd. If you think you are going to do well, you probably will fall on your face.

I am scared because I know I am going to cry. However in an effort not to spoil your special night, I will cry in a masculine manner.

Anytime I speak to a group I try to teach something. Teaching and coaching well (note the use of well) are the only tools I know to gain immortality because a tiny bit of the teacher goes on with each of the learners, so if you take a bit of me with you, then I shall never die.

An obvious segue into number one is: It is perfectly acceptable for male people to cry....in fact it is good then for men to hug each other…..When David Martin sees me after a long absence he always kisses. (But guys....never open your mouth!!!)

If this were a normal year and I were not so ill, I would be the last speaker trying to add some humor to your night and probably causing Mike Mould to be nervous and jerky as he prays that I will not be so politically incorrect that he gets fired before he has a chance to retire!!

With that in mind....number two is to ALWAYS tell people what they need to hear, not what they WANT to hear. This way, you never need to keep track of the lies you told. You can get in lots more trouble with lies than the truth which often hurts!

THREE: Keep the past sacred but let it GO!! It is over....today and tomorrow you can change........yesterday is in the books and while you would love to have the 2 out, a 3 and 2 high hard one back, it will always be ball four. Live with it....learn from it.

I mention the past only to get some historical facts which may help you athletes to better appreciate your equipment. When Mike Mould was hired here as AD, It is a true fact that we could not locate a ball for the photo op! When they finally dug one up it was a basketball with laces. Now you have to be as old as dirt to have ever seen a basketball with laces. Our little gym, with a seating capacity of 65, had such a low ceiling that Wilt Chamberlain had to give up his full scholarship because he could not stand up at mid-court.

Picture no Anderson Center.....no new library.....no new dorms.....no town houses and no males on campus except Jack Hoover and yours truly!!!! We have come a long way baby!!!

Therefore, number four would be to never fear change. It is inevitable. Embrace it......hug it......make it happen to your advantage and be part of it.

Number five is just HUGE....so listen up.

See, the way I figure it, few, if any of us mortals will ever have a chance for big time fame. I guess if you got points for doing good, Mr. Lincoln might get 27 points for freeing the slaves. Probably, Joan of Arc would receive 32 for becoming a human hot dog. Regular folk like us have little chance to have a shot at something that would earn us double figures. But I TRULY BELIEVE that we can earn fractional points for the "thank you notes", the hug after the missed free throw or the apology that follows the 18th time you put your foot in your mouth! Therefore, when the great computer in the sky totals my lifetime points....I KNOW I will be ahead of Abe and Joan and I will not have to go into overtime to do it!!!

What follows will sound all puffed up (but I am). Once word spread about my illness, I began getting messages from all over the world. Not just Noxen and Dallas....I mean the world. One said "without you I am not Superintendent of Schools in Alaska” or "thanks for the kick in the rear you gave me when I tried to quit after 5 years of the nursing program. Today I am in charge of the entire computer system ay Miami heart Hospital with a masters thank you.

I mention this because the nifty part is that I have no remembrance of what I said to either person in 1970ish.

I suggest that you practice for life every day....Even a weak pop up will fall between the lines once in a while and the more you practice fouling them off, the better chance you have to get lucky.

I certainly did not plan for my career to end like this. I had hoped for gales of laughter and multitudes reaching out to touch my robes.

Obviously we cannot plan our life but we sure can attend practice each day so when we get surprised by the nasty curve ball, we can adjust and adapt and take a decent swing.

There is much more I could say....70 years worth, but instead let me finish with whatever moral or object lesson number I have rambled on to as I frantically try not to end this sentence with a preposition.

Thank you for allowing me to attend my own memorial service and remember.........YOU ARE LOVED!!!!!

Arnie Garinger
April 29, 2004

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