REAL MEN: BEAKER

In the past few months, I have been receiving a lot of mail, email and social media reminders of my 25th reunion from college. As with any reunion type event, it reminds us how time flies (and that you are getting old!). After digesting that fact, I was reminded of an important day that would ultimately play a part in choosing to attend my Alma Mater, the College of the Holy Cross.

In the summer of 1992, about to enter my senior year at Lowell High School (do you believe that place is still standing…could probably use a fresh coat of paint or maybe even a BULLDOZER! Sorry, tangent.) I was invited to visit with the football program at HC. Very exciting invite that I happily accepted.

However, in the days leading up to the scheduled visit, my sister got sick. Really sick. Courtney had a long fought battle with major G.I. problems since she was a young child and she took a bad turn at age 15. She would be hospitalized in Boston for nearly one month that summer. My parents, not surprisingly, refused to leave her side for any extended period of time; except to be sure I didn’t burn the house down in their absence, of course. This was fine by me and I managed just fine. (I’d like to tell you it was like Risky Business….and it was. Well, except for the parties, beautiful women, sex, drugs, and wild fun. Other than that, exactly the same. I did dance around in my underwear once…alone. I digress)

But as the days turned to weeks at Children’s Hospital for Courtney, my big day out on Worcester was quickly approaching. And so Dad and Mom had to make the decision to how to manage. This was a parent/student invite. I could not go alone and I certainly could not decline this opportunity. So, we decided to enlist the help of an old friend.

Enter Brian “Beaker” Barry

Brian was yet another close confidant and council to my Dad. Golf buddies, neighbors, occasional business partners, they were quite the odd couple. Conservative Attorney Barry coupled with Often-Off-The-Rails Frank made for a head scratching friendship; but one that seemed to always work.

Brian eagerly agreed to lend a hand to our family and chaperone me out to the The Cross. Leaving behind his own large brood of young children on a Sunday, Brian stepped up. I was quite nervous that day – and a bit unsure if this was a even a good idea. Brian could sense my jumpiness as soon as I got into his little lawyer-mobile Volvo. He made light commentary (and terrible jokes) the whole ride down. I remember it really did help me and the nerves. Brian delivered what was needed. Basically, to serve as the parent that could not be there to help navigate me through this interview of sorts.

Long story short, it was a very successful trip.

Flash forward a few months.

After visiting many more schools and weighing many confusing options I knew I wanted to be a Crusader and could not have been more proud to receive that letter of acceptance. And it was a great ride I have always cherished.

May 1997, Brian and I celebrated “our” victory the day after I graduated.

In hindsight, looking back almost 30 years since that visit to Mount St. James, Brian’s support on that day was so critical. It was the first step in making arguably the largest decision in my young life. We still joke about it whenever we bump in to each other.

Remember that day I got you in to college, Frankie?“, Brian will rib me.

Sure do, buddy.

Outside of his quirky wit, Columbo-like interrogations if he wants the scoop on some sordid subject, Brian is just a great guy and family man. Proud husband to Katie, father to five superstar kids, grandfather to a whole gaggle that’s still growing in size, Brian continues his life well lived over on Clark Road. Pretty damn good golfer, too.

Thanks for that day and for the many years of true friendship.

REAL MAN.

(P.S. Beak was also the co-conspirator of the infamous “Dr. Pleasure 40th Birthday Caper“, but I’ll save that for another chapter.)

REAL MEN: The Old Guard of Mount Pleasant

With Masters week upon us, the arrival of Spring, and opening of golf season , it seemed like a timely tribute to the people and the place I have been a part of my entire life; Mount Pleasant Golf Club.

As I meandered through the clubhouse last evening for the annual “Smoker” (the club’s traditional kickoff event to commence the new season) I was reminded what a great place this is to be a part of. Dad had me up there at 3 years old in the 1970s. Had my first beer there (don’t worry, I was 4 at the time), drove my first motorized vehicle there (fear not, I was 5), played my first game of 45s there (relax, I was 8 and there was a kitty) and made a lifetime of friends there.

I was a full member for more than 25+ years but when my offspring were little, I decided to step back and simply be a social (aka drinking) member. But, I will be back again for certain some day.

Last evening reminded me of the legends that roamed these grounds when, ah hem, the beloved ‘old’ clubhouse was still in place.

OLD SCHOOL

Names like Timmy “Ace” Vaughn, Eddie “Hot Top” Walsh, John “Skippy” Boyle, Tommy “Face” Conlon, Ray “Brooksie” Brooks, and, of course “Mr.” Billy Moriarty.

Those names and many more were absolute legends. Legends on the course, and larger legends in the clubhouse. Fun, tough, hard men. No excuses, greatest generation, “women weaken legs“-type of fellows who spent the few free hours they had each week on Staples Street with their buddies.

RULES

These boys had some basic but hard rules in those days – which had zero to do with golf…

If your wife called the actual phone at Mt. Pleasant, you were an outcast and un-politely asked to leave the premises immediately.

If you were not cracking a cold Budweiser on the first tee (at any hour of the day, mind you) then you were forced to take a mandatory testosterone test.

If every third word out of your mouth was not a swear, slang or off-colored comment, then just shut the f*&K up.

Pretty simple, I think?

These were bad ass dudes.

I have some great memories of those men. Always a life lesson when I encountered them – perhaps not always a good one – but always an education or, at the very least, a dirty limerick or joke.

Forward We Go

As time wore on, those legends slowly – and reluctantly – passed the torch the current Boys of the Old Brigade. Now aging icons with names like Hassett, Wheeler, Livingston, Rourke, Mullavey, Coit, Shaughnessy, McKiernan, Healy, Costello, Murphy, Cassin, Dowd, McCarty, Emerson, Fawcett, Meade…(and the list goes on and on…so forgive me if I missed a few of you).

This generation was slightly softer than their predecessors but equally vigilant in their pursuit to leverage their Mt. Pleasant friendships and comradery to simply ‘do good‘. Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been been organically raised by these guys over the years; supporting every type of cause; from cancer to little league baseball.

The Jimmy Fund alone has been the beneficiary of nearly $1,000,000 in the last 30+ years (shout out to J.R.)

All of the above and many more have made this “neighborhood club” awesome. They have protected it, advanced it, and cherished it. For those of you, like me, that have been fortunate enough to be a part of this 1910-founded institution, you know what I mean.

And the “new” guard of MP is certainly in great hands being lead and served by men named Jenkins, Tulley and more.

It’s a great place. Great for kids. Great for families. REALLY great for MEN.

REAL MEN.

Thank you fellas.

Enjoy the Masters.