Who among us could not readily recall standout moments from our lives if someone put us to the task? How easily would answers come to you if that individual asked for you to categorize the occasions by the seasons in which they occurred? I set myself to that task for this week’s space, choosing the top 10 spring moments that have helped to shape who I am.
10) June 4, 2010: I met 2016 Readers’ Choice High School/Youth Coach Award winner Bryan Hughes on this date to cover his Jedi Tennis LLC program at Guerin Recreation Center. Having played the game since age 10 (I turned 37 yesterday), I joined the children as he instructed them and soon learned he was looking to start an association in South Philly. Six years later, I am still happy to assist his endeavors in teaching adults, children, and families the sport of a lifetime.
9) June 7, 1997: St. John Neumann High School sent me off into the world as a graduate on this date, with the ceremony occurring at Villanova University. For a Southwest Philly kid who had some reservations about attending school down here, I must say I deeply value my four years in Grays Ferry.
8) May 5, 2009: I received my master’s degree from Arcadia University shortly after making my culminating project presentation, offering four poems from my collection “Permafrost” before a receptive audience. I did not imagine everyone being naked to overcome my nerves, but I was happy to find the bareness of open hearts and minds among the crowd members.
7) May 22, 2002: This date marked my first Feast Day celebration at the National Shrine of St. Rita of Cascia. Fourteen years later, I remain giddy for the celebration no matter my role as a reader, a Eucharistic minister, an altar server, or a devotee among the flock.
6) April 2, 2009: I eulogized my mother on this date, having lost her four days prior to pancreatic and gallbladder cancers. She was my chief supporter for 30 years, and sharing roughly 500 words about her, a meager fraction of the total that she deserved, helped to ease the pain and remind me that she will never truly leave me.
5) June 4, 2011: On a quiet Saturday afternoon, I rent the air with shouts of joy upon learning I had won awards from the Philadelphia Press Association, the first such distinction for my writing. Twenty days later, I accepted my accolades and vowed to keep representing South Philly with the utmost respect.
4) May 14, 2001: I graduated from Saint Joseph’s University (How about that Atlantic 10 hoops title for the men’s basketball team, by the way? Go, Hawks!) on this sunny Monday. The following year was a difficult one financially and emotionally, but I kept believing my days on Hawk Hill would yield a fruitful path. Almost 15 years later, I appreciate each step on the journey.
3) May 10, 2010: The South Philly Review took a chance on me as a staff writer on this date, and I am so glad that it did. Lord knows how many items I have written here, but each has found me striving to tell an interesting, moving story that honors the commitment that South Philadelphians have to their pursuits, causes, neighborhoods, and loved ones.
2) April 11, 2015: If you are vaguely familiar with these top 10 lists, you will know that I often give my son a plug. Well, on this date, having heard six days prior that he wanted to attend a game, I took Nicholas to watch the Phillies for the first time. He lasted four innings, which is about how long the team came to play that day, too.
1) June 12, 2011: Arriving on his due date, my boy entered the world at 4:15 a.m. Never have I been so happy to be awake so early and never had I imagined that I could learn so much about love in one instant. ■
Contact Editor Joseph Myers at firstname.lastname@example.org or ext. 124.