Wednesday, December 26, 2012

12 Memorable Moments from 2012

By Ross Forman

The 12 Moments I Will Never Forget From 2012.  Not easy to select, but here goes, in no particular order:

1. Running the Jerusalem Marathon in March, the first of four marathons that I ran.  This was, without question, the most difficult marathon I have ever run, probably ever will run.  But so many fun times, so many laughs on the week-long trip with Jennifer Scroggins, Irit Doron and others.  Running through the Old City was amazing.  (Hey Jennifer, I can’t wait for our next eggplant extravaganza, with coffee from Juan Valdez.)

2.  Wiping banana cream pie off my face and clothes in August after a Coaches Fundraiser for the Team To End AIDS, benefiting the AIDS Foundation of Chicago.  Paul Ketz donated $300 to AFC to Pie His Favorite Coach, me.  (Thanks, Paul ... I think.)  In December, I was so proud to be Paul’s coach for the Honolulu Marathon – and was happy to donate $1 to AFC on behalf of Paul’s finishing time on the 26.2-mile run through Paradise after he won our bet

3.  Seeing a teary-eyed Aiden Valenciano, among his family and friends, after he finished the Chicago Triathlon in August.  Was so proud of him, so proud to be a T2 Coach at that moment.  I’ll always remember that “I did it” hug he gave me.

4.  The brief words of encouragements I gave T2 participants during the Chicago Triathlon.  So many participants thanked me later that night and in the coming days for needed motivation for their run.  Dan Cornejo said after the event that my words of encouragement were his triathlon highlight.

5. Surpassing 2 million flown on United Airlines.  Most of my miles have been domestic, so yes, it’s a lot of takeoffs, landings, lousy meals, crabby flight attendants and miserable passengers.  I still always would rather fly to, say, Indianapolis than drive three hours.  Going on several amazing behind-the-scenes tours at various airports and even United’s downtown Chicago headquarters, with Will Melnyczenko and Jordan Conover, were highlights.

6. Pro wrestling remains on my resume, and it still amazes me.  Early in the year, I was talking to Hulk Hogan, who I have worked with for 15 years yet, to be honest, I really didn’t even know if he knew my name.  Everyone, and I mean everyone, is “Brother” to Hogan.  But mid-sentence, he stopped and said, “Mr. Forman, back in the day, we both had more hair.”  And minutes later, Hogan addressed me simply as, “Ross.”  That answered that question.

7.  Spending time in August with Kevin Nash, after not having seen one of my best friends in a couple years, was, as always, memorable.  We laughed, we joked, we reminisced, and of course we dined at “Capital,” which is what we have long called The Capital Grille.  We also learned first-hand about The Wire, the TV show based in Baltimore.  Let’s just say, there are some rough neighborhoods in Baltimore.  (Sorry you-know-who-you-are, Kevin and I will not buy beer for you guys again in Baltimore.)

8.  I got to umpire or referee so many memorable baseball, hockey and softball games.  Some less-than-memorable games, too, but that goes with the territory.  It really is an honor when players, coaches, fellow officials and others say, as they often did this year, “Ross, you really look like you’re having fun officiating.”  Because I am.

9.  Family and friends.  Way too many to mention here, but I really am proud to be associated with so many people from so many different walks of life.  Probably should be “runs” of life for this marathoner.  Even those who I only see, talk to, or text with on rare occasion, I’m still glad you’re in my life.

10.  I wanted to pick out a few memorable stories that I wrote in 2012, but that was nearly impossible.  My list was in double-digits before I knew it.  Thanks to, literally, hundreds who have let me share their lives with my written words, and maybe even a photo or two that I took.  As my Mom tells me often, Grandma Hariette would be so proud that I am a writer.  Thanks Tracy Baim, Andrew Davis, my editors at the Daily Herald, and the other newspapers and magazines that featured “By Ross Forman” at the start of a story.

11.  For the Team To End AIDS pasta party before the Chicago Marathon, I wrote and delivered an emotional 5-minute speech, bringing full circle why we do what we do.  Dan Cornejo and Kelly Southard carried running shoes through the crowd, representing those who would love to run the Chicago Marathon, but have unfortunately paid the ultimate sacrifice in their battle against HIV/AIDS.  Meant so much to hear the favorable responses I received from attendees.  (Thanks David Munar, Dan Lakin, Richard Cordova, Keith Stryker and Tony Torres.)

12.  Running the last 2 miles of the Chicago Marathon in October were the most emotional miles I have ever run.  Crying for personal reasons, it meant a lot to get a hug and words of encouragement from Coach Jamie, more than she knows.  After finishing, I broke down again, thankfully away from others – except for the T2 runner from Washington D.C., who I didn’t know, nor did he know me.  But, we both wore red T2 shirts and I’m very appreciative for his hug and words of encouragement, even though I don’t know his name and never have had the chance to thank him.

Here’s hoping 2013 is as memorable 2012 was,




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