Passion in Real Life

My close friends mock me a lot. I’m almost afraid to admit this in writing about one of my favorite hobbies. You will judge me. I just know it. You may even question how I spend my free time. Please don’t tell my mother-in-law. Here it goes…

I constantly update my list of Top 319 movies of all time.

Yes. When I watch a movie, I immediately decide whether or not the quality of the movie deserves a spot in the Top 319. Some people do puzzles for fun. I rank movies according to the rubric of Tony. I won’t share the list here – that’s best saved for a drinking establishment that serves free munchies. What’s the main theme of my favorite movies? The main character displays an unparalleled passion for something.

Rocky Balboa overcame all the odds. Rudy was five feet nothing. The owner of the Cleveland baseball team wanted the team to lose and the team rallies! P-A-S-S-I-O-N!

And just to prove not all are sports themed movies, Howard Stern bounced from market to market for his radio passion, and Brian Flanagan learned how to toss a bottle of liquor in the air to impress bar patrons and win the love of Jordan Mooney! That’s passion on the big screen, baby!

But Hollywood misses the best stories.

My father started his own heating and air conditioning business on the side while working a very tough job in construction. My mother sacrificed daily for the love of her family.

My buddy, Don, rolled the dice, started his own software company with a partner, and now boasts having more than 20 employees on the payroll. That takes some serious passion and belief in your abilities.

I am so thankful to know my friend Josh. He has a son who is autistic. Like myself, he is very involved with his autism just like I am with my oldest son. More than a decade ago, he dreamt about starting the Pier Center for Autism. That initiative is now a blessing for the Siouxland community, and the center is doing big things and impacting lives in a positive way. A dream built on passion.

Yesterday, I saw some high school cross country athletes running on the sidewalk at Lakeport Drive working on their passion for sport. Ten years ago, Shelby Houlihan shadowed that same path all the way to the Olympics. Talk about passion paired with thousands of hours of practice.

This morning, I type this essay in my office about three steps away from Cowboy Bob from Y Country 101.3. He has been a familiar voice on Siouxland radio airwaves for more than four decades. You can hear his passion and dedication to his listeners every time he opens a microphone in the studio here at work or from his Sunday Morning Gold studio at his home in the Moville area. Howard Stern gets the accolades and commas in his paycheck, but I’ll ride with Cowboy any day.

But who would play Cowboy Bob in a movie?

That flick would definitely make my Top 319.

By Tony Michaels

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