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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Struck Strikes Out : Learning and loving with a one and only

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

"Yes, Governor..." - Cherokee mega-fan Kenny Bern takes a call while rooting for his beloved Braves. Photo by Paul Struck
Before Year 2010 says goodbye and we prepare to enter 2011, which will zip out of our lives faster than a small-town rumor like they all do anymore, please allow me one more Kenny Bern story.

Kenny, Cherokee's super mega-fan for all things athletic with our kids from toddlers to college and pros, has penned a thoughtful "Letter to the Editor" he'd like to share this holiday season with the thousands of kids past, present, and future whom he holds so dear and supports so faithfully.

Here goes in Kenny's words:

"As well as I like to send cards, there aren't enough cards in Cherokee to reach all of you, so I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of you young kids out there a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

For all you kids on athletic teams that provide me with so many great times, Thank You to your parents for letting me be a part of your lives. Thank You kids, moms and dads for the hugs and Thank Yous.

I am just as proud of the kids on the end of the bench as I am of the star of the team. Thanks again. I love you all."

Kids and parents? That's Kenny Bern straight from the heart, as always. But he failed to mention a poignant little incident in my office around Thanksgiving that I will never forget. I didn't even have to write it down to be sure I remember it, for it is forever imbedded in my mind.

Kenny paid me a visit around Thanksgiving and we were talking sports and kids as we always do. The conversation evolved to the fact the Cherokee boys and girls basketball teams were scheduled to play on the road the next night and the talk centered on who all was going and who was driving, etc.

Well, one ignoramus in my office told Kenny that they wouldn't have to leave so early so they could plan to arrive at the girls game by half time because girls' basketball games take so long because of the many turnovers and clock stoppages.

Obviously irritated by such a comment and without raising his head, Kenny peered up at the offender and, in his inimitable innocence, softly said, "Hey, they hug me, too."

In those five little words, the beloved substance of Kenny Bern and the reason he has made it his life to follow, support and cheer for our kids, came resonating out of my office - that the girls are just as important as the boys, and winning, losing, and how you do it, are secondary to the real reason Kenny Bern loves and supports our kids.

Kenny Bern doesn't go to our kids games to see them just when they can win.

Kenny Bern doesn't brave 100-degree heat, or rain, fog, snow and ice and frigid cold to follow our kids' games simply for the camaraderie and the popcorn.

Kenny Bern doesn't religiously attend all our kids games just to get out of the house or watch flawless performances.

No way, no how.

Kenny Bern goes to all the games because our kids are his kids and he now and forever will continue to love them unequivocally until death do us part, just as he so loved his late wife, Olga and late best friend, Bob.

"Hey, they hug me, too."

What a powerful, provocative mindset for all of us to take into the New Year and all the years after that.