…a father’s perspective
I’d just flown across the entire USA. The hissing jetliner delivered me to California’s capital, Sacramento. After a quick hotel check in and a long shower, I took a car to the offices of the Sacramento Kings Basketball Team. Following a line of fashionably dressed attendees, I was directed to a press conference convened to introduce my son, Pete D’Alessandro as the Sacramento Kings’ new General Manager.
I squeezed thru the doors of a packed conference room, a sea of cameras and news reporters enveloped me. How naive had I been? I thought that my decade as a small town elected official familiarized me with the press. I was mistaken. I felt overwhelmed by the number of journalists there along with their volume of questions. The day proved fun-filled. On the sunshiny morning of, June 17,2013, the focus was not on me or my decisions. The reporters wanted insights about my eldest son, Pete D’Alessandro.
For nearly an hour I stood in the rear of the conference room fielding inquiries about my first born son. All the while, my mouth watered since I stood surrounded by two tables covered with birthday cake and candles. I realized that a great day for dual celebrations evolved: Pete’s birthday and acceptance of his new job.
Team owner Vivek Ranadive spoke about his hiring of Pete D’Alessandro as the Sacramento Kings’ General Manager. He also mentioned that they’d, “searched for the best and brightest in the game.” He added, “And, if a good chess player thinks two moves ahead, in Pete we have a guy who can think four moves ahead.” Pride dripping from my soul, my mind wandered back to Pete’s youth. I recalled his Castelamarese uncle and grandfather bragging how the 12 year-old Pete proved so smart that he read the ocean charts on their fishing vessel when they’d trained him to work and captain a commercial fishing boat. As a child, Pete described the lessons, advice, and stories these blood-sharing seamen told him while they waited to pick up the nets. I knew how proud they would have been to have seen Pete today.
When he took the microphone, my legs began shaking, and unwelcome goose bumps simultaneously swept across my body. As usual, he spoke articulately. True to himself, Pete made sure to mention each and every person who’d helped him climb this ladder of success. He meant it too. He was a believer in expressing gratitude and always so truly thankful. His simpatico burned brightly.
Again, in the midst of my joy, I reflected on his childhood. This magnificent day was a result of seeds planted decades ago. At six years of age, I took him to watch one of basketball’s legends Julius Erving, or Doctor J, as he was called. I felt convinced that Doctor J and his brilliant play sparked his hoop dream. I recalled steamy summer nights in our Bohemia home’s backyard when Pete, his older sis Mary-Kim, and his little brother Jon literally played basketball thru the night. At sunrise, they jumped into their pool to refresh themselves.
After sleeping until noon, I heard the basketballs bouncing again. The games resumed. I watched Pete and his siblings compete and it became clear that winning proved a driving passion to all three of my children.
Ceremony ended, and off stage, Pete awakened me from my succession of daydreams with a bear hug for his mom and me, a big kiss for each of us, and repeated thanks.
As the Irish say, I felt “over the moon.” Knowing Pete, I expect competitive and impressive Kings’ teams in the future.