Thank You Dad For Everything

By Rich Mancuso/ Sports Editor

On this Easter Sunday my blessings to all. Many know others who have lost loved ones or have been ill in this time of crisis.

My longtime colleague and friend from the Bronx wrote this about his Dad who passed away Good Friday and became a victim of the Coronavirus. I wanted to share this with readers of the Bronx Chronicle:

Written by Richard Coutinho

As many of you know, I lost My Dad on Good Friday to the Co-Vid virus coupled with other health issues and because of the Co-Vid regulations, I never got a chance to say Goodbye and thank him for all he did for me as well as tell him that I loved him.

It is a terrible way we are living in this country right now with so many deaths and so many more to come and my heart goes out to every family suffering through this crisis. 

My Dad was a person who always looked at the world in a glass half-full way and his life was filled with challenges and obstacles. He lost his Mom at the age of 2 and 5 years later lost his Dad as well but in typical fashion my Dad turned a negative moment into a positive one as he had to live with his aunt and uncle making their children more like brothers & sisters than cousins and extending our family to a plethora of cousins whom we hold special relationships with to this day.

Illness was always a part of our growing up but it never affected us as children because our parents kept our lives as normal as possible. I have vivid memories of my childhood with so many moments of being together and also so many great talks with my parents. While I was a Cardinal Spellman High School, I got roughed up on a bus and will never forget the conversation I had with my parents that night. They implored me to try to put what happened behind me and certainly do not develop racist tendencies because of my anger and although there is no excuse for what happened to me if I submit to that hatred it will tear me down and likely I would take it out on an innocent black person much in the way that hatred was taken out on me. In many ways, I never had a more important conversation in my entire life.

The generation that our parents lived in were full of special people that can be summarized in a simple quote from the great Jim Valvano when he said, “Ordinary people do extraordinary things.” The only goal in life my parents ever had was to give their children a great life with all the educational resources we needed to reach our goals. And they did it not having the resources other families possessed as a heart attack that my dad suffered in 1971 forced him to never work again. But once again a negative becomes a positive because I got to be around my Mom & Dad together in my teenage years–a time when so many decisions appear before our eyes as we battle the struggle between peer pressure and making the correct decision.

Going to 2 of the best educational institutions in NY–Cardinal Spellman High School and Fordham University while we experienced massive financial challenges was not easy on my parents but they told us just to concentrate on studies and they would take care of the rest which they did. 

In my career as a sports reporter, my parents were so supportive of my projects and I distinctly remember covering the Mets 1986 World Championship as well as the 1994 Rangers Stanley Cup my first phone call was to my parents. They were not huge sports fans but because they knew it was important to me, they became big fans and that made sharing those moments so special. 

The past 2 days I have heard from so many people and a large number of players that I covered over the years. Some of them met my father–others have not. The David Wright conversation was real special to me because he hit on an important concept when he said to me, “Rich you shared so much about your Dad with me I feel like I know him even though we never met. And think about this–he got sick while you were a youngster and after that you got the chance to spend nearly 50 years with him and that’s a blessing.” As usual, David Wright hits the nail on the head and I feel so blessed.

And now it is up to me and my family to keep Dad’s spirit alive and a big part of that is understanding the only way we get through this Corona Virus is with love and understanding. My dad made you feel so good about yourself after speaking to him and that is a skill we all need to develop. He also always told me that you let people in your heart and don’t concern yourself with those that disappoint you because the others will inspire you.

The reality in life is out of every ten people you meet 3 are going love what you say, 3 are going hate what you say, and 4 might be undecided on their thoughts on what you say. Concentrate on the undecided because you could make a change in their life and they can make a change in yours. And use your listening skills in a tangible way–don’t just use that listening time just waiting to talk–Listen intently and the world will be a better place.

Thank you Dad for being the best role model and coach I could ever have. Talent must be combined with hard work to breed success and ignoring either concepts will hold us back. I love you Dad and please hug Mom for me in heaven. Baseball will be back soon and I know you will be looking down at me while in CitiField press box watching the game both of you taught me to love.  

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