What Has 12 Thumbs and Has Gained a Few Pounds Since College?

This group of guys. That’s me in the gray hoodie with the glasses.

I was lucky enough to be invited by one of these guys (the guy on my far right, the far left looking at the picture – the bald guy) to watch yesterday’s Flyers hockey game from one of the suites. He had bid on and won the suite at an auction.

We were all part of the East Stroudsburg University Swimming and Diving team from the years 1975-1979, over 40 years ago.

The guy to my left with the dark hat on (far right in the picture) was the best man at my wedding, and the guy behind me was my roommate for three years and was also in my wedding party.

To give you a sense of what type of gathering it was going to be, here is how it started as we went through security into the Wells Fargo Center.

We all had to empty our pockets into a bowl, and then walk through a scanner. As I was emptying my pockets, I felt one of the guys reach into my hoodie pocket and say: “Here, hold this.” I assumed he was just joking, so I went through the scanner and as I started putting my wallet, keys, and phone back into my pockets, the security guard came over to me and asked me if I had emptied all my pockets. I said I had, and he then pointed to my jacket pocket and said “What’s in there?”

I reached in, and lo and behold, I pulled out a pocket knife.

I said I have no idea how that got in there, and I turned around and saw my friend laughing and telling the security guard it was his. The security gave him the choice of putting it back into his car or having it confiscated, so my friend just told the security guard to keep it.

I had visions of calling my wife and telling her I was in a holding cell somewhere, and asking if she could come bail me out.

The other guys showed me no sympathy, and were high-fiving the guy whose knife it was.

That set the tone for what the day was going to be like.

I don’t think we watched more than five minutes of the game. We even stayed in the suite for another 30 minutes or so after the game, and by the time we left, we were likely the last fans in the place.

Most of the time was spent reminiscing, catching up with each other, and most of all, laughing.

None of us could get over the fact that college was more than 40 years ago. Two of the guys are retired, and the rest of us are just 2-3 years away from doing so. Some of us have children who will be turning 40 years old this year, and I think there are 18 grandchildren between the six of us.

I found it coincidental that Coach K’s last home game at Duke was yesterday, and many of his former players came back to share the moment with him.

It made me realize that sports are a great way to build friendships. You spend a lot of time together, and you become a team.

And if you’re lucky enough. you become lifelong friends as well…


86 thoughts on “What Has 12 Thumbs and Has Gained a Few Pounds Since College?

  1. What a great time, a great bunch of friends!!! One thing, though … it seems that in fairness you should have posted a picture of all of you from way back when you were still in college so we could have a “before and after” point of reference!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Sounds like you had a blast. That’s great to visit with old buddies from 40 years ago. I don’t know anyone from 40 years ago, except family, but I was never on a sports team. Your theory about sports sounds plausible.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I didn’t stay in touch with anyone from grade school or high school, just these guys from college…

      and I think any group activity can lead to such friendships – being in the band, in plays, volunteering. for me, it was the swim team…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh I love this! Long time friendships are wonderful. I still keep in touch with friends from the 80’s. When we talk its pretty much the same as you described, laughter and reminiscing. Thanks for sharing 😁

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The joke was on your friend. It was his pocket knife that got confiscated.πŸ˜„ I prefer small get togethers like this one. In April a few friends from my dorm in college are getting together in Vegas for a couple of days. I haven’ seen a couple of them since college.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I guess I’m cheap because I’d hate to lose a perfectly good pocket knife. 😊 I’m sure I will recognize everyone even though hair colors, hair lines, and waist sizes have changed. There will only be six of us.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I haven’t had a pocket knife since I was about 10 years old πŸ™‚

        and six is a good number, you get a chance to speak with everyone…


  5. Very cool idea! I’ve got a similar thing planned for this summer with a couple of buddies, assuming there is baseball this year. My sister-in-law used to be an advertising executive, and one of the clients she had was a San Francisco television station. One of the perks was attending a couple of football and baseball games in their suite.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You know you are having a good time with your friends when you are at a hockey game and don’t watch the action. OF course, it’s the Flyers, so you didn’t miss much. I agree that teams build bonds that truly last. Good to see you out and about, my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. it’s been a tough year for the Flyers. And the only time we get out of our seats was when we would herd the crowd going crazy because there was a fight. I’ll never get that aspect of hockey…

      and teams, whether, sports, band, corporate, are often a good way to build bonds…

