We in this Valley don’t just sing, “It’s a small world after all, ….”
We live it.
When Kevin Appier made his major league debut at Anaheim Stadium 31 years ago this week, more than 250 Valley supporters made the 200-mile round trip to support Lancaster Lightning.
We backed Highland’s Deshawn Shead (2014 Seattle Seahawks) and Paraclete’s Todd Davis (2016 Denver Broncos) as they became the first two Super Bowl champions in Valley history.
Hundreds of Valley fans packed Anaheim Stadium for Quartz Hill’s CIF Division I title game appearance 30 years ago, and the Rebels’ 2007 CIF Baseball championship.
We were all Lopes fans at College of the Canyons in 1994 when Jermaine Lewis led AV High to its most recent CIF football championship.
We’ll see this again this year with Palmdale, the capital of Clippers Nation, backing Paul George in his serious bid for an NBA championship.
And we’re already seeing Chargers hats sprout up all over the Valley in support of the NFL’s feel-good story of 2020, Eastside and UCLA’s Joshua Kelley, as he completes his journey from nowhere to the Chargers starting backfield.
The bigger our Valley gets, the better our small world experiences.
Personally, Joe Brady is another small world wonder.
The assistant coach who electrified LSU’s offense and coached Joe Burrow to the greatest season of any quarterback in college football history was first the namesake son of Joe Brady of Hialeah, Florida.
My best friend in the world, my onetime Penn State roommate Carlos Quirch, blocked for Papa Joe for the 1975 Florida 5A champion Hialeah-Miami Lakes Trojans, a team enshrined in the South Florida Sports Hall of Fame.
When Joe Jr. was born, Carlos, by then one of the premier baby formula salesmen in the nation for Bristol-Myers, helped Mrs. Brady feed her son with complimentary supplies of Enfamil.
Call it the formula for success.
The nation has certainly enfamil-iarized itself with Brady, seemingly the next Sean McVay.
This season he will be offensive coordinator for the Carolina Panthers, coached by former collegiate miracle worker Matt Rhule.
Small world — Matt Ruhle is also a proud Penn Stater.
The inverse is also true for the small world.
It was like losing a family member when the Space Shuttle tragedies happened. The Space Shuttles arguably were the most famous natives of Palmdale.
It’s happened again this week.
I was an enthusiastic supporter of Angela Underwood-Jacobs’ candidacy for the 25th District Congressional seat.
The erstwhile Lancaster City councilmember is president of my bank branch.
Mrs. Underwood-Jacobs was indeed in the U.S. Capitol this week.
She testified before the House Judiciary Committee, along with George Floyd’s grieving brother, about the aftermath of the riots and unrest of the past two weeks.
It turns out that Patrick Underwood, the Federal Protective Service officer murdered by rioters in Oakland, was Angela’s brother.
I don’t know what I am going to do to express my profound condolences to this special lady.
But I will come up with something.
This Valley always does when we wrap our arms around our grief-stricken neighbors.
In another reminder of how small the world is in 2020, a press release arrived Thursday from the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Its president since last summer has been the icon of integrity it has been my blessing to know for the past 40 years, former Angels vice-president Tim Mead.
The Hall of Fame is offering new programs to promote racial justice, harmony and understanding.
Baseball’s first such program was April 15, 1947 — the day Jack Roosevelt Robinson heroically integrated Major League Baseball.
A black man sat down to eat a meal in the Brooklyn Dodgers clubhouse at Ebbets Field 17 years before the passage of the United States Civil Rights Act.
Do you know the first time African-Americans were seated in the United States Senate dining room on Capitol Hill?
But don’t take my word for Baseball’s pioneering role in Civil Rights.
Listen to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Dr. King came out to Los Angeles in March 1968 to raise money for his Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
He toured black churches, where memorabilia autographed by Robinson, Roy Campanella, Don Newcombe and Larry Doby (the first African-American player in the American League on July 2, 1947) was auctioned off.
“Dr. King stayed at my house while he was out here,” Newcombe said as he related the story in 2017. “We had dinner at my house, and then I was going to take him to LAX to fly the red-eye back to Atlanta.
“Just before my wife brought out the coffee after dinner, Dr. King reached over and grabbed my arm. ‘Don, I want you to understand something,’ he told me. ‘It’s because of what Jackie and Campy and you and Larry accomplished in Baseball that I’ve been able to accomplish what I’ve accomplished in the Civil Rights movement.’”
Newk paused to frown and bow his head for a moment.
“Dr. King flew back to Atlanta that night,” he recalled. “A week later he was murdered in Memphis.”
Baseball fans should be proud of how their game answered Dr. King’s clarion of conscience.
We should also be the first to make sure Dr. King’s unfinished business is completed.