Two things have happened since I released my episode with my high school coach, John Riggins.
One, it reconnected me with other people from my formative years, re-establishing relationships which never went dormant, yet weren’t being activated regularly. I had so much fun talking to Riggins I quickly wanted to make this a part of Mindsoak.
The idea that our stories, our memories and our perspectives on past events can just inform, inspire and entertain others. After all, stories are universal.
Two, after my last episode with Paul the idea of Mindsoak took on a new meaning for me. As I discussed in a couple other places, I have a new appreciation for how the words I am speaking and the stories my guests and I are sharing are a time stamp on my life. A stamp for my kids to listen to later in life.
While I’m not changing the format of Mindsoak to become a time capsule for Filitti lore, it has given me permission to enjoy being more personal with sharing my stories.
And there’s no better person to start this conversation with than Chris Stone, the guest of this episode.
Chris played an important role in the life of a 14 or 15 year old Jon Filitti. Chris was two years older than me and took me, and others, under his wing for cross country, track, basketball and everything else that had to do with high school life.
Chris, along with Peter Rastrelli and Dominic Laufenberg, treated us with respect and lead us to become good athletes, good teammates and more importantly, good people.
Chris and I reminisce on the importance of sports and/or school activities in young people’s lives, the importance of teamwork and community at all levels of life, the dedication it takes to commit oneself to a greater good and, most importantly, the battle of all battles, the International French Toast Races.1
It was great talking to Chris again and, like always, I love talking community, team building, greater goods and the development of grit, which I believe we get when we are out for a sport, a theatrical production, a musical endeavor or many other events you can be a part of in high school.
It should also be noted that while editing this episode I was lying in bed with my wife and son. I had headphones in as to not disturb them, but once I got to the end and talk of stealing bases during my first and only foray into baseball and talk of the French Toast races, it became clear I should unplug and let the family hear the tales.
With great joy they listened and cackled with laughter. They’ve heard the stories before, but having Chris on to add to the texture created more ambiance. Retelling an old memory to my family added a new memory to my life. Interesting how that works…
I know, I know. This isn’t a thing…but it should be. How French Toast racing isn’t an Olympic event yet is beyond my comprehension. Or at least a national sporting association, like the NFTRA (National French Toast Racing Association if you were having a difficult time figuring that out). At least something like that. I’m still working on a better association name, send ideas if you have them. Anyway, I can already picture the production of the television broadcast. A five camera production. One camera for each contestant (and we would zoom in really closely so we could see all the chewing and slobbery action). One camera for each coach…and yes there will be coaches (who will also server as paramedics should a choking incident occur and yes, a choking incident will occur). And one camera for the crowd, who will be seated safely and cleanly behind a sheet of plexiglass (a la NHL games). ↩