      Liked by 1 person

  7. It’s good that you have kept the friendships going for all those years. It is something I regret that I’ve never been very good at, and I miss out on days like this.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi Jim, what a great picture. It so wonderful that you have these long lasting friendships. I never attended one school long enough to make very good friends and I moved around as a young adult too. A rolling stone gathers no moss is the old saying.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Great time you had! Yes, I feel like sports is a huge connector for people (especially men). This pandemic has been hard on him (especially at the height of it) due to the fact that all sports were halted (TV and in-person) and even recreational sports (he has a summer softball league he plays in) … all that halted sense of escapism from his regular day-to-day grind… felt bad for the guy!

    Also, just before the pandemic, I had gotten tickets from my bank LOL I was luckily drawn out of a hat and we got to go to a Raptors game (free food and snacks and got to meet a couple veteran players)! It was sooo cool!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree that sports is a common language for many guys. That is a shame about your husband missing out on the softball league. Hoepfully it will take place as planned this year. That must have been fun to see the Raptors game, and what a bonus to meet some of the former players…

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Your title and the content of the post reminded of a joke I heard today

    ‘I entered a contest to see who had lost the most hair and gained the most weight, obviously it wasn’t called that, the invite said ‘school reunion”

    Otherwise glad you had a good time, I caught up with uni friends a few years ago and the conversation was similar saying we couldn’t believe it had been ten years.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. yes, black hat guy is the one who quit his job as a chef in Vail the day myself and a couple of other friends arrived in Vail. The tall guy behind me in the photo was one of the guys on that road trip. Legendary indeed. And I can’t believe you remembered that!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. yes, I feel lucky to still have the connections.

      and thanks for the props on the title. I did have another one I almost used: “What Has 12 Thumbs and Has Gained 300 Pounds Since College”, but I went with the kinder, gentler version πŸ™‚

      Liked by 2 people

  11. Ayy, great to have a face to the blog. I know I’ve seen you in your exercise mishap post (or am I remembering things wrongly?) but it’s great to have an updated pic so that, you know, I can input you into my face scanning software or something.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. that was me with my two wrists in a cast – you’ve got a good memory. Feel free to put me into your software, although it could cause your system to crash… πŸ™‚


  12. I loved this!! What a super photo. Friends are for life, and yes, sports are a great bond and establish lifelong friendships. You guys are a hoot! My best friend’s sister went to East Stroudsburg. Joy Aimen. She might have been a few years older than you guys.

    Okay, here is my great Flyers story. Newly married, never even heard of the sport (I know, that’s horrible), and Hubby tries to ‘teach’ me about hockey watching a game on an 11″ black & white TV. It was ants swarming randomly. Fast forward a few months and my company had tickets to a preseason Flyers game. This was just what I needed to (hopefully) learn the game, and of course Hubby was out of his mind excited to go to a Flyers hockey game. Ron Duguay skated onto the ice and everyone whistled and yelled ‘pretty boy.’ He was young, had long hair, and did not wear a helmet. I’ll never forget that. I don’t remember who won the game, but I sure remembered ‘pretty boy.’ And, I learned about hockey (love it!)

    Liked by 1 person

  13. This is fantastic Jim! So nice that you could build lifelong friendships like that. Even though I had some great friends back then we didn’t keep in touch. I think the fact that everyone but me got married kind of left me out of the pack! I loved this post, thanks for sharing Jim!😁🌞😺

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thanks, Steve. It was a fun get together. There are several people from the swim team that I have lost touch with over the years. It helps that we are still relatively close to each other geographically…

      Liked by 1 person

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