In case you missed it, the San Diego Padres put on a tremendous event today at Petco Park to Celebrate San Diego. Estimates have the turnout to be nearly 10,000 San Diegans. That is remarkable. That speaks to the thirst this city has as a sports community. Highlights from the show for me was to start it off Ted Leitner knocking the emcee-ing out of the park. Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman CRUSHED IT! My word is she a ball of fire. Padres skipper Andy Green was nails; stoic and grateful. Mayor Faulconer for the first time that I’ve seen, took off the jacket, put on a jersey, and let himself have some fun with the people. That was highly refreshing. Rocky Long and Steve Fisher speaking on stage and candidly ribbing each other with age jokes and encouraging the other’s program was one of the coolest things I’ve ever witnessed in person. Yes. Ever. Those are MEN that we can all aspire to be.
And, of course, Trevor Hoffman closed out the ceremony with a such a gracious speech that shows why he is a Hall of Fame guy.
My speech was intended to sound something like this:
I’m honored and flattered to be a part of this tremendous San Diego sports lineup that has spoken to you so far today. We truly are blessed here in San Diego to have broadcasters like Ted Leitner, legendary coaches like Steve Fischer and Rocky Long. Those are men of outstanding values, morals, and leadership. We also have tremendous personalities like Bill Walton and community members that do so much giving back like Sycuan Casino and Cody Martinez.
I didn’t know much about San Diego when I was growing up in Indiana and going to college at Purdue University. Alright, I’ll come clean… The first I heard of San Diego was when the Chargers drafted Eli Manning and traded for Philip Rivers in that 2004 draft. Several hours later I was drafted in the third round and asked about how it was going to feel to be blocking for the great LaDainian Tomlinson. I had no idea who LT was. I’m still embarrassed by that. Well, I quickly figured out who he was and we all went on a magical ride together through some amazing years of football here in San Diego. I know you remember that MVP season when LT broke the single season touchdown record and cemented himself in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
You remember beating Indy at home in 2008. You remember Qualcomm stadium nearly exploding with emotion. You were all as much a part of that as any player that ever stepped on the field. Those years are when I fell in love with you San Diego. I fell in love with your energy. I fell in love with your passion. I fell in love with the sense of community that we all felt while sharing those memories. And as I have grown older and started a family of my own, I’ve grown to love the forward thinking minds that this city produces. We have cutting edge Universities that are producing some of the brightest minds of the future. We have access to some of the greatest health care in the country. I love the heavy military influence and the values that we can all show our children and be thankful for on a daily basis. I love the healthy lifestyle this city affords. We have a different way of thinking here in San Diego than the rest of the country and we should certainly take pride in that.
Remember this… the memories you’ve created are REAL. Those memories will last a lifetime. Let’s CHERISH those memories. But, let’s continue to look forward to the memories that have yet to be created together.
We ARE a tremendous sports city. We have passionate people here that care for one another and look for reasons to bond with fellow citizens. Continue to stoke that fire and look for reasons to connect and we will continue to thrive.
I want to leave you with this. I tell my kids it every day before we go to bed. I live by this and I feel like it pertains to all of us.
We aren’t as good today as we will be tomorrow.
We aren’t as good today as we will be tomorrow.
We will continue to grow, change, and evolve. Let’s push ourselves through creativity and engagement and looking for any excuse we can to come together.
Thank you to the Padres for stepping up, becoming the big brother in the sports community here in San Diego and opening their arms. Thank you for this tremendous party you’ve thrown today.
We are still here San Diego. We are still America’s Finest City.
San Diego. Stand up on your feet and give yourself a huge round of applause!
If you were there…
Thank you! We should be incredibly proud of our performance today as a city. We came out of our houses on a weekend to spend time with EACH OTHER! There was nothing there other than us! There wasn’t a game. There wasn’t a concert. It was just us. Isn’t that beautiful?! You don’t even need a cause to get together other than to get together. Bravo.
I Love you guys. Fist bump.