30 March 2008

If You Build It They Will Come

March has been a very difficult month for me as my Georgetown Hoyas were upset down in Raleigh, North Carolina by Davidson. As I look forward to April and the Spring, I am recovering from some type of virus that hit me during my trip to Raleigh. As I sit here watching the Washington Nationals Presidential Home Opener in their new stadium, I am truly amazed that baseball has returned to the nation's capital. I had thought only a few years ago that I would never again see baseball in Washington. As a youngster I grew up as a Washington Senator fan with Frank Howard being my hero. The Baltimore Orioles were somewhat of a rival, as the Senators were usually in last place and the Orioles were arguably the best team in baseball at that time along with the Oakland A's, St. Louis Cardinals, and Cincinnati Reds. I do remember taking a drive to Memorial Stadium once with my family to see Earl Weaver's Orioles, and what an event that was to see the powerful Baltimore Orioles: truly a model franchise. After the Senators left Washington, basketball became my real true love as it was just not the same without your own home baseball team. As a high school sophomore, I remember praying that the Red Sox would win the World Series against the Cincinnati Reds since my Spanish teacher, Father Elliott was a huge Red Sox and Luis Tiant fan. Unfortunately, we suffered through the rest of the year as the Red Sox lost the World Series giving more publicity to the curse of the Bambino. This feeling continued as I became a Georgetown undergraduate student, and the New York Yankees won two World Series with the second one coming after Bucky Dent's famous home run against the Red Sox. I really hated to see the Yankees win. The Yankee fans at Georgetown from the NYC Metro area were truly loud and obnoxious. When I moved to New York to attend the SUNY College of Optometry, I was amazed to see how a baseball team truly altered the fabric of a city. The New York Mets defeated the Red Sox in 1986 to capture the heart of New York. At that time the Yankees had a great hitting team but no pitching. When the Boss, George Steinbrenner finally let the baseball people bring in some good young pitching the Yankees would win four World Series in 6 years. When Terry Francona brought Curt Schilling and other pitchers to the Red Sox, they finally ended 80 + years of frustration dismissing the curse of the Bambino as the Red Sox won two World Series in the last four years. Truly when the base of the Red Sox organization became more stable with the improvement in their pitching, the team blossomed. Hopefully, Baltimore Oriole owner Peter Angelos will some day take note. As I had converted to a Yankee fan in the late 1980's when I lived in New York, I am excited to become a Washington Nationals fan. Their new stadium like Baltimore's Camden Yards in the 1980's is supposed to be the new prototype for the future. It reminds me of one of my favorite movies, "The Field of Dreams", with Kevin Costner and James Earl Jones. As I have been devastated by Georgetown's loss in the NCAA's in Raleigh, I take solace in knowing how far Georgetown's program has come back in the last few years under the coaching of John Thompson III. With the wonderful recruits coming over the next few years I know that the program is on a solid foundation. As big John Thompson would say, "We will live to fight another day!" Even though the Washington Nationals have a long way to go I feel good about their future. In seeing the new ballpark, I do indeed know that fans will come.
I believe that now our Maryland Optometric Association is on solid ground. We have worked hard to re-establish our local societies, reach out to students and young OD's, and provide service to our communities in Maryland. Please get involved and attend meetings of your local socieities. If you read our MOA e-newsletters you will see all of the community service projects we are becoming involved in. I know that we have Special Olympics returning to Towson University in June which is a wonderful event. I am finalizing plans to do a vision screening and eye exams for the Washington Jesuit Academy in May for many middle-school aged boys mostly from inner city areas of Washington, D.C. and Prince George's County in Maryland. If you would like to volunteer your time please let me know. The following link will tell you more about the school: http://www.wjacademy.org/
Building our Association is everyone's responsibility!


Thomas A. Wong, O.D.
President Maryland Optometric Association


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