As a proud brother, I have to take a moment to announce that my sister recently got her results from the bar exam, and she is now officially a practicing lawyer at a legal firm in New York City. She worked really hard to accomplish this goal, and I could not be more happy or excited for her as she embarks on her new career. As proud as I am of her numerous impressive, professional achievements though, when I think about Stephanie, these are not the things I focus on. Instead, the things that come to mind are our strong relationship and how much we care about each other. Considering that we live thousands of miles apart, and that strong adult sibling relationships are becoming more and more rare nowadays, this powerful connection we have forged is what I value most between us. As I reminisce about my big sister, while there are a plethora of memories that I could recall where she helped me with something or took care of me, the moment that usually comes to mind first is something else entirely. This priceless event from my life always reminds me of how much Stephanie cares about me, and in honor of her big achievement, I would like to share it with you to show you how she was just as amazing of a person even before her recent professional successes.
One Summer while I was in high school, my family took a weekend trip to Detroit just to get away for a few days. One of things my family likes to do on vacations is go to baseball games, and since my dad is a lifelong Detroit Tigers fan, naturally it made sense to take in a game at their new stadium during our trip. We had great seats, and the atmosphere of green grass, peanut vendors, and organ music surrounding us was a lot of fun. On top of that, the Tigers won (a minor miracle in itself), there were several home runs, and the weather was beautiful, which pretty much adds up to a perfect day at the ballpark. While this was an amazing day with my family and Comerica Park is one of the coolest stadiums I have ever been to, what makes this memory so special to me is something that happened during the game that has nothing to do with baseball. This moment I often think about fondly, shows exactly how much my sister cares about me. I know it may be a strange setting for a heart-warming, “Kodak moment,” but this life changing experience is something I will never forget.
About half way through the game, as I was taking in the action and enjoying a plump, juicy hotdog as my sister sat next to me playing with her newly acquired foam tiger claw (as opposed to a foam finger), I heard the unmistakable crack of a wooden bat making contact with the pitch. The batter had fouled the ball high into the air, and since I am a magnet for flying objects at sporting events, of course it was heading right for where I was sitting. Obviously, in a situation like this where all of a sudden something is flying through the air in your direction, you don’t have time to analyze everything and decide what to do, so your brain goes into reactionary mode (similar to a “fight-or-flight” response). For most people, this involves either running away from the trajectory of the incoming ball or throwing your arms over your head in the fetal position to protect yourself. Since I can do neither of those things, and the ball was coming right at me, I merely closed my eyes and braced myself for what surely would be a painful impact. To my surprise though, this collision between my head and Mr. Spalding never happened.
I sat there with my eyes closed waiting for the ball to strike…and I waited…and waited. I felt like Marvin the Martian in that Bugs Bunny cartoon waiting for the “Earth shattering kaboom!” Thanks to my sister however, this painful collision never happened, at least not to me. It turned out that my sister had stood up and used her giant, foam tiger claw to shield me from the ball. Even though the ball ricocheted off of her big paw and hit her in the jaw, afterwards all she seemed to care about was that I was alright. Stephanie, instead of having a “fight-or-flight” response to protect herself, had an immediate reaction to protect me. She cared about me so much that she was willing to trade her own safety for mine. What makes this even more special to me is that it was not some logical decision made carefully (i.e. “if Scott gets hit he could get really hurt, if I get hit it is a bruise”), but a gut reaction based on her feelings and priorities. She was like a tigress protecting her cub, completely willing to sacrifice her own well-being for my safety. When the rubber hit the road, Stephanie’s primary concern was keeping me safe. Her selfless reaction and how loved it makes me feel to this day, is something I will never forget.
My sister is an incredible young woman and has a lot to be proud of, as she has accomplished a lot of great things at such a young age. She went to college on full scholarship, has worked on Times Square, and is now a “Big Apple” attorney. While all of her achievements are wonderful and impressive and I could not be happier for her, this is not what makes her so amazing. She was amazing before all of these professional accolades and accomplishments. Her character, kindness, and love for her family are far more impressive qualities than passing the bar exam, and these are the things that make me so proud to be her brother. So to my sister, Stephanie, I want to say that I am so happy for you as you begin living your dream of being a lawyer. You are so deserving of all of your success, and I could not be more proud of you, but you were already one of the most amazing women I have ever known without these achievements. I cannot tell you how much I enjoy getting to be a part of your life. I love you so much, “Floppy,” and thanks to America’s passion for giant, foam limbs, I know you love me too. Happy birthday from your tiger cub.