Birthday Wishes: Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell


Not quite ready for the rocking chair, but certainly ready for this one.

On the day I turned 40, which was more than a few years ago, I was stunned by the question that followed “Happy Birthday, Mike!”

“How old are you now?”
“Err, 40.”
Stunned by the question because it was the first time I was ever asked it on the day of my birthday. Thirty-nine years of blissful “Happy Birthdays” and sincere “thanks” responses. That was always enough to me. This new thing, I did not like.
Then came birthdays 41,42, and 43 and the same question always followed.
“How old are you now?”
By 44, I learned my lesson.
In this instance, honesty might not be a better policy than don’t ask, don’t tell.
It seems the older you get the more people are interested in the number.

I’m always amused when the TV does a story on a 100-year-old person and the shot returns to the anchor and they always say something like “doesn’t she look great?”
This is usually the look on my face at that point:


I practice what I preach. When my friends have birthdays, I never ask them how old they are now. I just wish them a happy birthday, period, end of story.
I do know one thing: I’m closer to the finish line than I am to the starting blocks and am grateful to have gotten this far. Temple football might last forever, but Temple Football Forever has an unknown expiration date–preferably far into the future.
So grateful to have met so many Temple fans who have shared this common passion with me and so sad that so many of them were not around to enjoy last year’s championship win.
I’m thinking specifically of guys like Dan Glammer and Shane Artrim, who both passed away at the tender age of 46 and Steve Bumm, who did not make it past 51. There were not many more dedicated Temple football fans than those guys, who lived through more thin and died before seeing too much thick. Heck, there weren’t too many Temple football fans, period, in those days. N.J. Schmitty was another great Temple fan who passed far too soon. I’m sure there are many others I don’t know or have forgotten.
Steve came up to me and introduced himself one halftime under the concourse of Franklin Field one day and we became great friends after that. He ran a high school basketball tournament in Florida and, as a Philadelphia sports writer, I helped hook him up with Philadelphia coaches who fed him teams for his tournament.
Then there was the sad story of Wes Sornisky, who died a couple of years ago in a fire in Delaware and is now buried in a Potter’s Field in Georgetown. Wes, a former kicker, was responsible for bringing many of his ex-teammates back to tailgate in the 1990s and that tradition has continued strong.
I’m sure Wes, Dan, Shane, Schmitty and Steve and many others would have enjoyed that noon game in Annapolis last December. While we all want for more things like a new stadium, a Power 5 Conference, great recruiting and a committed head coach, what we do have is a championship so I got my birthday wish a few months ago and am a bit wiser to this wish list thing.
To me, a birthday is just another number now better left a state secret at this point.
Wednesday: Krafting A Better Schedule
Friday: Catching up With Recruiting

6 thoughts on “Birthday Wishes: Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

  1. May the friends of Temple Football memories be for a blessing

  2. One wish you may have made today is improved recruiting and it seems as if the Owls received commitments from some good players. Let’s hope the kids honor them.

    • Long way until signing day, but the recruiting this week is hopefully showing what kind recruiter Collins is and that his focus was in putting together his staff when he first came on board. Looking forward to Mike’s Friday post

  3. Collins is on fire with this latest round of commits.

  4. Happy belated birthday. There should be a nursing home, custom cherry-colored coffins, and a cemetery section for the Owl fans. 🙂 There is already a special place in heaven for the faithful, devoted souls who never give up. So we’re set for eternity.

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