“…You have had a dramatic effect on many people, educating them on reality…”

    Email from a university employee to former student  (12/30/03)

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The first time they handed me a trophy it was in a Kiwanis Center. The year was 1960 and while my White Sox had run the table, it was, frankly, IN SPITE of me. Still, how I cherished that plastic!

There’d be others. Batting titles fourteen years apart, coaching prizes in softball and soccer. (Not to mention Sol’s Boys. Indeed, with Wieder And Company it almost got boring. Sure, we reveled at winning—always—but mementos got old. Mine found a cardboard home in my mother’s basement, (then my wife’s basement, then the Lomaz garage, and on and on).

Who cares? I earned medal, but others showed mettle.

2002: A beautiful student was victimized in her college dorm. Life interrupted, she had two choices: deny the event or “remember the night”.

I can’t imagine how she felt, that freshman—alone, out-of-town, so young.

Her school, fearing headlines, buried it. With her assailant still on campus, she wouldn’t.

We watched as she pushed through the system. The police, the prosecutor…sharing her story again and again, reliving the torment again and again.

We listened when her goings got tough and we marveled as she just kept going.

And we heard, as so many did, her voice:

At the disciplinary hearing she’d finally secured to boot the prick off campus. (Alone stood the coed, before a panel of five. The assailant had counsel but she wasn’t permitted).

In open Court, the clown having plead guilty, as she urged the judge “Don’t just wink at what he did…”

And on NBC’s Dateline, nationwide, where she put a public face on assault, showing other brave women it was OK to come forward….

Real victories, I’ve learned, come not on the diamond facing pitchers, but in the world facing life. There’s a Winners’ Circle, a special one, for those who, through incredible courage seek justice for all.

— Which is why it stands there, atop of my desk—shining.

I speak not of the year old lime bought the week Lucy (in embryo) was lime-size. I refer not to the giant Hershey’s kiss which, nine months ago anchored a centerpiece at Max’s “first”.

I speak rather, of a trophy. Another trophy.

Center stage in my office, you see, sits the Jean Clery Campus Safety Award…
given to my Little One …by a national organization…for “incredible courage and leadership”.

It gives me pause to think…about priorities.

They’ve made material changes at her old school since she left. Fueled by a public awareness, the place is safer for Haileys and Lucys and Hannahs.

That thing in the middle of my desk— the one engraved with my baby’s name—with the clock in the middle— now THAT is a trophy. The stuff in the boxes: those remnants of hits and runs? They, my friends, are just hardware.

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