Town Crier: Voice of the A’s shares words of wisdom

MONTCLARION: May 16, 2014

“A dream is a wish your heart makes.” That’s what Dick Callahan told my students recently at Saint Mary’s College. The longtime public address announcer for the Oakland A’s knows something about dreams — as one of only 30 people in the world who do what he does — announce major league baseball games.

Callahan comes to my journalism class every year, sharing sports stories and inspiring students to work hard toward their goals. It’s a message Damian Lillard has, no doubt, heard — even if it didn’t come from Callahan himself.

Lillard is the Oakland High grad-turned-NBA-star whose 3-pointer at the buzzer advanced the Portland Trailblazers to the next round of the NBA playoffs earlier this month. His story is stirring because as a young teen he had faith in himself — even when others did not.

Lilliard transferred to Oakland High as a junior, because he wasn’t getting enough playing time at St. Joseph’s in Alameda. At his new school, Coach Orlando Watkins recognized his young player’s drive. “When other kids were out partying, Damian was working on his dribbling or jump shot,” Watkins told MaxPreps.

Hard work and a positive attitude helped Lillard achieve his goal of playing in the NBA. It’s the same message Callahan shared with my students.

“You are what you think, so think positive.”

Star power: Speaking of local talent, actor Mahershala Ali Gilmore (Remy Danton on the TV series “House of Cards”) was born in Oakland and attended Saint Mary’s College on a basketball scholarship. In his senior year, Gilmore performed in the musical “Spunk.” It was the catalyst he needed to pursue an apprenticeship at the Cal Shakespeare Festival and go on to grad school at NYU. When he got his degree in 2000, he had two job offers in hand and has worked successfully, and with a spirit of gratitude, ever since.

Fowl play: A few weeks back, I ran a piece about a turkey that had been shot by an arrow somewhere in the Oakland hills. Reader Dominique Achener first spotted the wounded bird — with a sharp point embedded in its flesh — near the corner of Chelsea and Clive. “I tried to corral the turkey, with no success,” Achener wrote, concerned the bird could continue to suffer if someone didn’t rescue it.

Well, the bird is still out there, according to reader Evelyn Sinclair, who spotted him recently in a flock of wild turkeys on the trail near Shepherd Canyon.

“One handsome male I was admiring for his bronze plumage and grand display; proudly tufted, red-wattled, clearly a turkey in his glorious prime, when I noted he was also sporting an arrow, black with yellow fletching, lodged in his body.”

Sinclair, too, has disdain for whomever shot the arrow. “Nice going,” she writes. “You shot unarmed poultry in the back.” Not exactly sporting.



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