Andrew Frankel's Warren HOF Speech                                     2014 Banquet

 

 

It was a wonderful surprise to receive this honor. Thank you. And even though I am writing this from
the Northeast edge of the Tibetan Plateau - about as far as you can get from Warren without leaving
the planet - the impressions left on me by my hometown, the smallest town in the smallest state, are
indelible. I carry my hometown with me wherever I go, like the grass stains and slush stains that
covered every piece of clothing I owned until I was 18. Whether it is Delekta's Pharmacy, Jannitto
Field, Jamiel's Shoes, or especially Touisset Point, where I lived, there are innumerable reasons

why Warren will always be my hometown.

There is, however, only one reason why I was lucky enough to receive this award.

Imagine you've been up since 5:30 this morning and commuted 45 minutes to work; you've dealt with
boisterous high school students all day; you race out to work with a stack of papers that weighs more
than the case of wine you'd rather be carrying. You drive another 20 minutes to pick up one of your
two idiot sons from school (who probably got into trouble), and another 40 minutes to take him to
soccer practice. As you sit in stop-and-go traffic in Cranston at 3:50 pm on a cold December afternoon,
the sun sets, your feet freeze, and your will to live shrinks just a little bit more. Rather than the soup
and movie you might have wanted, you get to sit in one of a dozen unheated warehouses that had been
converted into soccer complexes. Wrapped in a sleeping bag, you begin to dig through the stack of 200
student papers, wondering why you ever signed this maniac up for the Warren Youth Soccer League in
the summer of 1989 when he was 5 years old. Practice is finally finished and your snotty little son
complains that he's hungry. You race home - another 50 minutes - to make dinner, and prepare for the
next day, to do it all again. When the weekend finally arrives, it's off to Mansfield on Saturday and
Lincoln on Sunday for the league games or maybe someplace in Connecticut 2-3 hours away for a
weekend-long tournament. Or fly to Baltimore or Cleveland or Atlanta for an invitational and the great
food they sell at McDonald's.

My mother and father did this unflinchingly for 13 years. My parents have driven more than 300,000
miles to soccer venues alone - and we live in Rhode Island. They've seen the insides of 43 different
Econo-Lodges and my mother has cowered in the parking lot or lady's room during dozens of shoot-
outs. My father once drove me to 3 different soccer games on the same day - in three different

states. Their cars were my locker room, and we could communicate telepathically with the staff at the
Gob Shop. My parents' financial commitment - which was gigantic - pales in comparison to the
amount of time they've given to me.

I miss my parents every minute that I'm away, but know that now - as in my previous athletic
endeavors - they offer me a support system that few people are lucky enough to ever receive. It is
really to them that this honor belongs.

I'd also thank my brother - for practicing with me, roughing me up, giving me all his old sweaty shin-
guards, and setting a bar that was pretty easy to surpass
. But it is really my brother who should be
thanking me for leaving him with an empty house and occupied parents for 45 straight weekends when
he was a senior in high school and I was in the 8th grade spending my life on a million and one soccer
fields.

 

..

As for me, I'll settle for a Key to the Town of Warren or perhaps a lifetime's worth of wieners from .-

Rod's Grille. Yes, I'm perfectly serious. Thank you again. I wish I could be there to accept this award

and to see people I haven't seen for a long time.

Much Gratitude,

 

  Andrew Frankel